Indigenous Peoples' Climate Change Portal

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IP Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

December 12, 2009


The Indigenous Day is an opportunity to take stock of what indigenous peoples have achieved in advocating for their rights the Climate Change negotiations and to define the next steps on how to integrate their concerns into the agreements reached in Copenhagen and beyond.

Indigenous Day is organised with the financial support of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Christensen Fund, and the National Museum of Denmark


Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change

Indigenous peoples depend on natural resources for their livelihood and they often inhabit diverse but fragile ecosystems. At the same time indigenous peoples are among the world’s most marginalized, impoverished and vulnerable peoples. While having hardly contributed anything to the cause of global warming, they are among the most heavily affected.

For many indigenous peoples, climate change is already a reality. Melting ice sheets in the Arctic makes hunting sea mammals and fishing difficult and risky, erratic rainfalls reduce productivity of fields and pastures, storms and floods destroy crops and homes, drought kills livestock, etc.

While indigenous peoples’ diverse and resilient livelihood systems have enabled them to survive in often harsh and forbidding environments, the speed by which the climate is changing is putting to the test the abilities of indigenous communities to adapt. Climate change however not only puts indigenous livelihood systems under stress, it also undermines indigenous human rights. For long it has been overlooked that climate change and the mitigation and adaptation schemes devised by governments and international organisations are often directly violating the rights of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the potentially invaluable contributions of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, innovations and practices in the global search for viable solutions for the many problems caused by climate change.

Indigenous demands to the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen

Indigenous peoples around the world are directly and critically impacted by any outcomes of the current negotiations. It is a matter of life and death for indigenous peoples that any agreement on climate change must ensure the legal recognition of their human rights and the protection of their traditional knowledge.

Some of the central demands of indigenous peoples to a Copenhagen agreement are:

  • Recognition that international human rights standards serve as a guide to tackle climate change, underscoring the fundamental, moral and legal obligations to protect and promote the full enjoyment of indigenous peoples’ human rights including our rights to lands, territories and resources, right to subsistence, food sovereignty, right of traditional knowledge and free, prior and informed consent, among others, as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all climate change related processes at the global, national and local levels.
  • Ensure the direct financing to and by indigenous peoples and local communities for adaptation and mitigation measures.
  • Establishment of an Expert Group on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change under the Conference of Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC, and under the Meeting of Parties (MOP) of the Kyoto Protocol, with indigenous expert members and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples.


If you want to learn more please visit and or participate in the Indigenous Day at the National Museum on the 12th of December, which has been organized by Tebtebba and IWGIA in cooperation with the IIPFCC.



Presentations and panel debates (10-17)

  • Human Rights and the UNFCCC
  • Indigenous peoples, Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Change
  • Climate Change, Traditional knowledge and Western Science: Convergences and Tensions
  • Local adaptation and mitigation strategies and actions
  • Closing Panel: Indigenous peoples’ demands for the Copenhagen Agreement


Reception and Launch of Conversation with the Earth Films (17-18.30)

  • Reception with a short cultural programme of indigenous performances


Films (18.30-20.30)

  • Screening of documentary films from various settings in the Indigenous World


Venue: National Museum of Denmark, Frederiksholms Kanal 12, 1220 København K