REJECT FALSE SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CRISIS ASSERT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION

At the onset of the Twentieth Conference of Parties (COP) of UN Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled from 1-12 December 2014 at Lima, Peru, Indigenous Peoples worldwide under the banner of the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) forward our concerns and expectations:

 

1)   The COP 20 of UNFCCC is at a crucial moment to end the climate crisis, brought about by the aggressive and ruthless plunder of multinational corporations and imperialist countries for profits and power.

 

2)   Indigenous Peoples worldwide are in the frontlines of the global climate crisis, with our lands and livelihood, cultures and identity, and survival as a people severely threatened.  Many Indigenous Peoples lost their lives and their lands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Glaciers are fast melting in the Arctic region, destroying the food source of Inuit and Sami peoples. Sea levels are rising in the Pacific region, increasing the salinity of their waters. Endemic species in North East India and in other places are fast disappearing due to the destruction of flora and fauna. These are but some of the harsh impacts of the global climate crisis.

 

3)      The COP sessions of the UNFCCC have become a stock market, with states outbidding each other for of the right to pollute through carbon emissions trading. However, these only further legitimized the pollution and destruction of big businesses in collusion with States and the consolidation of their global plunder of natural resources. The ongoing emphasis on private sector financing as emphasized in the UN Climate Summit of 23 September 2014 is a serious concern. Private sector involvement has already led to significant impacts to indigenous peoples and reinforced inequality, human rights abuse, and unaccountability worldwide.

 

4)      Market-based solutions to climate change such as carbon credit tradition mechanisms under the Clean Development Mechanism have already affected Indigenous Peoples. Construction of mega dams, oil exploration, drilling, mining, and plantation have led to displacement, environmental devastation, militarization and violation of their right to self-determination. Recent examples are the Barro Blanco Dam in Panama, 1200 MW Teesta III and 105 MW Loktak Project in North East India. The insistence on renewable energies in COP negotiations, without distinguishing development initiatives with potential adverse implications to communities worldwide, such as pursuance of mega dams will only deepen climate crisis.  Meanwhile, the climate smart agriculture and REDD+ proposed as in the upcoming COP global climate negotiations will further accentuate land alienation, food insecurity among indigenous communities and further corporatization of their land and agricultural practices.    

 

5)      The pursuance of such false solutions and large-scale carbon offsetting projects constitutes a violation of the right to Self-Determined Development, outlined in Article 3 and 32 of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), on recognition of Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination and to take their free, prior and informed consent. There is a clear misinformation and withholding of information in the pursuance of such carbon offsetting projects and the non-recognition of indigenous communities’ collective rights over their land.

 

 6)      The violation of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination is dominant in the development discourse and false solutions to climate crisis pursued in their land and territories. Indigenous Peoples face violation of their collective rights, oppression by states, and plunder of their land by multinational corporations.

 

7)      The root cause of the climate crisis is the neoliberal global capitalist system, which puts profits before people and the planet, while expropriating resources in all frontiers of the Earth to sustain the overproduction of their industries, causing widespread dispossession and pauperization of Indigenous Peoples.

 

8)      It is a matter of concern that the parties reduce the global climate negotiations to another unfulfilled and politically charged financial pledges and commitments. Commitments made at Cancun, Copenhagen, Durban climate talks for climate financing and response to reverse climate crisis still have yet to be fulfilled. The pledge for $100 billion dollars annually by the year 2020, made in COP in Cancun remain ambiguous and with no real commitments. The financial commitments made at Copenhagen COP remain uncertain as well.         

 

9)      Real reductions need to take place and as quickly as possible to mitigate climate change. Any scheme that delays such action increases the risk of dangerous climate crisis.  Reductions need to take place both in developed and in developing countries.

 

10)  The call for system change towards a just and transformative agenda is urgently required to reverse climate change. Changing the pattern of global consumption and production, which dominates the business modus operandi, should remain at the heart of the negotiations. The enabling environment created for private parties while constricting spaces for Indigenous Peoples and other local communities and transgressing human rights mechanisms in climate crisis response need to be curtailed.

 

11)  IPMSDL calls for the scrapping of all market-based solutions to climate change such as nuclear energy, large-scale dams, geo-engineering techniques, “clean coal”, agro-fuels, plantations, and market based mechanisms such as carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and forest offsets in light of their questionable relevance and viability to address climate concerns. States should abandon false solutions to climate change such as the above that negatively affect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, lands, air, oceans, forests, territories and waters.

 

12)  The upcoming climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru and similar official processes should accord due sensitivity and provision to ensure the recognition of Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination and right to participation. States should ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in formulating, implementing, and monitoring activities, mitigation, and adaptation especially when these that directly affect their future and right to land, water, forest and resources as outlined in the UNDRIP.

 

13)  All Parties to the UNFCCC should recognize the importance of Indigenous Peoples traditional knowledge and practices in developing strategies to address climate change. These continue to demonstrate viable alternatives to the profit-driven development paradigm and solutions to the climate crisis such as sustainable traditional knowledge and practices like diversified agriculture, biodiversity conservation, seed-keeping, simple living, community-based adaptation, mitigation and disaster response.

 

14)  The IPMSDL believes that addressing the climate crisis and its disastrous impacts lies in the hands of peoples and communities actively asserting their rights even as we recognize the need to debate, negotiate and dialogue with states and corporations guided by the principles of respect for human rights, equity, justice, democracy, sustainability and self-determination.