Indigenous Peoples' Climate Change Portal

Follow tebtebba on Twitter

Indigenous Peoples’ Ambitions for Cancun


Webcast now available!! Click here to view the webcast.

2 December 2010 (Cancun, Mexico) - More than 500 indigenous persons from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Arctic and North America are present in Cancun to ensure that their concerns are taken on board by the 16th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC.  Among these are the members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Network on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (IPCCSD) and the Tebtebba Partners on Forests and Climate Change. We are working to ensure that the following are realized in Cancun:

  • language in the Preambular Section of the AWG-LCA text which affirms the importance of respecting human rights, including indigenous peoples’ rights, as contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • language in the Shared Vision Text which reiterates that full respect for
  • human rights consistent with International Human Rights instruments, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
  • retention of the paragraphs on social, economic, environmental and governance safeguards in the REDD Plus Text in Document FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/14 (pages. 56-58), in particular, the recognition of the relevance of the UNDRIP, their full and effective engagement in REDD Plus processes and the need to integrate their traditional knowledge systems and practices on the sustainable management of forests.
  • retention of the reference to the rights of indigenous peoples in the section on Cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions. (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/CRP.1)
  • establishment of a mechanism such as the Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Group to provide inputs into the discussions, dialogues and decisions of the UNFCCC. (Xcaret Resolution, Quintana Roo, 27-29 November 2010)
  • Language which allows for the direct access of indigenous peoples to Climate Change Finance especially funds for adaptation and for REDD Plus,  appropriate technologies and technical assistance.
  • Ensuring that gender and inter-generational balance and considerations are included in all the decisions reached.


Climate change continues to drastically impact indigenous peoples. They suffer from loss of their lands and livelihoods, food, water and energy insecurity, loss of lives, increased health risks, loss of traditional knowledge and identity, increased violence, conflict over resources, migration and displacement, and further marginalization.

In the “Global Conference on Indigenous Women, Climate Change and REDD Plus” held recently in Metro Manila, Philippines from 18-19 November 2010, eighty indigenous women participants representing 28 countries from Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Pacific and North America discussed the present climate crisis and how indigenous women are disproportionately affected.

There were indigenous women from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville who talked about those who live in the Carteret Island who have been relocated in other parts of Bougainville. This island has sunk because of sea level rise and saltwater has intruded into the little remaining land. However, there are still many problems not resolved, such as whether these relocation sites are permanent. As a result, the burden to sustain their families have increased considerably. In the Philippines, indigenous women are highly critical of the inability of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to implement properly free, prior and informed consent, which is part of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act. The melting of glaciers in the  high montane areas in Asia and Latin America, massive droughts in Africa and Asia, intrusion of saltwater into coastal islands have tremendously  increased the risk of  water and food insecurity making indigenous women’s burdens to produce food and provide water more difficult.

Pastoralists from Africa, the Arctic, Mongolia and other parts of Asia are suffering from the substantial loss of their herds (cattle, reindeer, yak,etc.) causing impoverishment. Hunters and gatherers and other forest dependent indigenous peoples are facing the risk of being displaced from their forests if REDD Plus is not designed to respect their rights and traditional management of tropical forests.

The rise of temperature in the Arctic and the extreme weather events are now leading to the melting of the permafrost which releases methane adding to higher greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has also caused massive land slides such as what happened in Shismaref, Alaska, displacing a whole community of Inuit peoples.

It is crucial that indigenous peoples’ demands are realized in the climate negotiations in Cancun and beyond. Indigenous peoples did not cause climate change. Their low-carbon lifeways, traditional knowledge and practices, protection and sustainable use of their forests and resources present alternative solutions to the current climate crisis.


*About the organizers:

Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) is a global indigenous organization based in the Philippines, working for the recognition, respect and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights. It partners with indigenous organizations in building capacities of indigenous organizations and communities to effectively influence policies and programmes on climate change in global, national and local levels.

The IPCCSD is a global network of indigenous organizations coming from Latin America, Asia, Pacific, Arctic that have on-the-ground work related to climate change and climate-sensitive development. It works to ensure that the local initiatives, perspectives and demands of indigenous peoples and communities are surfaced and given priority in various arenas such as the UNFCCC and in regional and national spaces such as in national bodies on climate change and REDD+, among others.

Contacts: Vicky Tauli-Corpuz : vicky[AHT], Raymond de Chavez: raymond[AHT] Phone : +639175317811