Indigenous Peoples and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in South America: The Case for Change

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The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are as problematic as they are inspiring. For Indigenous peoples, frequently among the most exposed to the unsustainability crisis, their marginalisation is a fundamental, structural flaw in the design of the SDGs that requires urgent redress. Indigenous communities are frequently custodians of distinct cultures and unique cultural perspectives that serve to protect critical biomes. To create a framework that does not explicitly protect them (or worse, one that sanctions further marginalisation) is a gross failure. When Indigenous peoples suffer, the global community suffers. This book assesses they ways in which, at the mid-way point, the SDGs have affected Indigenous communities across South America. Through a series of case-studies, each of which draws upon the voices and perspectives (through unique interviews and oral histories) it will demonstrate why the SDGs are flawed in an Indigenous context, whilst also producing a new set of goals –Indigenous Sustainable Development Goals (ISDGs)– that could, individually or collectively, transform how such a framework would interact with, learn from, and support a wide range of Indigenous peoples. Policy-makers, NGOs, scholars, students, journalists, and activists should find in this work the basis for engagement with, debate about, and action around, the ways in which Indigenous peoples are affected –and ignored– by the current sustainability agenda.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Bristol
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • indigenous
  • south amerca
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • rainforest


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