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Indigenous Delegates Meet Bolivia in Poland

Published: December 8, 2008, Author: MHirch

Poznan, Poland 8 December 2008 — Representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and President Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Indian Nation meeting as the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus met this morning with the Bolivian Government’s Vice Minister for the Environment calling on President Evo Morales to “be the voice of the voiceless” at the Conference of Parties negotiations on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland.

Noting that indigenous peoples have been effectively closed out from the Climate Change dialogue internationally President Sharp stood out in her remarks to the Bolivian government representative calling on the Bolivian government and all states’ governments to “recognize that indigenous nations have knowledge and experience dealing with climate change” that the states’ governments do not have. The Quinault Nation president stressed the importance of Bolivia acting without reservation to work with indigenous peoples.  The Bolivia representative said his government would look to tabling issues of concern to indigenous peoples.

The Danish government delegation welcomed the opportunity to meet President Sharp setting a schedule for Ambassador Bo Lidegaard, Undersecretary of state in the Prime Minister’s office to meet on matters of mutual interest. The Quinault government representative invited other indigenous delegates to join in the meeting.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus agreed in principle to stress Human Rights and implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as one of four principal areas they will offer the Conference of Parties Climate Change meeting that formally begins on Wednesday the 9th of December. Caucus participants representing organizations in South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Africa plan to press for the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples Expert Group on Climate Change to be established for official participation in the Conference of Parties on Climate Change session to convene in November 2009 in Copenhagen.

One notable event or rather non-event highlights the awkward position the United States Government’s delegation occupies at the Conference on Climate Change. As if at a fortress, officials at the US Delegates’ office were asked to meet with indigenous delegates.  Their rely was a brusk brush-off saying “we don’t have time to meet with everyone.” This behaviour continues the image of arrogance of US delegations in the past giving the United States the appearance of neither diplomatic nor honorable participants in international meetings demanding cooperation and comity for the benefit of human kind.

Bolivia, Denmark, and other delegations have been welcoming and open to exchanges and discussion in an obvious effort to find consensus on matters of importance on climate change and human survival.

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