Indigenous people need a say on water rights, U.N. rapporteur urges

Indigenous knowledge, which could be key in making smart decisions about water, is being left out, an indigenous expert warns.

Stockholm – Indigenous peoples from the Amazon to the Arctic are being left out of the global conversation on water property rights, a United Nations’ indigenous rights expert warned this week.

Speaking on the sidelines of an international conference on water in Stockholm, special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said indigenous people needed to be better “consulted and involved” with water projects to help stem the impacts of climate change.

Indigenous groups, for instance, have been affected by dams along the Mekong River in Cambodia, which have caused water shortages downstream, and by water pollution in the western Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, she said, but rarely consulted about projects.

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