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Indigenous Peoples must be Included in Global Negotiations aimed at Combating Climate Change, say Speakers in Permanent Forum

by NationTalk on April 23, 2008624 Views

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Seventh Session
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)

Delegates Stress Indigenous Voices Now Excluded from Process,

Some Proposed Solutions Could Have Disastrous Impact on Their Communities

As the seventh session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues entered its second day, dozens of delegates took the floor to point out that indigenous peoples must have a say in negotiations on how to combat global climate change, because solutions currently being implemented were turning out to be further violations of indigenous rights.A speaker representing the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest, International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, told the Forum that many policies proposed as solutions, such as carbon trading, were potential disasters for indigenous people. Territories and resources were threatened, along with basic rights. The voice of indigenous peoples must be considered in the building of the overall framework of approaches, and all actors should cooperate on capacity-building to meet the demands of addressing climate change.

A speaker for Caucus Indigena de Latinoamerica said the industrialized countries were responsible for global climate change with their wastefulness and over-consumption, and it was unacceptable that they would make decisions on how to control climate change without consulting indigenous peoples. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples contained recommendations on how to address climate change and they should be immediately implemented.

Many indigenous peoples in the Pacific region had been forced to leave their lands, a representative of the Pacific Caucus said. The immense coastline made it particularly vulnerable to tidal surges and other consequences of global warming. Worse, the Clean Development Mechanisms Fund of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had financed projects that had caused the deaths of indigenous peoples, who had refused to relinquish their territories. The hubris of industrialized nations was also of concern. They urged emissions reductions in developing countries as a precondition for taking responsibility for carbon emissions at home. Indigenous peoples must be integrated into climate change forums as valued stakeholders and experts.

The Chief of the Haudenosaonee, Six Nations, pointed out that today was Earth Day. He said indigenous people spoke in defence of the natural world and said that humans were bound by the laws of nature. In 1978, an indigenous runner from Greenland had informed the United Nations that ice was melting in the north. That same message was being delivered today, with positive options at a late date. There was little time left to arrest global warming. The industrialized world must place a cap on carbon and it was up to States to rein in and regulate corporate power.

Among presentations made by Governments today, Ecuador’s Minister of Indigenous Issues said her Government would be developing a project that would impact on the environment, but would also bring development to thousands of people. The world community would be asked to contribute $5 per barrel towards the cause of preserving biodiversity. The Governments with indigenous peoples in their populations must consider it their responsibility to insure that indigenous peoples were included in decisions affecting them, which meant that Governments must build societies that were more sustainable, equitable and inclusive.

Other representatives of Governments speaking today were the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs of Canada and the Vice-Minister of Communitarian Justice of Bolivia.

The Governor of the Amazon State, Venezuela, delivered a statement, as did officials on behalf of the National Corporation on Indigenous Development in the Ministry of Planning of Chile and on behalf of Australia’s Indigenous Land Corporation.

A Member of Parliament from Denmark delivered a statement, alongside parliamentarians from Parlamento Indigena de America and the Saami Parliamentary Council, Norway.

The representatives of Spain, Brazil, Cameroon, Philippines, Guyana and Suriname also spoke.

In an ongoing dialogue among agencies, Governments and delegates, two forum members called for consideration of the extent to which the Convention on Indigenous Rights adopted last year was legally binding on signatories. Four Forum members yesterday had noted that agencies involved in indigenous affairs often overlooked gaps in assistance provided and that left indigenous people without coverage by any agency. It had also been pointed out that only Bolivia had ratified the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the Assembly had adopted last year.

Delivering statements were members of the following indigenous caucuses: Global Indigenous Caucus; Indigenous Women’s Caucus; Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, North America Region; Arctic Caucus; African Caucus; Asia Caucus; Indigenous Youth Caucus; Caribbean Caucus; and Australian Aboriginal Caucus.

Joint statements were delivered on behalf of: ONIC, CECOIN, Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, Foundation for Research and Support of Indigenous Peoples of Crimea, AIPYN, Tuvalu Climate Action Network, Eagle Clan Arawaks, Sima Masai Outreach Organization, AMWAE, United Confederation of Taine People, Sinyatt Youth Association, Masai Women for Education and Economic Development, Centre d’Accompagnement des Autochtones Pygmées et minorités vulnérables, Conseil National des Concertations des jeunes autochtone de la République Démocratique Congo, Indigenous Environmental Network, CORE, Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, Federation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Alliance of Asia, Western Shoshone Defense Project, International Indian Treaty Council, Cabildo Wayuu Nouna, and Asociacion Indigena Ambiental.

Other statements were delivered on behalf of the Centre for Organization, Research and Education, Dooda Desert Rock, Kipam, Apache Women, CEDHUNG, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Advocate for the Protection of Sacred Rites, Federation of Indigenous Tribal People of Asia, India Confederation of Indigenous Tribal People, Land is Life, Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Ecuador in America, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Land, Sustainable Energy-Economy Network, Consejo Indigena Mesoamericano and Fundacion Para la Promocion del Conocimiento Indigena.

Statements on behalf of the following were also heard: International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change; Buffalo River Dene Nation; Maya Vision; Lipan Apache Women’s Defense; Ribert Menchu Fund; Flying Eagle Women Fund; Indigenous Environmental Network; First Peoples Human Rights Coalition; Bangsa Adat Alifuru; Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantar; Chin Human Rights; PACOS, Cordillera Peoples Alliance; NGO Forum Cambodia; Kalumaran-Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao; Shimin Gauko Centre; CALPI; USP; Accion Ecologica; CEDIS; CJIRA; Uk’Ux B’e; Kus; Kura; Jentzera; and Hawaii and Pacific Northwest Indigenous World Association.

Other groups delivering statements were the Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, Kitchenahmay Koosib, Inninuwug, Indigenous Network on Economics and Trade, Treaty 6 in Canada, Indigenous Environment Network, BC First Nations Summit, Chiefs of Ontario, Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake and Assembly of First Nations, Mi’k maq Grand Council, Mi’k maq of Canada and the United States, and Native Women’s Association in Canada.

The Forum will continue its debate at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 23 April.

VISIT HERE to view full press release.

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