Representatives of the Indigenous Peoples present at the 7th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Morocco in November this year, issued a declaration demanding recognition of their rights and warning on the danger of the so-called “carbon sinks.” The following paragraphs are part of this declaration, available in Spanish on our web page (http://www.wrm.org.uy/actores/CCC/IPMarrakesh.html).
We, the Indigenous Peoples, represent approximately 350 million people all over the world. For our Indigenous Peoples, living in the most fragile and vulnerable ecosystems of the world, Mother Earth is sacred and should be honoured, protected and loved. This special relationship enables us to conserve biological diversity for the life of present and future generations. Our territories and the natural and spiritual resources they contain, are the basis of our physical and cultural existence; it is on our territories that we establish our sacred relationship with Mother Earth.”
“In spite of being the guardians of Mother Earth, in practice we are denied our right to recover, manage and develop our territories and our natural resources. Our right to conserve, recreate, project and transmit our entire cultural heritage to future generations is also prevented, limited and/or restricted, constituting a serious violation of our right to exist as peoples.
“The inclusion of sinks in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a dangerous tool for the expropriation of our lands and territories, culminating in a new form of colonialism. No development mechanism can be clean, from our point of view, if it does not guarantee the rights of the Indigenous Peoples, including the indigenous and local communities' right to prior and informed free consent and to respect for our cultures, practices, science and knowledge.”
The representatives of the Indigenous Peoples ended their declaration stating that “in order to remedy this situation, we need an adequate forum and statute in the UNFCCC organisational chart. Considering what is set out here and what we have set out and proposed at previous COPs, on behalf of our peoples and communities, we request COP 7:
a) To recognise the particularities and specificity of the Indigenous Peoples regarding climate change and to give the Indigenous Peoples a special statute;
b) To set up an open, inter-sessional ad-hoc Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and climate change, with the objective of studying and proposing timely, effective, and suitable solutions to respond to the urgent situations caused by climate change, affecting and facing the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. Such a working group would provide an adequate space for the necessary full and effective participation of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in UNFCCC discussions, debates and programmes; it would also be a suitable forum to channel contributions by our peoples and communities for the mitigation of the effects of climate change and to exchange points of view and experience with the Parties to the Convention.
c) To decide to include, in the UNFCCC report for the Conference on Environment and Development (Rio + 10) requested by the United Nations General Assembly (Decision A/55/199), the situation of the Indigenous Peoples as a priority criteria for the assessment of the achievements of sustainable development, taking due account of Agenda 21 and specifically, Chapters 26 and 20 on the participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities respectively.
d) To decide to include on the agendas of COPs and meetings of the subsidiary bodies, an item on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and Climate Change.”