Bianca Jagger delivers message of indigenous rights at Climate Summit of the Americas

News Release

July 8, 2015

Toronto, Canada — Today, Bianca Jagger, recently appointed Senior Fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s (CIGI) International Law Research Program, delivered the message of indigenous rights, deforestation and climate change, on a panel on Land Use and Sustainable Development in a Changing Climate, at the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada.

Jagger, whose panel focused on land use and sustainable development in a changing climate, discussed the importance of the Bonn Challenge, a global aspiration — launched by world leaders in September 2011 — to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020. In 2012, Jagger was appointed the International Union for Conservation of Nature Bonn Challenge Ambassador. She also spoke on the importance of indigenous voices in climate change negotiations and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and REDD+ efforts.

Tomorrow (Thursday, July 9), following the Climate Summit of the America’s closing plenary, Jagger will be a featured speaker in a CIGI-organized panel event and reception. Jagger, who will be joined by CIGI experts, indigenous leaders and other relevant experts, will discuss how to develop best practices for consultation with indigenous peoples in climate change mitigation infrastructure projects. 

“More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for food, water, fuel, medicines, traditional cultures and livelihoods. Forests support up to 80 percent of biodiversity on earth and play a vital role in safeguarding the climate by naturally sequestering carbon. This is why the Bonn Challenge, the largest landscape restoration initiative the world has ever seen, is so important,” said CIGI Senior Fellow Bianca Jagger. “It will transform degraded or deforested land into healthy, fertile working forest landscapes and above all it will put people and communities at the heart of the restoration initiative.”

Jagger’s work for human rights and environmental advocacy has earned her numerous prestigious awards and accolades. She is founder, president and chief executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. Jagger is also Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador, and Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA. For more than three decades, she has been a voice for the most vulnerable members of society, campaigning for human rights, civil liberties, peace, social justice and environmental protection throughout the world.

“As natural resources become scarcer, and the pressure upon them builds with increasing population, disputes over land rights are intensifying, particularly where oil exploration, hydroelectric, mining agribusiness and logging are concerned. Indigenous communities are particularly hard hit and their fundamental rights to life and land are violated in many countries throughout the world,” said CIGI Senior Fellow Bianca Jagger. “REDD+ is our opportunity to make a global commitment to forest conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. It is critical that REDD+ responds to the concerns of indigenous people and guarantees full and effective participation of them in all processes, programmes and actions at all levels, including their access to funding mechanisms, financing and capacity building. This must include robust and enforceable systems of social, environmental and human rights safeguards.”

The Climate Summit of the Americas is a three-day conference aimed at facilitating continued dialogue and strengthening cooperation among sub-national Pan-American governments leading up to the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France. Taking place at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, it is bringing together Pan-American jurisdictions, as well as Indigenous leaders, environmental groups and industry, to work towards commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and highlight opportunities for investing in a global low carbon economy.

The International Law Research Program at CIGI is a 10-year initiative, jointly funded by CIGI and Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Its climate change research agenda focuses on risks to communities, human rights and indigenous peoples; loss and damage; best practices in cap and trade regulation and transparency; encouraging clean technology innovation and dissemination to support climate change action; land and forest remediation and governance to support global climate change action; governance and law and the role of subnationals. The law program leverages academic, business and governmental perspectives to improve international law for better global governance. The program strengthens understanding of international law by connecting knowledge, policy and practice. The program focuses on international economic law, international intellectual property law and international environmental law. To learn more about the program, please visit:

In addition to CIGI’s climate change research through the ILRP, CIGI’s Global Security & Politics Program is exploring the politics and governance challenges of climate change negotiations through a project called Fixing Climate Governance. The Global Economy Program at CIGI is researching sustainable finance in the global economy, including ways that jurisdictions can lead sustainability through economic measures. Learn more about CIGI programs and research at


Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444 ext. 7238 Email: [email protected]  

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit


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