Indigenous Peoples enaged in UN climate talks in Poland

This was originally posted by Brenda Norell at

Indigenous Peoples enaged in UN climate talks in Poland

International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change

Indigenous Peoples Fight for Participation in Global Climate Talks Encouraged by limited progress achieved, support of some parties

Poznan, Poland – After years of lobbying, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) are moving towards the establishment of an Expert Group on Indigenous Peoples within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a small but growing number of Party Delegations have expressed interest in developing the recommendation in support and solidarity with the 350 million Indigenous Peoples throughout the world.
“While we are very happy that governments are seemingly supportive of our rights, we are dismayed at the slow progress of adopting a mechanism that ensures our participation at the UNFCCC,” said Pashuram Tamang, chairperson of IIPFCC. “This is especially in view of the developments related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).”
The issue of REDD remains problematic for Indigenous Peoples. While some governments have expressed support to the idea of recognizing indigenous rights as part of the preconditions prior to the implementation of REDD, many of the Indigenous Peoples’ delegates remain adamant in saying that “life is not for sale” and reject outright market-based mechanisms as ways to resolve the climate change problem.
More specifically, Indigenous Peoples see the current lack of a formal consultative process for Indigenous Peoples within the climate change negotiations as evidence that REDD will be contrary to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN-DRIP), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly (GA) in 2007.
“We are especially amazed that these Parties who now do not want us to participate in the UNFCCC are the same Parties that have adopted a document that clearly recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Adam Kulet Ole Mwarabu, a delegate from Tanzania.
Until the rights of Indigenous Peoples are guaranteed, IIPFCC has also called for the suspension of REDD and redd projects.
Indigenous delegates are going to use the remaining days to lobby for the draft decision calling for the establishment of the expert group.

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) is composed of 75 delegates from indigenous nations and communities from different regions. It was established in 2000 in Lyon, France to provide a platform for indigenous peoples to share knowledge, discuss issues and contributing the indigenous voice to global discussions on climate change.
For more information, please contact IIPFCC Secretary Ben Powless ( / +48 798012282)


International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change statement

This was originally posted by Brenda Norell at

International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change statement

Statement of the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC) to the 29th Session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), during the 14th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
December 1, 2008
The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), representing IPs from different parts of the world met from 27–29 November 2008 here in Poznan, Poland, to prepare for the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

We, the Indigenous Peoples have suffered the worst impacts of climate change without having contributed to its creation.

We must not be placed in the position of suffering from mitigation strategies which we believe have offered false solutions to the problem at hand. And even worse, many of the mitigation and adaptation schemes being discussed in UNFCCC and related processes threaten our rights and our very existence.

Mitigation projects, including REDD and CDM, implemented by Parties and private sector are carried out without the free prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples there by affecting our livelihoods and violating our human rights.

These projects are encroaching on areas of lands sacred to us, and producing the forced eviction of many of our brothers and sisters from their ancestral territories.

Furthermore, proposed ‘scientific’ mitigation and adaptation solutions, methodologies and technologies being discussed here and elsewhere do not reflect Indigenous Peoples’ cosmovision and our ancestral knowledge.

So-called ‘consultations’ with us, often only take the form of simply informing our communities. Consultations should not be limited to specific communities and organizations but should involve all affected and involved indigenous peoples, including our representative organizations.

We the Indigenous Peoples demand full participation in the implementation of all areas of work concerning Climate Change and Forests.
We put the following recommendations forward:
• To ensure a rights-based approach in the design and implementation of climate change policies, programmes and projects. In particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be recognized, implemented and mainstreamed in all of the Convention activities;
• To ensure the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent in line with internationally recognized standards of good governance;
• To develop methodologies and tools for impacts and vulnerability assessments in consultation with indigenous peoples;
• To recognize and use traditional knowledge and integrating it with scientific knowledge in assessing impacts and coming up with adaptations;
• To ensure the proper capacity building of indigenous peoples in technologies for adaptation;
• To immediately suspend all REDD initiatives in Indigenous territories until Indigenous Peoples’ rights are fully recognized and promoted;
• To include indigenous peoples’ experts in the implementation of phase II of Nairobi Programme of Work;
• To set up a disaster reduction strategies and means to address loss and damage associated with climate change mitigation projects and policies, impacts in indigenous peoples territories;

Thank you.
Note: The International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC) is the Indigenous Peoples Caucus convened during the UNFCCC COP14. The Caucus represents Indigenous participants from the North and South.


