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TYPHOON HAIYAN AND EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS: How Indigenous Peoples are Coping with Disasters

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Side event of Tebtebba and Indigenous Peoples' Partnership on Climate Change & Forests at COP 19, 13 Nov 2013 at Warsaw, Poland.

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Analysis of the Current State of COP18 Negotiations and Indigenous Peoples' Demands on the Green Climate Fund

Interview! Climate Change Studio
Recognizing and incorporating indigenous peoples' demands in the climate change negotiations, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

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Indigenous peoples call for recognition of rights at the Green Climate Fund PDF Print


6 September 2016 - As the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is being pressured to approve more projects and targets disbursing US$2.6 billion by end of 2016, indigenous peoples’ issues are being left out.

In its 13th meeting of the GCF Board in Songdo, South Korea on June 28-30, 2016, indigenous peoples expressed their concern that the GCF is out of sync with the emerging international good practice and transformational approaches.

This is with respect to recognition, promotion and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights within the context of climate change interventions.

“We want to express that we are concerned about how the Fund is seemingly intentional in its silence about indigenous peoples’ issues,” Kimaren Ole Riamit, a Maasai and head of ILEPA (Indigenous Livelihood Enhancement Partners) from Kenya said during the civil society preparatory meeting.

ILEPA is a partner of Tebtebba advocating for indigenous peoples’ rights and issues as part of the Indigenous Peoples’ Advocacy Team on the GCF and Climate Finance.

He expressed this in light of the absence of any reference to indigenous peoples in the draft decisions or other documents that the board was set to talk about in the board meeting.

He added that despite the numerous efforts of the indigenous peoples to reach out to the board, their calls seem to fall on deaf ears.

In a letter submitted to the GCF supported by 36 indigenous peoples’ organizations, NGOs and CSO support groups and network, indigenous peoples urgently called for the Fund to set up an Indigenous Peoples’ Policy.

The letter further expressed that “such a step would be required in order to position the Fund in the highest level of environmental, social and human rights standards as regards climate finance, while enabling the Fund to deliver high quality and high impact results.”

In line with this, indigenous peoples also called for acknowledgment of the GCF on the positive contributions of their traditional knowledge to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

They referred to the Paris Agreement that explicitly refers to the need to ensure the respect of the rights of indigenous peoples in any climate change-related activity and which acknowledges the potential contribution and the need to strengthen indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge.

When asked about how the Fund intends to engage and recognize indigenous peoples, GCF co-chair Zaheer Fakir said that the absence of an indigenous peoples’ policy does not preclude indigenous peoples to participate.

“You are welcome anytime to submit your proposals as the Fund is open to hear from you,” he added.

However, indigenous peoples find it hard to meaningfully engage at the Fund level as they are not recognized as a separate constituency. Thus, their concerns are lumped under the recognized constituencies of civil society organizations (CSOs).

In the next board meeting in Ecuador this October, the board is set to talk about environmental and social safeguards (ESS) of the Fund.

According to Francesco Martone, advisor to the indigenous peoples’ advocacy team, safeguards is a crucial issue for indigenous peoples.

“Here, we want to see that indigenous peoples’ customary rights to their land, right to free, prior and informed consent, and participation are highlighted,” he said.

Despite challenges in engaging with the Fund, indigenous peoples are still hopeful that their calls to the GCF will be heeded. The indigenous peoples’ team believes that while the GCF presents opportunities for indigenous peoples, this also poses some pitfalls and dangers—if not established well.

The GCF is created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a financial operating entity to disburse funds for low emission and climate resilient project and programs developed by the public and private sectors. Established in Cancun, Mexico in 2010 during the climate change conference, the Fund aims to promote a paradigm shift by funding both mitigation and adaptation projects to contribute to sustainable development of developing countries. (Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service - Helen Biangalen-Magata)


Download article in pdf.

Indigenous Peoples' Submission on the Review of Observers' Participation to the GCF PDF Print
Saturday, 27 August 2016 09:52



Indigenous Peoples welcome the opportunity provided by the request for inputs on the review of Observer Participation with a view to identifying existing gaps and needed improvements, related to observer participation, accreditation of observer organizations and participation of active observers in activities and meetings of the board and to ultimately present a report with recommendations on the outcomes of the review for consideration by the Board no later than its fifteenth meeting[1] as mandated in decision B.01-13/03.

