Saturday, 23 January 2021

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Ciné-ONU: Yasuni Man

On 21 February 2018, Ciné-ONU screened ‘Yasuni Man in order to highlight environmental justice. The documentary leads the viewer into a world unexplored and illustrates a cautionary tale of the far-reaching impact our dependence on fossil fuels can have on wildlife and indigenous people. The film was shown in partnership with UN Environment at Cinéma Galeries in Brussels.

Facebook Live interview with Carlos Jimenez and Ryan Killackey | ©UNRIC

The screening was preceded by a Facebook Live event broadcast on our Cine-ONU Facebook page with the film’s director Ryan Killackey.  Visit our page to hear Ryan discuss the plight of indigenous people within the Yasuni Man and Biosphere Reserve, some of the last in voluntary isolation throughout the world.

The screening was followed by a conversation on the issues highlighted in the film. The guest speakers included: Ryan Killackey (Director); Fernando Ponz Canto (EEAS); Maria Cristina Zucca (UN Environment); moderated by Carlos Jimenez (UNRIC).

The discussion initially focused on Mr Killackey and why he had made ‘Yasuni Man’. He revealed that, ‘frogs brought me to Yasuni in 2005, this interest and passion in animals led me to want to do more’. He went on to highlight that, ‘by making this film we tried to remove the bias. These are people just like you or I’. However, when asked about the ongoing situation in Ecuador he highlighted that, ‘Ecuador is a very divided place, much like anywhere in the world - there is a lot of growth needed in terms of cooperation, but at the end of the day they (the Waorani) are human too and we hope the film will help to build connections’.

Ryan Killackey and Carlos Jimenez introducing 'Yasuni Man' | ©UNRIC

When asked about policy in relation to such problems Ms. Zucca highlighted that, ‘we are always trying to develop policy, to promote environmental justice and environmental protection. It is important for us to engage with the right people, people on the ground to achieve the best results’. This was echoed by Mr Ponz Canto who further stated that the EU is significantly committed to the environment and the protection of indigenous people, saying that, ‘it is part of our DNA, it is in the European Union constitution, it is part of all of us’.

Post screening Q+A discussion between speakers | ©UNRIC

In looking towards the future, Ms. Zucca stressed that, ‘a lot of awareness and information is crucial in educating others about these people and problems’. Mr. Killackey said that in order to make a difference, individuals could reduce their own personal reliance on fossil fuels and support petitions to the Ecuadorian Government to prevent exploitation of the Yasuni people and Biosphere Reserve. 

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