Declaration of the Coordinator of the Amazon Basin Indigenous Peoples Organization (COICA)


The Amazon Basin Indigenous Peoples Organization (COICA) with our worldview, diversity of languages, history, cultures, spirituality, territory, economy, have existed since before recorded time. We have adopted different forms of organization and identity under the framework of the nation states which have established laws and regulations according to their own interests, not recognizing the ancestral rights of the first inhabitants of the amazon region.

Attempting to arrive at a consensus between 390 ethnic groups, representing a population of 2,779,478 people in the 10,268,471 square kilometer Amazon basin, we gathered in Belem do Para, Brazil from Jan. 27th through Feb. 1st for the World Social Forum. While at the forum we held intense meetings and in-depth debate and analysis about the reality of the indigenous peoples living in the Amazon and those from other biomes, offering our support and leadership in the process of the World Social Forum.

We affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples, considering the principles of the declaration by the U.N. in regards to the rights of indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) and the good faith and follow through on the obligations by the nation states that have adopted said declaration, to be considered different, and to be respected as different, and that we contribute to the richness and diversity of civilizations and cultures that make up humanity.

We condemn all doctrines, policies and practices based in the superiority of a determined people or nationality, and the persons whom perpetuate said doctrines, policies and practices through use of rationality based on national origin and racial, religious, ethnic, or cultural differences which are socially unjust, scientifically false, morally condemnable, judicially invalid and otherwise racist. We affirm that indigenous peoples have the right to self determination over their political condition and must freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.


We demand the immediate zoning and title over our ancestral territory, which has been used as alway by its legitimate inhabitants. We denounce and condemn the violent intimidation through the murders of our leaders for the defense of our territories and rights as indigenous peoples.

We denounce the advance of the agricultural border and agricultural development (agro-industry) responsible for the violation of our rights in reference to discrimination, the plundering of our territories, deforestation, burning of the forest and grasslands, the contamination of soils and rivers, the use of transgenetics and agrochemicals, the expansion of monoculture, bio-piracy, illegal timber traffic, industrial residues and waste, all factors that put at risk our food sovereignty, the lost of ecosystems, and finally the the lost of our cultural values and identity.

Furthermore, these impacts deepen the vulnerability of our sister indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, living without outside contact or in the early phase of outside contact- we demand, on there behalf, the integral guarantee of there territories by the part of the nation states concerned.

We denounce to the world the genocide of indigenous peoples and the depredation of the amazonian forests by mega-projects of South American Regional Infrastructure Integration Initiative (IIRSA) and PAC, which are operated by the nation states and governments. We demand abolition of these mega-projects.

We reject the levels and processes of policy decisions that obstruct and manipulate the participation of indigenous peoples in regards to the subject of climate change. We demand the broad diffusion of information and critical debate by indigenous peoples in relation to the financial mechanism and negotiations underway relative to the use and marketing of carbon in indigenous territories.

In regards to UN-REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries) we understand that as principle any and all concer on financial mechanism dealing with the protection of forests in our territories must unconditionally recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, in agreement with the U.N. declaration of indigenous peoples rights (UNDRIP): Our rights are non-negociable. We are currently in the process of information gathering and internal debate with our members in regards to potential negative impacts and risks within our territories of this program (as was the case with MCD, Mechanism of Clean Development, with many of our communities). Furthermore, the experiences and interpretations of climate change by our indigenous peoples, according to our worldview, is that this change interacts with multiple factors, both social and environmental and therefore must be consider in an integral way and not merely reduced to market concerns.

We reject all mining, petroleum and hydrocarbon exploitation, the same way that we denounce the advance of agriculture based fuel (ethanol) production in the Amazon Basin (palm oil, sugarcane, and soy), all of which are highly destructive to our ecosystems. We refute the model of production that is sustained by by the consumerism of the "developed" world and of the elites of the "developing" world in our nation-state which depends on the extracting industries.

We insist that conservation organizations and other n.g.o’s dispose of any imposing attitudes and rather we demand that the support be made by the legitimate and institutional representation by our own indigenous organizations.

Finally, we communicate to the entire world that we the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, lead by our spiritual guides, inspired by our history, processes, and experiences, maintain and reinforce societies that respect the collective rights of peoples and diversity, and we have had the wisdom to renew our initiatives to promote, protect, and enforce our rights and by so contribute to the survival of the human race.

By means of this Declaration we enthusiastically express our respect for all the member organizations of COICA, and in particular the COIAB organization for hosting this event, together with the other indigenous organizations from Brazil and all indigenous organizations present here at the World Social Forum, Belém, Brazil, 2009.

Signed by present members of the COICA, on the 1st of Febuary, 2009.