COP22: The role of indigenous communities in fighting climate change
In these days, COP22 is hosting several side events dedicated to Southern American, African, and Asian indigenous communities.
Several traditions, inheritances, and cultural backgrounds are being shown: some of the participants wear traditional clothes, and many of them have been able to instill their love for Nature through songs and legends belonging to woodland areas.
Nevertheless, through their participation, they aimed at advocating for a specific purpose: taking into account indigenous population needs in shaping adequate climate mitigation policies.
Let´s take, for instance, the example of Grace Balawag, Tebtebba representative (Indigenous People´s International Centre for Policy Research and Education). He stressed that their experience should be considered as a major point when the Global Climate Fund is in use.
`The contribution of the indigenous communities has to be recognized from the GCF in the development of adaptation and mitigation processes´, argues Balawag.
Stanley Kimaren, Kenyan representative of ILEPA (Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners) is skeptical about the extent to which indigenous´ rights will be respected: despite of the fact that the Paris Agreement includes them, as long as mitigation policies are concernd, the United Nations still somehow struggle in recognizing their role and importance.
Klimaren declares that ´This is why access to the GCF ought to be guaranteed. The exclusion of indigenous communities has to come to a end because the new mechanisms made clear the necessity to include us into the agreements´.
COP22 is a key opportunity for the indigenous communities to ask to the Parties a clear statement on their role within the negotiations: their traditions need to be preserved and protected. Joan Carling, AIPP representative (Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact) argues that indigenous lands should not be considered under negotiation without the permission of their legitimate owners: for centuries, indigenous have protected forests, mountains, rivers and animals. Indigenous communities rights ought to be integrated with the protection of natural landscapes, since lands belong to them since ever.
Among others, the AIDESEP – the ethnic network for the Peruvian jungle – joined the event: these Peruvian representatives are confident that taking part in COP22 would help them to stand up as relevant actors in the global fight against climate change.
Indigenous communities´ hopes mainly relate to the role that Cop22 can play in reducing deforestation and protecting their own resources.