The Climate Change negotiations going on in Paris and finishing this week appear to be moving to the direction of corporations and states at the expense of native peoples–just as occurred during the negotiations producing the Convention on BioDiversity in 1994. It is now time for indigenous peoples to recognize that they must take the initiative and not depend on state institutions to do the right thing. The same is true of small island nations threatened and experiencing flood inundation.
Monitoring the Climate Change negotiations since Bali we at the Center for World Indigenous studies have long asserted that getting effective mitigation of the adverse effects of warming climates was long past the saving point perhaps thirty years ago. Efforts to maximize short term profits each year have frustrated the essential effort that demands recognition that perpetual development with fossil fuels chokes life. The Paris meeting will soon be recognized as absolutely too little too late. Adaptation to save life is the only alternative and has been the necessity for the last generation. Native peoples must know this and act on their own behalf.
The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) released a strongly worded statement in an “open letter to the Ministers” expressing the support of indigenous peoples’ representatives observing the proceedings for “the strong support for Parties to commit to ambitious carbon reduction targets to limit global warming below 1.5 C (34.7F); and the statement called for Parties to make permanent temporary language in the Climate Change Agreement that adds, “including the rights of indigenous peoples” to the paragraph,
“This Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science, and in accordance with the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and on the basis of respect for human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples and the promotion of gender equality [and the right of peoples under occupation].
The United States government, Norway and other governments have essentially taken the position that this paragraph complicates passage of the Agreement and should be excluded. For that reason the paragraph is in “brackets” meaning that it is not yet agreed to by the Parties. Since indigenous peoples’ official representatives do not have a seat at the table, there is only a written statement requesting action by the Parties to the Climate Change Treaty. That is a very big reason why this simple six word clause will probably not see the light of day, and the paragraph including the human rights clause will also fall to the wayside.
It is up to Fourth World nations to take the necessary steps to modify their living environments and adjust their approach to life. The warming trends are already evident world wide.
This post has been UPDATED as of 13:17 Mexico Time
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here