International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change Statement to the State Parties of the COP 11/MOP 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Tiohtiá:ke, Kanien''kehá:ka (Mohawk) Traditional Territory, Canada
28 November - December 9, 2005
We the representatives of Indigenous Peoples have traveled from the four directions of our sacred Mother Earth to participate in the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) and 1st Session of the Meetings of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
We would like to recognize the work and support given to us by the late and distinguished Ms. Joke Weller-Hunter, who helped advance our participation as Indigenous Peoples in this important process.
We are here to present our voices to the Parties of the Conference on matters that concern our special knowledge and relationship with Mother Earth, as well as the survival of our communities and of the world. Our knowledge and relationship are sacred and must be honoured and protected. It is essential that the contributions of our age-old Indigenous Knowledge Systems to the greater body of climate sciences are respected and given equal recognition.
We reaffirm our inherent rights over our territories, lands and resouces. Our cosmovision strongly binds biological diversity, cultural and spiritual identity and unites our peoples with our ancestral territories. This is the fundamental basis for our existence, health and livelihoods which are being disproportionately threatened and destroyed by climate change and its consequences. Indigneous Peoples require a human rights based approach in addressing climate change.
It is imperative that formal and permanent mechanisms are established to ensure the meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples. We have consistently emphasized the need to be given a space for full, direct and active participation within the official discussions of the UNFCCC meetings.
The modalities and procedures for activities under the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) do not respect and guarantee our right to lands, territories, and self-determination. CDM and Sinks projects do not contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.
The burning of oil, gas, and coal, as fossil fuels, is the primary source of human-induced climate change. Indigenous Peoples have experienced systematic and repeated violations by oil, gas, mining and energy industries infringing on our inherent right to protect our traditional lands.
We reaffirm previous Indigenous climate declarations. We also reaffirm the international provisions already acknowledged in other international instruments and mechanisms that ensure our participation and contribution within the discussions.
During the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004), the United Nations has clearly recognized our rights to participate in the UN processes through the establishment of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). We remind the Parties to the Conference that the "the vital role of Indigenous Peoples in sustainable development" was affirmed by the political declaration of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 2002 in paragraph 25.
We call upon the members of the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) and the 1st Session of the Meetings of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the following:
- Provide the necessary support to Indigenous Peoples from developing and developed countries for our full and effective participation in all levels of discussion, decision-making and implementation, and ensure that the necessary funding be provided to guarantee such participation and strengthen our capacities.
- Include ‘Indigenous Peoples and climate change’ as a permanent item in the agenda of the COP/MOP, and of the Subsidiary Bodies meetings with specific reference to issues including disparities and vulnerability of impact, mitigation, adaptation, poverty, social and cultural impact, and other climate change related issues.
- Establish in-session workshops, including Indigenous experts meetings, in the five years action program of the SBSTA that facilitates the discussion of the effects of climate change on Indigenous Peoples. This workshop will discuss themes such as: specific impacts on fragile and vulnerable ecosystems, the interconnection between climate change and poverty, short and long term effects of the CDM, knowledge and traditional practices such as: weather forecasting capacity, participation in the evaluations of the impacts, adaptation mechanisms, mutual learning about climate change and sustainable development.
- Include Indigenous Peoples as a permanent item in the agenda of the Meetings of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP) with specific reference to disparities, successes and impact in the implementation of modalities, procedures and mechanisms for evaluation and assessment of the Kyoto Protocol and its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) initiatives. Indigenous experts should be consistently involved in the monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment of all interventions in or affecting Indigenous territories.
- All development projects within Indigenous ancestral territories must respect our fundamental rights to lands, waters, territories, self-determination and ensure our right to our free, prior and informed consent.
- Establish a process that works towards the full phase-out of fossil fuels, with a just transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment. We are against the expansion of and new exploration for the extraction of oil, natural gas and coal within and near Indigenous lands, especially in pristine and sensitive areas, as well as environmentally, socially, culturally, historically and spiritually significant areas. We demand that extractive industries adhere to the Akwe:kon voluntary guidelines adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Support the creation and adequate financing of the Adaptation Fund to be accessed by Indigenous Peoples to address the potential and actual impacts of climate change in a manner compatible with our Traditional Knowledge Systems, customs, culture, lifestyles and aspirations.
- Include Indigenous Peoples in UNFCCC capacity building initiatives and propose that special capacity building be undertaken for Indigenous Peoples. Such capacity building should strengthen our participation in climate change negotiations.
- Implement Climate Impact Assessments which take into account Indigenous Knowledge Systems, culture, social values, spirituality and ecosystems; as well as the full and equal participation of Indigenous Peoples in all aspects and stages of the assessment.
Recognizing all of the above, we call upon the Parties to the UNFCCC to recognize that through the protection and promotion of Indigenous Peoples rights and through recognizing and integrating our dynamic and holistic visions, we are securing not only our future, but the future of humanity and social and environmental justice for all.
We once again remind you that one is only as healthy as the air we breathe, the water that we quench our thirst with each day, and the earth in which we plant our seeds to have the various products of sustenance for the duration of our journey here on Mother Earth.
Mr. Parshuram Tamang, International Alliance Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest
Mr. Marcial Arias, Fundacion para la Promocion del Conocimiento Indigena - Panama
Mr. Ian Aujare, Zazao Environmental Righs Organizations - Solomon Island
Mr. Johnson Cerda, Asociacion Indigena de Limoncocha - Ecuador
Mr. Crescencio Resendiz Hernandez, International Alliance Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest
Mr. Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
Mr. Serge Ashini Goupil, Sustainable Development Institute Assembly of First Nations Quebec and Labrador
Mr. Clayton Thomas-Muller, Native Energy Campaign, Indigenous Environmental Network
Ms Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Youth of the Climate Justice Corps
Ms. Heather Milton-Lightning, Youth Network, Indigenous Environmental Network
Ms. Anna Pinto, Centre for Organisation Research and Education
Ms. Konwaiatanonwes Lynn Jacobs, Kahnawake Environment Protection Office
For those who would like to sign on, please send your full name and organization to
* Tiohtiá:ke is the Mohawk word for the area called Montreal