Indigenous Peoples Challenge Harper’s Canada

Indigenous Peoples Challenge Harper’s Canada

National Gathering of Indigenous Peoples Challenge Harper Government in Winnipeg

By Defenders of the Land
Photos by Ben Powless
Censored News

WINNIPEG — Grassroots activists, elders, and elected leaders from First Nations fighting for self-determination and protection of land and resource rights presented a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Conservative Party’s national policy conference in Winnipeg today. The Indigenous spokespeople have come to Winnipeg from communities across Canada to form a network dedicated to fighting for recognition of and respect for Indigenous rights, and deliver their message to Prime Minister Harper.”Canada, along with the United States and New Zealand, is one of three countries that have voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We call on Canada to join the vast majority of nations who have adopted this declaration,” said Art Manuel, of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade. Read article:
Photo Milton Bornwithatooth negotiates with RCMP security guard to deliver the letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo by Ben Powless.

Kapaeeng Watch News Release on situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kapaeeng Watch News Release on situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh: 29 October 2008

‘Punish rapists of indigenous women’

The Daily Star, 14 October 2008

Hundreds of indigenous people from Kalmakanda and Durgapur upazilas in Netrakona district yesterday formed a human chain in front of the office of Kalmakanda upazila nirbahi officer demanding punishment of two persons for raping indigenous women.

Two cases were filed with Kalmakanda Police Station on September 20 and October 11 against Jamal Mia of Baluchara village and Amir Hamza of Jigatola village for raping two indigenous women on September 19 and October 10, said police and indigenous leaders.

After the human chain organised by local NGO Sarbik Manab Unnayan Sangathan, indigenous leaders submitted a memorandum to Kalmakanda UNO. Police failed to arrest the accused of the two cases although they are seen moving in the area, said the memorandum to UNO.

Indiscriminate felling of trees at Khashia Punji protested

The Daily Star, 24 October 2008

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum (BAF) yesterday formed a human chain at TSC intersection on the Dhaka University campus protesting the indiscriminate cutting down of trees at Khashia Punji in Moulvibazar.

Bapa President Prof Muzaffer Ahmed said wholesale cutting down of trees at Khashia Punji not only poses a threat to the environment, but also it is an issue of justice. The environment, biodiversity and livelihood of the local indigenous people are facing threats due to such type of whimsical act of the government, he added. Prof Ahmed said the government decision would put questions to the future national plan to face the impacts of climate change. At the programme, he called on the government to be careful not to take such decision immediately.

The speakers said a huge number of trees have already been cut down as part of chopping down 4,000 trees in Khashia Pan Punji at Nahar Tea Garden at Srimangal and process of felling down more trees underway. They placed a five-point demand, including immediate halt to cutting down of trees and their sale and stop taking tax from the local indigenous people. The speakers said though only 864.58 acres of land is registered with the tea garden, it is using more than 1200 acres of land.

Though the news of corruption by the local official of forest departments is published in the media, they are still cutting down trees indiscriminately, they added.

Macklem on Recognition of Indigenous Peoples

Macklem on Recognition of Indigenous Peoples

Patrick Macklem (University of Toronto – Faculty of Law) has posted Indigenous Recognition in International Law: Theoretical Observations (Michigan International Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2008) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Drawing on a classic essay by Hans Kelsen, this Article addresses the status of indigenous peoples in international law. It argues that the criteria for determining the legal existence of indigenous peoples in international law are a function of the nature and purpose of international indigenous rights. The twentieth century legal history of international indigenous rights, from their origins in international protection of indigenous workers in colonies to their contemporary expression in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, demonstrates that their purpose is to mitigate injustices produced by how the international legal order treats sovereignty as a legal entitlement that it distributes among collectivities it recognizes as states. The criteria by which indigenous peoples can be said to exist in international law relate to their historic exclusion from the distribution of sovereignty initiated by colonization that lies at the heart of the international legal order.