The Principality of Monaco hosted the inaugural Conference of the Forests and Communities Initiative (FCI) from November 21 to 23, gathering over 100 experts, including Indigenous and local community leaders, scientists, and stakeholders. Under the leadership of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, pivotal discussions emerged, emphasizing the recognition of indigenous knowledge and culture, advocating for rights-based approaches, embracing gender equality frameworks, harmonizing environmental laws, and reimagining funding and governance models.

The inaugural evening featured the “Guardians of The Forests” series premiere, showcasing vital forest ecosystems worldwide. The episode “Brazil – Replanting the Amazon,” highlighting Benki’s environmental leadership, showed how indigenous communities foster forest conservation. The series aired on Arte TV on December 9 and was made accessible on from December 2.

The conference included Sebastião Salgado endorsing forest restoration and praising Benki’s work. Benki emphasized our connection to nature and the responsibility for Earth’s well-being. Nemonte Nenquimo Waorami highlighted collective action and women’s role in decisions. Professor Carlos Nobre advocated blending Western science with indigenous wisdom. Txai Surui raised concerns about legislative threats to Brazilian indigenous territories, calling for global support.

The conference concluded collaboratively with breakout sessions, during which YTI contributed to drafting a Call to Action echoing the resolve to drive meaningful change through collective efforts. Additionally, a musical rendition of traditional Ashaninka chants performed by Raine Piyãko, Rosane Puyanawa, and Piyanko Piyãko paid tribute to the tireless guardians safeguarding our forests.

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