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The Belize National Indigenous Council (BENIC) meets on occasion of International Week for Indigenous Peoples

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Belize National Indigenous Council (BENIC)

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2021. 11:17 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize National Indigenous Council (BENIC) said it met on August 13, 2021, as part of its commemoration of the “International Week for Indigenous Peoples” observed under the theme “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract”.

BENIC comprised of the National Garifuna Council, the Maya Leaders Alliance/Toledo Alcaldes Association, and the Northern Maya Association of Belize “reiterated the need to meaningfully include Belize’s Indigenous Peoples in finding solutions to the multiple pressing national and international issues” and joined “the call for a new social contract that includes their aspirations—to live and to live well as Indigenous Peoples of Belize”.

In a statement, BENIC said it launched two projects: Strengthening the Indigenous peoples of Belize National Participation in Landscape Stewardship and Strengthening the institutional capacity of Belize’s indigenous peoples to promote gender equality and eliminate violence against indigenous people.

BENIC said the projects are financed by the Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEFSGP) and the Belize Spotlight Initiative Programme, respectively.

These initiatives, BENIC said, have the objective of permitting BENIC to promote the well-being, the full enjoyment of rights, and the active participation of Belize’s indigenous peoples in issues that affect them both nationally and internationally. The goal of the GEFSGP funded project includes “protecting critical landscapes where Indigenous peoples of Belize are found, fostering exchanging/sharing of indigenous traditional knowledge, and facilitating preparation of a community-based COVID-19 recovery strategy”.

Likewise, the Spotlight Initiative funded project has the objective of providing “capacity building and training that seeks to empower indigenous communities to address, prevent and eventually eliminate family violence against indigenous women and girls”.

BENIC said that it was also updated by the National Climate Change Office on the implementation of the REDD+ Project, an important forest-based initiative to mitigate climate change looking at the challenges and opportunities it presents for the indigenous peoples of Belize.

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