On 27 May 2019, the International Institute of Social Studies hosted a panel discussion on 'Amazon Indigenous Peoples, global agribusiness and authoritarian government'.
A very lively discussion and debate (by over 50 visitors and on livestream) followed presentations by Gabriela Russo (PhD researcher at CEDLA/UvA, speaking on land use and commodity chains), Dr Tim Boekhout (independent criminological researcher and EUR research fellow, speaking on illegal deforestation and access to justice) and by our ISS visitor, indigenous activist and legal researcher Vandria Borari (on her personal and community perspectives of the impact of soya in their territory).
Russo’s and Boekhart’s very stark and succinct analysis of the soya chain/'highway' (rapidly encroaching further parts of this region) and deforestation trends was underlined in very personal and socio-environmental terms by Vandria. The impact on indigenous communities has been harsh irrespective of the measurement indicator used (water/land/health/violence/security/cultural traditions/ voice-income-dignity).
How to bring about change
The discussion also underlined that changes to this must come due to pressure on the companies (and others) responsible via consumer and social movements but also by government and regulatory norms and practice, something that is quite problematic at this moment.
Change can also be brought about by the choices individuals make about what we eat and dispose of, and the local (vs global) orientation of how we produce and distribute our food.