Putting Human Rights at the Heart of Climate Change – Indigenous Peoples’ Perspectives

Organized by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP) and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) at the Bonn Climate Change Conference  

From L-R: Lakpa Nuri Sherpa Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP); Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Esupat David Songoi, Longido Community Development Organization, Tanzania; and Rodon Sulyandziga, Center for the Support of Indigenous Peoples of North Russia

Moderated by Lakpa Nuri Sherpa, AIPP, participants at this event considered the implications of climate change mitigation actions on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and discussed the importance of human rights language in the Paris agreement in order to avoid risks to Indigenous Peoples in climate change projects.

Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recalled the history of bringing human rights of Indigenous Peoples into the climate change process, noting the impact of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She drew attention to the negative effects of some climate actions on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, including displacement. She stressed that parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should consider the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in all climate change related actions.

Esupat David Songoi, Longido Community Development Organization, Tanzania, highlighted the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples through: policies that do not consider their wellbeing; clashes between farmers and pastoralists in her country; evictions from lands designated as protected areas; and investor-related threats. She also spoke on climate related challenges, including eviction from ancestral lands to pave way for the establishment of REDD+ Projects.

Rodon Sulyandziga, Center for the Support of Indigenous Peoples of North Russia, shared the Udege (Forest Peoples) perspective, noting their traditional lifestyle. He also shared key messages from the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change including the respect of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land, territories and resources; recognition of traditional knowledge and the role of Indigenous Peoples in adaptation and mitigation; and Indigenous Peoples’ role in community-based monitoring information systems.

In the discussion, participants raised questions on, among others, linking human rights to the right to food; the need for the Paris agreement to strengthen the human rights of Indigenous Peoples; engaging policymakers and activists in human rights issues related to climate change; and overcoming the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in the implementation of climate action.

View of the room during the side event

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