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INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IIPFCC): OUR PROPOSALS TO COP21 AND BEYOND

November 29, 2015

The 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is expected to deliver strong commitments to tackle climate change and show the international community’s resolve to radically shift the economic and development paradigm away from fossil fuels, towards climate justice and the respect of the rights of Indigenous Peoples within a human rights framework to climate change.

 

It can be a turning point or another missed opportunity on the hard path towards climate justice.

We Indigenous Peoples, come to Paris after having engaged in an unprecedented process of consultation in our regions in the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe and Africa, where we shared our perspectives, witnessed our suffering due to climate change, and reiterated out resolve to contribute with our traditional knowledge and livelihoods to adapt to and mitigate climate change to the benefit of all humankind.

We strongly believe that the rights of Indigenous Peoples as recognized in international obligations and instruments such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and ILO Convention 169, have to be at the center of deliberations, outcomes and implementation, within a broader human rights framework.

Our call comes from our lands, mountains, forests, rangelands and seas that suffer droughts, floods, melting of glaciers and thawing of permafrost and loss of sea ice. It is the call of our peoples that are on the frontline and pay the highest price of climate change. Climatic aggression threatens Indigenous Peoples’ individual and collective human rights and life ways including the right to life, the right to food, the right to health, and the right to lands, territories and resources.

It is unacceptable that, without being at all responsible, Indigenous Peoples remain major victims of climate change, and climate change continues to cause further imbalance and degradation to Indigenous Peoples’ multiple land use systems. This is further aggravated by the pressure of commercial and extractive interests on our lands, territories and resources such as agribusiness operations, oil palm, biofuel, carbon offsetting and market credit mechanisms, intensive livestock, hydroelectric, mining, oil, fracking and geothermal projects.

This injustice calls for a commitment by the international community to compensate for the historical, social and ecological debt we are suffering. We Indigenous Peoples therefore urge governments and the international community to recognize our right of self-determination, and to respect our right to freedom of expression and association. We express concern over the conflicts generated by climate chance and/or related false solutions, as well as recurrent criminalization, violence and murder of Indigenous Peoples and militarization of our lands and territories, and reiterate the responsibility we have for our generations and the generations to come, to protect and defend our lands, territories and resources.

In proposing our key demands below, we underline the urgency of starting a post-extractive and developmental transition in harmony with Nature, society, and cultures. As a way to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, we challenge governments and companies to commit to an end to fossil fuel extraction, and to support specific actions from the bottom up from towns, cities and communities.

We are in Paris with the determination to continue to promote and implement solutions to the climate crisis based on our values and knowledge, and expect governments and the international community to ensure our full and effective participation in all climate change related processes and our direct access to resources needed for these purposes.

Indigenous women have contributed to taking care of life for millennia; and as regards climate change policies and programs they are not only victims but active participants in the mitigation and adaptation processes, ensuring food security and food sovereignty for now and for future generations. Indigenous women specific roles should be recognized and respected. Gender and inter-generational equity (children, women, youth and elderly) should also be ensured in all climate change policies and actions.

The Paris COP21 and related activities will happen in the wake of a terrible attack on the French people and we wish to express our solidarity and mourning for the losses suffered. Now more than ever, peace can be constructed among peoples, with mutual understanding, respect and consideration. In this spirit we will be in Paris, determined to bring our experiences, perspectives and the following demands to governments, the private sector, NGOs and movements that will gather to discuss and agree on common action on climate change.

1. RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES WITHIN A BROADER HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK IN CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES AND ACTIONS

The operational provisions of the Paris agreement as well as the COP decisions should specifically require Parties to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil the rights of indigenous peoples as recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), ILO Convention No. 169, as well as other international human rights standards and obligations.

Building on the Cancun agreement, clear and robust safeguards must be integrated into any future global climate change Post-2015 agreement. To ensure this, the subsidiary bodies should be given a mandate to develop modalities and methodologies on how to fully integrate and operationalize an approach to climate change policies and actions, which ensures the rights of indigenous peoples.

Some current solutions to climate change such as those under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) have serious implications for the rights of indigenous peoples. Therefore, it is imperative that Parties recognize and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands, territories and resources, their cosmo-visions and their rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) with the right to say “No”. Indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation must be protected in their territories from extractive industries and other projects. Furthermore, violence, murder, criminalization and repression of indigenous peoples’ leaders who struggle for the protection of lands and livelihoods and against the grabbing of indigenous lands and territories should be stopped immediately. False solutions to climate change, such as dams, extensive biofuel crops, new coal-mines, geothermal and fracking that harm Indigenous Peoples must be abandoned.

UNFCCC’s Structured Expert Dialogue report has demonstrated that the proposed 2 °C goal will be catastrophic to nature and peoples which would make SDGs goals unachievable. We therefore urge Parties in Paris to commit to a maximum temperature increase of 1.5°C – in line with the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and adopt robust and ambitious measures to ensure compliance-both in the Paris Agreement and in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

Governments should commit to phase out reliance on fossil fuels including international aviation and marine bunker fuels and to promoting far reaching de-carbonization approaches and programmes, such as safe and small scale renewable energy while supporting indigenous peoples’ initiatives, including by means of appropriate technology transfer within the framework of climate justice.

Scientific data and evidence from the field show that collective ownership and integral titling of land, territories and resources of indigenous peoples, as well as respect for customary use and management are the most effective ways of protecting fragile ecosystems and thereby contributing to adaptation and mitigation.

