Photo by Cultural Survival

The Green Climate Fund’s BioClima project endangers Indigenous life in Nicaragua

News 04.10.2023

During the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Right Livelihood, Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL) and the Red de Defensoras Indígenas (RDI) raised concern about the impact of the Green Climate Fund’s BioClima project on Nicaragua’s Indigenous Peoples. On paper, the project is meant to promote sustainable land use and forest management along Nicarauga’s Caribbean coast, but in practice, further damages Indigenous land and fuels forced displacement.

You can read the full statement here.

Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast has the highest rates of deforestation in the country. The region is home to approximately 180,000 Indigenous people, whose human and environmental rights are consistently violated through violent attacks by armed settlers and forced displacements.

The situation, which has turned into a humanitarian crisis, is made worse by the presence of third-party businesses. With the complicity of the Nicaraguan government, these businesses routinely carry out environmental projects without Indigenous communities’ full consent.

One such project, we told the Council, is the Green Climate Fund’s BioClima project. The fund was created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010 to help countries reduce the effects of climate change. However, its projects are often manipulated by national governments to finance politically motivated projects.

This is certainly the case with the BioClima project in Nicaragua, we told the Council. While the project is intended to promote sustainable land use and forest management along the Carribean Coast, consultations with Indigenous Peoples are carried out in a climate of fear, including criminalisation and persecution of local leaders. 

The project also has the potential to irreversibly damage Indigenous Peoples’ land and resources, as well as exacerbate the violence against and forced displacement of local communities, we told the Council.

To ensure the BioClima project does not further legitimise human rights violations against Nicaragua’s Indigenous communities, we called on the Council to hold Nicaragua responsible. This includes ensuring Indigenous communities’ free, prior and informed consent to projects on their land, removing illegal settlers from Indigenous territories and holding them responsible for their crimes, and finally, terminating the BioClima project.

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