Indigenous Groups Announce Grave Concern on Possible Cancun Outcome

The International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change will be hosting a press conference at 15:00 (CET) in the Moon Palace, Azteca Building, Luna Room. Webcast available online:

December 10, 2010 (Cancun) – As the 16th UN Climate Change Conference winds down, Indigenous Peoples in attendance from around the world announced their grave concern with the possible outcomes of the negotiations.

“As Indigenous Peoples, we have been engaging in the climate negotiations for many years to express our great concern over the current and future impacts of changes in the climate on our peoples, our cultures and our rights. We are continuously saddened at the lack of political will and good faith to truly and effectively combat climate change with a legally binding agreement of states, which includes a second commitment-period of the Kyoto Protocol,” stated Joan Carling of the Philippines, on behalf of the IIPFCC.

“As members of the IIPFCC, we’ve come here to offer a number of proposals, but we feel as if we have been ignored. Today, on the International Day of Human Rights, we want to reiterate our determination to ensure protection of our rights, as laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our right to free, prior, and informed, consent, the recognition and protection of our traditional knowledge, and ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all climate change processes. These proposals are not fully incorporated in the text still being negotiated,” remarked Janeth Cuji of Ecuador.

“We take note and acknowledge some of the achievements in terms of including mentions of Indigenous Peoples and our rights as well as human rights in the negotiating text, but it does not yet guarantee that our rights and traditional knowledge are protected. We welcome the support of many states to our proposals and we urge all parties to incorporate them in any outcomes from Cancun and beyond,” asserted Nanta Mpaayei of Kenya.

“We remain concerned that the carbon market, including the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon offsets, and REDD+, represents a threat to Indigenous Peoples of the world and our rights. We reject the carbon market, which proposes to commercialize nature to the detriment of the world’s Indigenous Peoples and biodiversity. We demand a strong system of monitoring and compliance of states on safeguards related to REDD to ensure the protection of our rights,” noted Ben Powless, of Canada.

“We continue to practice and offer our traditional knowledge and innovations as real solutions to climate change.  We want to make clear that the protection of Mother Earth is the obligation of all of humanity. For that reason, we are committed to retain our role as stewards of Mother Earth, and all the ecosystems upon which our collective survival depends,” offered Sheena Watt, of Australia.

The IIPFCC is the representative body of Indigenous Peoples participating in the UNFCCC.

International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC)

To contact:                               Joan Carling – English: +52-1-998-108-3505

Janeth Cuji – Spanish: +52-1-998-108-7634

Nanta Mpaayei – English: +52-1-998-108-6876

Ben Powless – English/Spanish: +52-1-998-108-0745

Sheena Watt – English: +52-1-998-108-4560

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