Guatemalan environmental rights defender Sandra Calel will be speaking on the PBI ‘COP26 and land defenders’ webinar on November 6.

To register to hear her speak, click here.

Sandra is Maya Poqomchi and a member of the Verapaz Union of Campesina Organizations (UVOC), an Indigenous and campesina organization that defends territory and access to land for people in the departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz.

Many of the communities accompanied by UVOC are already suffering severely from climate change. Last autumn, hurricanes Iota and Eta severely damaged communities, killing more than 150 people. Indigenous communities in the region confirm that while hurricanes are “normal” the level of destruction by these hurricanes was exacerbated by already existing damage to the natural environment.

PBI-Guatemala has noted: “Guatemala is located on an isthmus, this and its topography, making it highly vulnerable to both an excess and lack of precipitation, a risk which will only increase with human activity-induced global warming.”

“Guatemala’s main defense against natural disasters is to maintain its ecosystems in a good condition [but] the country is undergoing a process of destruction of nature, rooted in the implementation of an economic policy based on extractive activities and industries which involve major changes in land use and loss of forest cover.”

PBI-Guatemala adds: “The indigenous peoples’ struggles in defense of the territory and natural resources is the same struggle to prevent the tropical phenomena, such as Eta and Iota, from becoming disastrous. It is the struggle to counteract the effects of the climate crisis; in short, it is the struggle for life.”

PBI webinar, November 6

Peace Brigades International will be holding a webinar on COP26 and land defenders that will take place on Saturday November 6 at 11:00 am (Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Chihuahua), 12 pm (Colombia), 1 pm EST, 7 pm CEST (European time) and 8 pm in Kenya.

The webinar will have simultaneous translations in English and Spanish.

It will feature Sandra along with land and environmental rights defenders from Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Kenya.

The webinar will also include an introduction by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment David R. Boyd.

To register for this webinar, please click here.