Indigenous Voices on Climate Change
Recognizing the imminent risk posed by climate change, indigenous peoples the world over have become central actors in the international discussions about how to confront the phenomenon. They have participated in numerous official meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They have also formed a unique coalition called the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, which has no permanent staff or budget, but coordinates indigenous presence at important international climate events. Additionally, indigenous peoples have organized their own spaces for discussion and consensus building around what should be done about climate change.
The position of indigenous leaders from across the planet has been eloquently expressed in numerous declarations and statements. In many cases, these statements are based in fundamental rights outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in late 2007.
Indigenous Statements on Climate Change:
"Indigenous peoples call for unambiguous language and commitment on REDD+ that explicitly refers to the right to self-determination and free and prior informed consent as a precondition for any REDD+ action to occur in indigenous lands." Excerpted from statement by the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), June 2010 in Bonn, Germany
"We demand the full and effective implementation of the right to consultation, participation and prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes, and in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change."Excerpted from the People's Agreement from the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia
"Solutions to address the effects of climate change must be holistic, coherent and respectful of human rights and of Mother Earth. It also should not be limited to Western scientific knowledge, but also include traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, which have historically contributed to the efforts of conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity in our territories guaranteed." Excerpted from Latin American Indigenous Forum on Climate Change, March 2010 in San José, Costa Rica
"We challenge States to abandon false solutions to climate change that negatively impact Indigenous People's rights, lands, air, oceans, forests and territories. These include nuclear energy, large-scale dams, geo-engineering techniques, "clean coal", agro-fuels, and market-based mechanisms such as carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and forest offsets."Excerpted from the Anchorage Declaration from the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change, April 2009 in Anchorage, United States