International Forum for Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change

Cancún, 30 November, 2010. Indigenous delegates representing more than 360 million indigenous people are calling for the Climate Change agreements to include a minimum set of proposals that should be considered inalienable because they are so closely linked to their human rights.

The indigenous delegates meeting in Cancún agreed with the rights-based approach voiced by the Mexican President, Felipe Calderón, when he stated that everyone had the “right to a healthy environment”, indigenous peoples in particular. The indigenous delegates repeated that the texts adopted in Cancún had to recognise indigenous peoples' rights. These rights include the right to self-determination, territories, free prior and informed consent, traditional knowledge and genetic resources, among others. They also called for the full, effective and direct participation of indigenous peoples in all mechanisms, bodies and procedures established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including mitigation, adaptation, the Kyoto Protocol, financing, technology transfer and capacity building. They are basing their demands on principles and rights recognised by the UN itself, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly on 13 September 2007. Because of their close relationship with nature, indigenous peoples are highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and the negotiation texts should mention this and include specific references to indigenous peoples. Another fundamental demand is that the agreements should guarantee the inclusion, recognition and protection of their innovations, technologies, cultural expressions, beliefs, heritage and traditional knowledge. The delegates further proposed that indigenous peoples be guaranteed direct and immediate access to financing, along with appropriate technologies and capacity building.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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