While we are fully aware that the objective of the review is less about expanding the range of active observers (by constituency or otherwise), than its enhancing the participation of current active observer, we still wish to convey our views to the Board and Secretariat. We believe that the lack of recognition of Indigenous Peoples as active observers in the Green Climate Fund is an anomaly, especially given our potential contribution to climate change adaptation and mitigation through our indigenous knowledge systems and traditional occupations with low carbon foot prints, and vulnerability to both direct negative impacts of climate change and unsafeguarded response measures.

The Paris Agreement Side Event PDF Print
Wednesday, 18 May 2016 17:35
COP21 Statement of the UN Special Rapporteur PDF Print


Removing Rights for Indigenous Peoples places Forests, Climate Plan at Risk

By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


The outcome of a fierce debate in play during negotiations in Paris today will determine whether the world succeeds in slowing the climate change that places all humanity at risk.

I appreciate the inclusion of Preambular Paragraph 10 which  emphasizes “… the importance of promoting, protecting and respecting all human rights, the right to development, the right to health, and the rights of indigenous peoples…when taking action to address climate change” of Annex 1 of the Draft Paris Agreement. I also note the reference to human right in Article 2.2. in the same document. This says that the Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science, and in accordance with the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities…  and on the basis of respect for human rights…”

However, I regret that the earlier text which says “including rights of indigenous peoples…” was removed.  I strongly believe that having a reference to indigenous peoples’ rights in this section is very important because it lays down the basic principles which should guide the achievement of the purposes of the Agreement. It is very unfortunate that countries known for promoting human rights and advancing democratic ideals globally—are reportedly leading a block of nations that would remove from the negotiating text language that commits countries to respect human rights, including those of indigenous peoples in the implementation of plans for addressing climate change. I appeal to these countries to heed the cry of indigenous peoples and other civil society organizations to return the references to Indigenous peoples rights.

I also note that Article 4, paragraph 5 refers to indigenous peoples’ knowledge in adaptation. and there is a reference to human rights, although this is in brackets. The Draft COP Decision, Article 30 in the section “Decisions to Give Effect to the Agreement” states that the CMA shall consider development of principles and guidelines which ” (b) Respect customary and sustainable land-use systems and the security of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ land tenure.”  Article 39 under the same section says the Agreement should  (c) Involve and facilitate the participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular women[, local communities] and indigenous peoples, in planning, decision-making and monitoring and evaluation…”

I am strongly appealing to the State Parties to unbracket the references mentioned above and put back the phrase “rights of indigenous peoples” in Article 2.2.

Failure to protect indigenous peoples’ rights in a final agreement will fuel destruction of the forests and other ecosystems managed since time immemorial by indigenous peoples. This will weaken the contributions of indigenous peoples to the solutions to climate change. A new study released this week at the COP21 by a collaboration of indigenous peoples’ groups from Africa, Latin America and Asia, and the Woods Hole Research Center reports that forests on indigenous territories store at least 20 percent of the carbon in tropical forests worldwide. The authors acknowledge that this estimate is conservative. Other studies over the last year have shown that indigenous peoples outperform every other owner, public or private entities on forest conservation.

Should human rights for indigenous peoples be struck from the final agreement, negotiators will have destroyed any pretense of their intention to mitigate climate change. If our rights are violated, we will be unable to protect the forests. This is the direct link between human rights and climate change.


COP21 Side Event Invitation PDF Print

Tebtebba and CHIRAPAQ invite you to a side event, in coordination with the Indigenous Peoples' Gobal Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development:

Strengthening Indigenous Peoples' Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies & Food Security through Direct Access to the Green Climate Fund

TUESDAY, 01 December
15:00 - 16:30 hrs
Observer Room 02

Panel Speakers:

  • Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Ms. Tarcila Rivera Zea, Center for Indigenous Cultures of Peru (CHIRAPAQ), Peru
  • Mr. Kimaren Ole Riamit, Indigenous Livelihood Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), Kenya
  • Ms. Vu Thi Hien, Center of Research and Development in Upland Areas (CERDA), Vietnam
  • Ms. Jo Ann Guillao, Tebtebba
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