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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a global subsidiary body of the UN and one of the most authoritative actors in assessing climate change.[1], [2] It comprises three working groups (WG): WGI examines the physical science of the past, present, and future climate change; WGII assesses the vulnerability of socio-ecological systems, climate change consequences and adaptation options; and WGIII focuses on climate change mitigation.[3]

Each WG assesses existing scientific, technical and quantitative socio-economic evidence following an outline defined at the beginning of the assessment cycle during a plenary with States. The outlines structure the chapters of each WG report, which include measures of confidence and probabilistic quantification of uncertainty. Each WG report is further complemented with a summary for policymakers (SPM) – a brief summary with key policy-relevant messages – and a technical summary (TS) – a more extended summary that includes technical information.

IPCC reports play a decisive role in how climate policy is defined, what issues are prioritized and what responses are made visible and promoted.[4] It is therefore crucial to understand what they say about Indigenous Peoples.

During 2021 and 2022, the three WGs released a set of reports constituting the sixth assessment cycle (AR6) of the IPCC. This chapter summarizes the content related to Indigenous Peoples in these reports, paying particular attention to Indigenous knowledge systems.[5] In the first section, we present the main messages that emerged from the IPCC findings set out in the reports. We then briefly analyse the scope and limitations of these references by taking a brief look at the structure and proceedings of the IPCC.

 

 

[1] Livingston, Jasmine. “Reports.” In A Critical Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by Kari De Pryck and Mike Hulme, 39-48. Cambridge University Press, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009082099.017

[2] Beck, Silke and Mahony, Martin. “The IPCC and the New Map of Science and Politics.” WIREs Climate Change 9, No. 6 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.547

[3] See https://www.ipcc.ch/

[4] Corbera, Esteve, Calvet-Mir, Laura, Hughes, Hannah, and Paterson, Mathew. “Patterns of Authorship in the IPCC Working Group III Report.” Nature Climate Change 6, No. 1 (2016): 94–99, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2782

[5] This chapter builds in part on findings and recommendations from two briefing papers: https://iwgia.org/en/resources/publications/4621-iwgia-briefing-analysing-recognition-contrubutions-indigenous-peoples-ipcc-report.html and https://www.iwgia.org/en/resources/publications/4845-iwgia-briefing-analysing-a-new-paradigm-of-climate-partnership-with-indigenous-peoples-ipcc-report.html

The Indigenous World 2023: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a global subsidiary body of the UN and one of the most authoritative actors in assessing climate change.[1], [2] It comprises three working groups (WG): WGI examines the physical science of the past, present, and future climate change; WGII assesses the vulnerability of socio-ecological systems, climate change consequences and adaptation options; and WGIII focuses on climate change mitigation.[3]

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

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Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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