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Campaign launched to stop the ‘biggest land grab in history’ as world leaders gather for climate summit

GLOBAL movement for tribal people’s rights Survival International is launching a major new campaign to stop “the biggest land grab in history” today as world leaders gather for a two-day climate summit.

The meeting, convened by US President Joe Biden, is expected to discuss plans to designate 30 per cent of Earth’s total surface as protected areas from human exploitation by 2030.

The so-called 30x30 agreement, deemed necessary to protect the planet from the impact of climate change, will then be ratified at the CoP26 climate summit in October.

But Survival International (SI), which was founded in 1969 in response to a genocide of peoples of the Amazon, warned that about 300 million people stand to lose their land and livelihood as a result.

“The plan to carve out 30 per cent of the Earth as ‘protected areas’ is a big green lie,” spokeswoman Fiore Longo said. “It is a plan without scientific basis that will do nothing to combat climate change or the loss of biodiversity, but will increase human suffering and the destruction of nature.”

She described the plan as “a deadly distraction from what is urgently needed to secure human diversity and all biodiversity: the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to their land.”

Some 230 non-governmental organisations have signed an open letter objecting to the 30x30 proposals, warning such an agreement is counterproductive and would “entrench an outmoded and unsustainable model of conservation.”

SI reports that those whose lands have already been turned into protected areas have been the subject of “appalling abuses going back decades, including rape, torture and murder” carried out by rangers backed and funded by conservation organisations including the World Wildlife Fund and the World Conservation Society.

“This is a critical moment,” Ms Longo said. “If world leaders will meet on April 22 and discuss ‘business as usual,’ the outcome will be more false, unscientific, racist and colonial proposals such as the 30 per cent project and nature-based solutions.

“But outside the corridors of power, criticism is building. More and more people see clearly that this will be a catastrophe from a human rights perspective: indigenous and other local people in the global South will pay the price for environmental destruction they didn’t cause,” she said.

“And from an environmental perspective, it simply won’t work: kicking indigenous people off their land to create protected areas won’t help the climate.

“On the contrary, indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the natural world and an essential part of human diversity that is a key to protecting biodiversity. Their land rights must be recognised.”

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