Indigenous People and climate change issues
“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development of their lands or territories and other resources”Art. 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
On COP21 are happening many side events about the role of the Indigenous Peoples’ in Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies. During the event “Strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies and Food Security through direct access to the Green Climate Fund” was underlined the importance of the active role that these populations should have.
Jo Ann Guillao, researcher of the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education (TEBTEBBA) from Philippines, spokes about the strong interrelationship between Climate Change, Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge. For him “Traditional knowledge is an inseparable part of indigenous and local communities’ culture, social structures, economy, livelihoods, beliefs, traditions, customs, customary law, health and their relationship to the local environment” and this is fundamental to achieving sustainable development and key contributor to addressing climate change.
Speaking about climate change impacts and interventions, indigenous peoples’ will remain at the centre stage. But the Climate Green Found (CGF), founded by the UNFCCC as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change, does not provide they with any active role.
Kimaren Ole Riamit, executive director of the Indigenous Livelihood Enhancement Partners (ILEPA) from Kenya and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples explained which are the key Indigenous Peoples’ asks. First of all, the Indigenous Peoples should have direct access to financial resources, under the GCF – through their representative organizations, building on the experience and precedents of other climate funds.
Furthermore, GCF will need to develop its own capacity to fully assess and ensure compliance with international human rights standards and obligations relevant to indigenous peoples. Another side event was about the relations between the indigenous people and the access to climates funds for climate change mitigation and adaptations policies.
The main focus was in a project for Amazonian indigenous peoples called REDD + Indigena Amazonia RIA finance by Forestal Investment Program (FIP). The most interesting thing in this discussion was that the debating table was sharing by indigenous leaders, people from Peruvian Government, WWF, and one represent from the World Bank.Firstly, Plinio (Represent of indigenous people) spokes about ownership, resources management and territorial governance because there are pressures due the development of oil activities, the planting oil palm, the construction of hydroelectric plants and affecting 75% of the area.
Secondly, Luis Tayori Kentero from Harakbut tribe spokes about the bases and the process that ten communities have developed for Peruvian Government. This was about studies of indigenous technical people focus on archaeological and cultural richness, and sacred places, and also the damage on them. ” The region of Madre de Dios is a biodiversity territory and in five years will be a desert region because the human ambition only want to satisfice their needs without thinking about others” told Tayori Kentero.
In general, during the first three days, COP21 gave a lot spaces of participation to indigenous people to express their demands towards governments and international financial organisms for the urgent need of care on their territories.