Indigenous Peoples Increasingly Engaging in Climate Action
UN Climate Change News, 9 August 2021 – The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrated today is a timely reminder of indigenous peoples’ crucial contribution to combating climate change and its impacts.
Living in harmony with nature, indigenous peoples help safeguard 80% of the world’s biodiversity and hold many of the solutions to the climate crisis, despite constituting less than 5% of the global population.
“Indigenous peoples must be part of the solution to climate change. This is because they have the traditional knowledge of their ancestors. The important value of that knowledge simply cannot — and must not — be understated,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.
Respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and enhancing their participation in climate policy is critical to achieving the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and fostering climate resilience.
This was recognized with the establishment of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) in 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, thereby giving indigenous peoples a voice alongside governments and enabling them to participate more effectively in the United Nations climate process.
“Meaningful engagement of indigenous peoples to meet the Paris Agreement goals means making decisions together – we must be equal partners in the development of national and international climate policy,” said Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Co-Chair of the LCIPP Facilitative Working Group.
Indigenous participation in national climate policy showcased at recent event
The LCIPP held an event on indigenous participation in national climate policy worldwide at the May-June UN Climate Change Conference. One of the examples showcased came from the African region, where indigenous peoples in Chad, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger were brought to the table to work with governments in developing key climate policy documents such as countries’ national climate action pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).
This was facilitated by the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) – the largest indigenous peoples’ organization in the world, comprising a network of 135 indigenous peoples’ organizations in 21 African countries.
A further example shared at the event involved the indigenous Sámi people of Northern Lapland. The Sámi Parliament worked with the Finnish government to strengthen protection of the Sámi people’s rights within Finland’s Climate Change Act and also cooperated on Finland’s mid-term Climate Action Plan.
The LCIPP will publish a summary document compiling best practices showcased during the event. This publication will help build momentum on enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in climate action ahead of the crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow.
Date: 9 August 2021