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OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTERS: WHY EXPLICIT REFERENCE TO THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN ARTICLE 2 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT IS IMPERATIVE?

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) expresses its strong support for Parties to commit to ambitious carbon reduction targets to limit global warming below 1.5 C. This is critical for mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change and for the continuing survival and development of all peoples and nations, including those living in small islands and vulnerable areas.

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JOAS decries being ignored in combating climate change

 December 2, 2015

Orang Asal disappointed they have been left out of government’s climate change plans.
 
 
 
 
 
 

PETALING JAYA: The Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (Joas) are disappointed the Orang Asal were ignored in the government’s plans to combat climate change.

In a statement, Joas spokesperson Puah Sze Ning questioned why the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) had not sought the input, feedback and expertise of the Orang Asal in preparing Malaysia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

A country’s INDC outlines what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take to combat climate change and limit future climate risks.

Malaysia’s INDC was submitted at the Conference of Paris (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

Puah lamented that the INDC omitted any mention of the role of Orang Asal in indigenous land and forest management in its climate change strategies.

“This is despite the recognition by the United Nations and other research reports that forests managed by the Orang Asal are critical in combating climate change.”

Puah said that JOAS had requested the NRE be a part of the government’s delegation to COP21, but received no response.

“We also shared our Asia Indigenous People’s Declaration on COP21 before they submitted their INDC and that too was met with silence.”

She said that countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico among others have explained the importance of protecting the rights of indigenous communities and plans to engage these communities.

“The Orang Asal need to be included more holistically when it comes to combating climate change.

“This can be in terms of recognising indigenous territories or how indigenous communities will be involved in fighting climate change.”

Puah reiterated their call to the government to respect the Orang Asal in their own right by seeking the participation of indigenous people, consulting and consenting in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change.

 
 
 

INDIGENOUS WOMEN IS THE KEY TO SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES: Position of PEREMPUAN AMAN for UNFCCC COP21, Paris

Jakarta, 12 November 2015. PEREMPUAN AMAN organized the "National Workshop and Dialogue of Indigenous Women with Indonesian Delegation on Climate Change towards Negotiation Process of COP 21, Paris" on 11-12 November 2015 in Jakarta. The workshop was attended by representatives of indigenous women from Indonesia with the support of GEF-SGP, a program that supports local initiatives.

Indigenous women are witnessing a drastic change over the management area and their livelihood resources in a big scale. Fields, farms, forests are quickly turned into monoculture plantations and mining concessions. Fires happening currently have damaged the sources of livelihood for women, and indigenous women have been blamed as one of the actors causing the fire.

The role of indigenous women as the owner of knowledge and wisdom in managing land and the sources of life such as; seeds and crops, woven cloth, wicker and knowledge of traditional medicinal plants, is currently marginalized. Indigenous women are no longer able to read the signs of nature to find out the shifting of seasons and respond to changes of extreme weather.

We, the indigenous women believe that the State has mismanaged in the management of livelihood resources and indigenous territories that contributed to the acceleration of climate change. The state has entrusted the management of natural resources in indigenous territories and in the territories of indigenous women to corporates through the issuance of large-scale concessions, both for plantations, minings, industrial timber estates (HTI), and the National Park. Although the court ruling of Constitutional Court No. 35/2012 has stated that indigenous forests are no longer state forests, but concessions still operate in indigenous territories.

We recognize that indigenous women must establish a firm position to place the special needs of indigenous women in the negotiation process of the COP 21 in Paris wholeheartedly.

We, the indigenous women demand the acknowledgement of indigenous territories and management territories of indigenous women. This acknowledgement ensures the utilization governance of the indigenous territories through traditional wisdom becomes inherent. Indigenous women are vulnerable to be excluded from their management territories, which were assigned as mining concessions, oil palm plantations, industrial timber estates and others. In those areas, they cannot perform their role as the guardian of livelihood resilience for their family and community.

