International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change
Statement, ADP/S6 October 20-25, 2014, Bonn, Germany
Despite being those least responsible for climate change, Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately affected by it. Climate change threatens Indigenous Peoples’ collective and individual human rights, threatening to destroy our very lifeways, our right to food sovereignty, to health, and our lands, territories and resources.
Here in Bonn you are expected to approve two draft conclusions to be adopted in Lima, one on “Information that Parties will have to produce when putting forward their INDCs” and another on “accelerating the implementation of enhanced pre-2020 climate action”. We think that the determination to include Human rights commitments in climate actions and decisions as recently recommended by the UNHR Council will have to be reflected also in these two documents. The Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples recently adopted by the UN General Assembly, also calls for a UN system-wide plan to ensure the implementation of our rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to provide for the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and institutions in matters affecting them, and specifically affirming our right to free, prior, and informed consent in all matters affecting our lands, territories, and natural resources. These should explicitly recognize the role of indigenous peoples, the need to ensure a rights-based approach, the commitment to ensure non-carbon benefits in adaptation and mitigation, the implementation of social and environmental safeguards, including free prior informed consent and engagement of Ips.
The latest IPCC assessment report acknowledges that our traditional knowledge systems and holistic view of community and environment are major resources for adapting to climate change, but are little used. Likewise, the Outcome Document recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ special relationship to the environment and our contribution to ecosystem management and sustainable development. The Outcome Document reaffirms that “Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and strategies to sustain their environment should be respected and taken into account when we (states) develop national and international approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation.” We note with appreciation Norway’s statements at this session on the need to include Indigenous Peoples in the decision-making process and to take our traditional knowledge into account.
It is especially disturbing that the ADP Co-chairs’ non-paper, which purports to capture the state parties’ views on necessary elements of the 2015 Agreement, contains ONLY one very brief reference to “Respect[ing] the views of Indigenous Peoples.” That is not only unacceptable, but retrogressive as it totally ignores the gains made in the Cancun and Warsaw decisions with regard to Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the context of climate change. This process must be part of the General Assembly’s call for a system-wide plan to implement the rights contained in the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The 2015 Agreement must contain a robust human rights based approach which protects our rights, honors our traditional knowledge and lifeways, and ensures our full and effective participation in, and benefit from, all mechanisms, bodies and procedures established under the UNFCCC, including ADP, mitigation, adaptation, financing, MRV, and technology transfer and capacity building. We will have specific language proposals as the process proceeds.
Download the Statement in .pdf.