Indian rhino

For a more just UN Biodiversity Framework, bridging the North-South divide is crucial: Subhankar Banerjee

(Subhankar Banerjee is editor of Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point and a professor of Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico. This column first appeared in Scroll on October 14, 2021)

  • In September, the leaders from around the world gathered in New York City to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Covid-19, climate and biodiversity were among the topics they discussed. On September 21, in his sobering yet passionate address to the assembly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres focused attention on all three crises. Since the turn of this century, I have been involved in biodiversity conservation in several places in North America and India, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the US-Canada borderlands, the desert in the US-Mexico borderlands and the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans in the India-Bangladesh borderlands. Such biodiversity conservation efforts also take into account environmental justice and rights of indigenous peoples, a form of collective engagement I call, “multispecies justice”. Drawing from these experiences, I offer my humble assessments in this moment of entangled crises and great cultural and political divides for all to consider.

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