Contrary to the verdict of Constitutional Court No. 35/ PUU/X /2012, concessions keep on going in indigenous territories. Indigenous women lost management territories where they practice and knowledge reproduction on natural resource management. The knowledge of indigenous women will cease and the passing on of the knowledge to the younger generation no longer occurs. This process has excluded women from the public space within their community.

We demand the acknowledgement of the indigenous women’s knowledge over natural resource management in climate change policy. Knowledge of indigenous women in managing resources is local and is about fulfilling the needs of family and community life. The technology being used is simple and has low emissions. This knowledge must continue to be developed by indigenous women to respond to various changes happening in their management territories. It can contribute to the adaptation and mitigation strategies at the local level and can even be expanded on a national scale.

We call on the Indonesian government and other parties to stop the accusations and attempts to discredit the knowledge and practice of shifting cultivation that have been practiced over generations for hundreds of years in indigenous communities. This accusation has underestimated the knowledge of indigenous women and indigenous peoples, whereas the practice of shifting cultivation of indigenous peoples has lasted for hundreds of years. We testify that the farming systems and practices of indigenous peoples have never caused such an extensive forest fires, like what has happened recently. The knowledge of indigenous women is equipped with the timing, the method of burning, the indigenous, ritualistic conducts, strict supervision of fire, and customary laws that emphasize on social sanctions.

We emphasize that the position of indigenous women at various levels of strategic decision-making in climate change policy needs to be strengthened. Various developmental and climate change projects have marginalized the voices of indigenous women. The situation has discriminated indigenous women, especially in the strategic decision making process. Although, in fact, the rights of indigenous women at the international level have been acknowledged and protected in particular in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in the Law 7 of 1984 on Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

We emphasize that the whole developmental or climate change projects implemented in indigenous territories incorporate the principle of Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) as the main pre-requisite. This principle emphasizes that indigenous women along with the community are entitled to have a balanced information related to the project plan. This principle also ensures the plans and implementation of projects are carried out without coercion, violence, intimidation, and discrimination. It provides a space for indigenous women to determine developmental or climate change projects coming in into their indigenous territories.

We urge the halt of the criminalization toward indigenous women who fight for and manage natural resources within their traditional territories that are still happening in various parts of the world. Experience teaches that indigenous women's access over natural resources is limited by concessions in the form of National Parks within indigenous areas. In the name of protection of endemic flora and fauna, we were arrested and prosecuted when accessing natural products in National Parks. Therefore, we oppose the process of COP 21, Paris that perpetuates the criminalization of indigenous women and indigenous peoples -- who strive and manage natural resources within their traditional territories -- in the name of climate change.

In response to climate change, indigenous women have been doing a range of initiatives at various levels. At the community level, indigenous women have diversified plants from crops to perennial plants, have refused to practice monocultures and concessions within indigenous territories, as well as monopoly of water resources facilitated by the State. Indigenous women also become a motor for the adoption of Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) principle into a Governor Regulation. Those aforementioned initiatives are based on the traditional knowledge of indigenous women in the management of the sources of livelihood.

Hopefully the position of indigenous women, the universe and the ancestral spirits continue to bless and assist the struggle of indigenous women.

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.

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Messages of the Vietnamese Ethnic Minorities to COP21

 

Recognizing that:

  • Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by climate change, with its community of ethnic minority groups encountering the least advantages in responding to climate change due to their underdevelopment and their difficult social-natural and living conditions;
  • These ethnic minority groups mainly live in mountainous, riverine and coastal areas and basins where there is biodiversity, rare and precious genetic resources of the country and the world, and especially water resources. Therefore, the enhancement of the capacity of the ethnic minority people in responding to climate change will bring benefits not only to themselves but also to humankind as a whole;  
  • The destruction of the environment and nature caused by climate change has been and is becoming ever more catastrophic, which has not only negatively affected the people’s livelihoods, health and lives but also seriously affected the living environment, the cultural and spiritual atmosphere as well as natural heritage in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world;

Read more: Messages of the Vietnamese Ethnic Minorities to COP21