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Climate Agreement Failure

Published: December 12, 2015, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

After reading the final treaty agreement from the Climate Change conference in Paris published on Saturday 12  December 2015 I have to say that the efforts of the adhoc International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) (in which I have played a part from time to time over the years) have proved unsuccessful. The efforts of many well meaning and experienced indigenous experts and diplomatic players came up short in large measure due to the nature of the United Nations itself:  It is a state’s government body and not an a Fourth World nations body. It is set up to advance the interests of states and not Fourth World nations. Now that should come as no surprise to those who actually read the UN Charter, but hope springs eternal in the minds of indigenous peoples advocates that somehow the states will become benevolent and responsible despite the evidence that virtually no state in the world has responsibly engaged Fourth World nations as legitimate political authorities equal in sovereignty to any state. No I didn’t say “equal to a state.” I said equal in sovereignty. That simply means that Fourth World nations possess inherent powers to freely govern themselves without external interference unless they chose of their own free, prior and informed consent.

The Agreement signed in Paris this last week essentially denies the governing right of Fourth World nations to exercise the principle of free, prior and informed consent and vest those powers in the state that may supercede the interests of Fourth World nations when matters concerning climate change mitigation and adaptation are concerned.

Here is what is now contained in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change protocols (by page number) agreed to in Paris concerning Fourth World nations:

[From the: document: Adoption of a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties (FCCC/Cp/2015/L.9)]

Page 1

Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity,

Page 2

Agreeing to uphold and promote regional and international cooperation in order to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate action by all Parties and non-Party stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples,

Page 19

Paragraph 136. Recognizes the need to strengthen knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to addressing and responding to climate change, and establishes a platform for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner;

Paris Agreement:

Page 20

Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity,

Article 7

Page 24

 

5. Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate.

 

THESE ARE THE POSITIONS TAKEN BY PARTICIPANTS IN THE IIPFCC AT THE PARIS MEETING

Summary of Indigenous People’s Demands for UNFCCC

 

RECOGNITION OF A HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH WHICH RESPECTS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS IN CLIMATE-CHANGE AGREEMENTS AND RELATED ACTIONS
Parties shall ensure a human rights-based approach which respects Indigenous Peoples’ rights and related safeguards in any future climate change programmes and actions including those that will be adopted in COP21 in Paris. Any agreement shall build and expand on the language contained in Cancun Climate Agreement that represents an initial step towards recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples reflected in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – as reaffirmed by the69th session of the UN General Assembly HLPM/WCIP held in New York in September 2014 – and other relevant international human rights instruments and standards.

RESPECT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS TO LANDS, TERRITORIES AND RESOURCES
Indigenous Peoples rights to lands, territories and resources must be respected in any climate related action and programme (including mitigation and adaptation actions) that will be agreed in Lima (such as those included in INDCs) and in the Paris agreement. Parties shall adopt criteria for reporting on national progress to ensure land and territorial titling, and for concrete measures to address drivers of deforestation and land degradation. Scientific data shows that the collective ownership and integral titling of land, territories and resources of indigenous peoples, as well as respect for customary use and management are the most effective ways of protecting fragile ecosystems (such as forests, mangroves and glaciers) and thereby contributing to adaptation and mitigation.

RECOGNITION OF, AND RESPECT FOR, INDIGENOUS TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION
The importance of Indigenous Peoples’ livelihoods and knowledge in contributing to adaptation and mitigation has been re-affirmed recently by the (IPCC) in its assessment report (AR5), on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Furthermore, the HLPM/WCIP Conference that took place in September in New York reaffirmed that Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and strategies to sustain their environment shall be respected and taken into account and a coherent approach shall be adopted by the UN to achieve the ends of the UNDRIP.

Parties shall therefore recognize and protect indigenous peoples’ knowledge and cultural heritage, innovations, technologies, cosmovision, practices, cultural identity, traditional cultural expressions, and spiritual values, which contribute to a climate-friendly livelihood system and biodiversity conservation as well as acknowledge the role of indigenous peoples in adaptation and mitigation. Related application and implementation shall be made possible through adequate financial resources for its application and implementation should be made available. Non-carbon benefits shall be valued properly and shall be defined within a human rights framework which respects and recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples to lands, territories and natural resources. Parties shall recognize and support any indigenous proposals/initiatives on REDD+ that guarantee non-carbon benefits and non-market-based approaches. Parties in Lima shall agree to convene a workshop on the contribution of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge to mitigation and adaptation.
in the first half of 2015

RECOGNITION AND SUPPORT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ COMMUNITY- BASED MONITORING AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS (CBMIS)
Parties must ensure, through the provision of funding and capacity building, that Indigenous Peoples can develop and present their own parallel reports on REDD+ and other climate change-related activities. Community Based Monitoring Information Systems (CBMIS) shall be acknowledged, promoted and supported, including within the framework of MRV for mitigation and adaptation. MRV criteria shall include the extent of implementation of social and environmental safeguards, including human rights, equitable benefit-sharing, technology transfer and development, finance and REDD+.

The methodological guidance on non-carbon benefits and Safeguard Information Systems (SIS) must respect, recognize and promote the community-based participatory monitoring and information systems, including traditional knowledge, customary laws, forest management systems and practices of Indigenous Peoples. Among other things, SIS should include indicators on how the demand of Indigenous Peoples for land titling is being achieved, and also report the percentage of the public budget assigned to support the forest management of Indigenous Peoples.

RESPECT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS TO FULL AND EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION IN ALL CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS AND UNFCCC INSTITUTIONS
Parties shall recognize and ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples – including Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in any climate change related actions and programmes. Indigenous Peoples should participate in all UNFCCC decision making bodies as well as COP negotiations, subsidiary bodies, Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs), financing mechanisms, and capacity building and technology-related bodies. The permanent presence of the Indigenous Pavilion in all following COPs should ensure a communications and advocacy platform to make visible indigenous proposals to tackle climate change.

In consultation with Indigenous Peoples, the COP shall set up an Indigenous Peoples’ Experts and knowledge-holders Advisory body elected by indigenous organizations and indigenous territorial governments with regional balance, which would act as a technical advisory body and a consultative resource that contributes to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, activities, mechanisms and programmes especially with respect to Indigenous Peoples’ related issues.

ENSURE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DIRECT ACCESS TO FINANCE AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Parties shall ensure direct access of Indigenous Peoples to finance through the establishment of a fund dedicated to address the priority needs decided by Indigenous Peoples in developing and developed countries. Funds shall be made available to support climate actions by Indigenous Peoples in adaptation and mitigation, and based on indigenous traditional knowledge, as well as activities such as land recognition and titling and CBMIS. Parties shall also agree to establish a dedicated fund mechanism for Indigenous Peoples’ participation in climate policy-making processes. Finance shall be based on public funds and be additional to development cooperation aid and conditional on full respect and effective implementation of social, environmental, human and indigenous peoples rights safeguards. As far as the Green Climate Fund is concerned, the Standing Committee on Finance shall recognize the specific constituency of Indigenous Peoples and their active observer status, as well ensure direct access to financing.

Only one of the six positions offered up became part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Protocol agreed to on 11 December in Paris. Article 7, as noted above, offers Fourth World knowledge to solving the climate change problem “respectfully.”

Now is the time for Fourth World nations and their experts to get serious about addressing the serious threats to their continuing existence due to the adverse consequences of climate change caused by the economic and political ignorance of states’ governments. Trying to persuade the already ignorant with rational proposals has failed. Now each nation and nations in concert must act proactively to advance their own plans for adaptation through enforceable laws and regulations consistent with their customary systems of government.

 

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

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