by Amazon Frontlines

/ September 2020

Contact: Sophie Pinchetti, sophie@amazonfrontlines.org, Whatsapp: +593 98148 4873. Photos & interviews with Ceibo Alliance leadership and additional spokespeople available upon request.

29 September 2020 – Today, at 9.00 AM EDT, Indigenous non-profit organization Ceibo Alliance will receive the United Nation’s Equator Prize in honor of its integral strategies to protect Indigenous Rights and the Amazon, and for its extraordinary leadership of indigenous-led solutions to climate change.

The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Programme, recognizes the work of local and indigenous organizations from across the world showcasing innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change. This year’s Equator Prize 2020 Award Ceremony takes place on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75) where world leaders have convened to discuss pressing issues ranging from COVID-19 to climate change. Awards for the winner countries will be presented during the live-streamed virtual event by several celebrities including committed rainforest advocates, musician Sting and actress Trudie Styler, who are both long-time supporters of the Ceibo Alliance.

This prestigious recognition by the United Nations comes just days after Ceibo Alliance’s Co-Founder and prominent Indigenous leader Nemonte Nenquimo was named to this year’s TIME 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Founded in 2014, Ceibo Alliance is a first-of-its-kind Indigenous alliance spanning Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Born from the solidarity between Indigenous nations fighting a decades-long legacy of oil contamination in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon, Ceibo Alliance is composed of communities from the Kofán, Siona, Secoya, and Waorani nations— all ethnic minorities at risk of cultural and physical extinction. Collectively, these nationalities are stewards of more than five million acres of primary rainforest.

“We are honored by this global recognition by the UN for our work in defense of our rainforest territories and cultures. This Prize goes out to all our Indigenous communities and nations who are on the frontlines of the battle to protect the Amazon. As Indigenous peoples, we have suffered many oppressions and violations. But through our shared struggle for survival and guided by the vision of our ancestors, we are building a unified movement to protect the rainforest, our planet, and future generations”, said Siona leader and Ceibo Alliance’s Director, Alicia Salazar.

In the face of intensifying extraction across the Amazon, Ceibo Alliance has built a powerful model of Indigenous organizing through their work to strengthen Indigenous self-governance, autonomy, and leadership. With initiatives ranging from rainwater harvesting systems for clean water, solar energy, and community-led enterprises to intergenerational education, cultural recovery initiatives, and Indigenous media, Ceibo’s pioneering work takes a holistic approach to rainforest protection and cultural survival. In partnership with the international Indigenous Rights organization Amazon Frontlines, Ceibo Alliance also leverages legal strategies, technologies, mapping, monitoring, and their traditional knowledge to confront large scale oil extraction, mining, poaching, and industrial agriculture in their territories. The multi-ethnic grassroots movement that Ceibo has helped build has won historic Indigenous victories against industrial interests, including the Waorani People’s triumph against oil and the Kofan people’s battle against gold mining.

“The Ceibo Alliance demonstrates the power of Indigenous values, resilience, and unity to confront seemingly insurmountable threats, including fossil fuel extraction, colonization, capitalism, and now, a pandemic. Around the world, we can learn from their example, as it’s going to require unprecedented global cooperation and solidarity to fix the economic and political systems that trample Indigenous rights, destroy the Amazon, and cause climate change,” said Amazon Frontlines’  Founder & Executive Director Mitch Anderson.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Amazon, Ceibo Alliance has activated protocols, medical brigades, communications campaigns in native languages, and the coordination of humanitarian aid with the help of allies like Amazon Frontlines. As Amazonian countries struggle to overcome the virus, Ceibo Alliance is working to ensure that Indigenous peoples survive the pandemic and prepare to resist hostile economic recovery packages and intensifying extraction in the Amazon rainforest.

This fall, the organization will also participate in several major legal cases for Indigenous rights and rainforest protection, such as with the Waorani and Kofan people, whose unprecedented legal triumphs were selected by Ecuador’s Supreme Court to set national jurisprudence on Indigenous people’s internationally recognized right to free, prior and informed consent. Ceibo Alliance is also one of several plaintiffs in a recent lawsuit brought by 27,000 Indigenous peoples affected by the worst oil spill in over a decade in Ecuador’s Amazon, and will join the high-stakes appeals process over the coming months.

###

About Ceibo Alliance:

Ceibo Alliance is an Indigenous-led Ecuadorian nonprofit organization comprised of members of the Kofan, Siona, Secoya and Waorani peoples, who, in partnership with Amazon Frontlines, is creating a model of Indigenous resistance and international solidarity rooted in the defense of Indigenous territory, cultural survival, and the building of viable solutions-based alternatives to rainforest destruction. For more information, visit www.alianzaceibo.org

About Amazon Frontlines:

Amazon Frontlines is a non-profit organization based in Lago Agrio, Ecuador that leverages technology, legal advocacy and movement building to support indigenous peoples to defend their rights to land, life and cultural survival in the Amazon Rainforest. For more information, visit www.amazonfrontlines.org

Amazon Frontlines