The preparation, reporting and review of INDCs should ensure participation of Indigenous Peoples and should include indicators on land titling, concrete measures to control mega drivers, direct access to public funding for the management of indigenous territories, non-carbon benefits and protection of cultural, spiritual and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods.

2. RECOGNIZE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATIONS AND PRACTICES AND POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS TO CLIMATE ADAPTATION, MITIGATION WHILE RESPECTING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ TRADITIONAL LIVELIHOODS

The importance of Indigenous Peoples’ livelihoods and traditional knowledge in promoting resiliency and contributing to adaptation and mitigation has been re-affirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its assessment report AR5 on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Therefore the Paris Agreement and COP decisions should recognize and promote indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, livelihoods and innovations and practices.

As a concrete step, we call on Parties to introduce a chapter on Indigenous Peoples ́traditional knowledge in the next IPFCC Assessment Report n.6, as well as establish an Indigenous Peoples’ Experts and “knowledge-holders” advisory body at UNFCCC, to be elected by indigenous organizations and ‘indigenous territorial governments” with regional balance. This body would work as a technical advisory and consultative resource to contribute the perspective of indigenous traditional knowledge to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, activities, mechanisms and programs. In addition, Indigenous Peoples should fully and effectively participate in Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) dealing with pre-2020 ambition and a Technical working group on Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge at SBSTA.

Furthermore, we urge Parties, subject to our Free Prior Informed Consent, to integrate indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge in early warning systems, and include Indigenous Peoples, including indigenous women, in other appropriate early warning systems. When discussing this matter under “issues related to Agriculture”, SBSTA should take into due account the outcome of the 3rd World Conference on Disaster and Risk Reduction held from March 14th to 18th, 2015. In its final statement participants reiterated the key contribution that indigenous people play through our experience and traditional knowledge to the development and implementation of plans and mechanisms.

Finally, the assessment of risk and vulnerability should include shifting cultivation, pastoralism, herding and rotational farming, often stigmatized as drivers of deforestation and ecosystem degradation, while in reality they positively contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Therefore, we call on parties to ensure that food systems, food security, nutritional and cultural values of plants and food, seed, varieties and traditional crops, biodiversity, resource management systems and indigenous peoples agricultural systems be part of risk and vulnerability assessments.

Support should be provided to mitigation and adaptation projects proposed and implemented by Indigenous Peoples, based on our traditional knowledge and cosmovisions that look beyond carbon benefits and market-based approaches.

3. ENSURE FULL AND EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, INCLUDING WOMEN, PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND YOUTH IN CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED PROCESSES AND PROGRAMS AT LOCAL, NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS

We urge governments and institutions to ensure full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, including women, persons with disabilities and youth in all stages of climate change processes, policies and programs at local, national, regional and international levels. This would apply to identification, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Our right to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) should be recognized and upheld at all levels.

Indigenous Peoples should fully and effectively participate in the design, reporting, community- based monitoring and assessment of Safeguards Information Systems, National Forest Monitoring Systems, National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPA), Disaster Risk Reduction and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Local Adaptation Plans of Action (LAPA), National Designation Authorities (NDAs). In order to do so, Indigenous peoples must have access to capacity building and to appropriate technologies.

We urge Parties to ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage (starting with the upcoming meeting in February 2016) and in the Adaptation Fund Advisory Board, as well as in the conduct of assessments of the risks and vulnerability of agricultural systems. Particular efforts should be made to ensure the engagement of indigenous women.

We also call for the urgent implementation of programmes to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, including the mobilization and securing of funds, and the provision of technology and capacity building activities to address climate change impacts. Compensation measures must cover already damaged and lost lands, resources and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples due to adverse impacts of climate change, and must be contingent on our Free Prior Informed Consent.

Extreme weather conditions such as cyclones and drought, negatively impact Indigenous Peoples, increasingly threatening our subsistence, livelihoods and the ecosystems essential for our survival, in many cases forcing us to leave our lands. For this reason, relevant international, regional and national action plans to address climate change induced migrations should be adopted and implemented in strict compliance with article 10 of UNDRIP.

4. ENSURE DIRECT ACCESS TO CLIMATE FINANCE AND FUNDS FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FROM DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES FOR ALL CLIMATE CHANGE RELATED ACTIVITIES

We urge the parties to establish a Global Indigenous Peoples Fund that is managed by and for Indigenous Peoples from developed and developing countries.

Indigenous peoples from developed and developing countries should have direct access to financial resources, from bilateral to multilateral - such as the Green Climate Fund - through their representative organizations, building on the experience and precedents of other climate funds. Indigenous Peoples must be provided with the necessary opportunities and resources to propose, design, implement adaptation and mitigation projects based on their traditional knowledge and livelihoods.

We call on Parties to support our request for the representation of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) as active observers within the Board of the GCF under a differentiated category from non-governmental actors as the case is in the UNFCCC where Indigenous Peoples are considered as a separate constituency.

GCF should not finance any projects that will adversely affect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Furthermore, the GCF should establish an Indigenous Peoples’ direct access window and adopt an Indigenous Peoples’ policy as well as stringent criteria to ensure the effective engagement, consultation and participation of indigenous peoples both in the GCF activities and at all levels.

Parties should also ensure the right to equitable benefit sharing in all climate change related activities, taking into account other internationally agreed outcomes/instruments on Access and Benefit Sharing including the Nagoya Protocol.

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