COP23: the role of autochthone nations in actions for climate finally acknowledged

This month, during COP23 was adopted the Platform of autochthones nations and local communities to improve the transfer of traditional knowledge, acknowledge autochthone nations and support their role as a leader in the fight against climate change. Autochthone nations and local communities are indeed the first concerned by the impacts of the climate disruption. They have knowledge and experience to assert on the international scene.

COP23 autochthones

Ethnie akh Laos Nord – © Veton PICQ

First victims of climate change and first defense line

In the world, 370 million of human beings identify themselves as belonging to an autochthone nation. They are the guardians of 22% of the surface of the planet and 80% of the biodiversity in landscapes as diverse as primary forests and artic pack ice.

They are the first victims of industrial exploitation of natural resources and climate change that degrades their environment and threatens their standing of live which depends closely on ecosystems.

Although they are directly facing these environmental problems, autochthone nations are often silenced. They suffer from inequal power relationship compared to developed countries or big international firms, non-respect of their ancestral rights on their lands and resources and even violation of human rights.

Yet, they could play a crucial role to fight against climate change, if we gave them any means, as they have the traditional ancestral knowledge and experience in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas, sustainable exploitation of resources and adaptation to environmental modifications.

Furthermore, they have a conception of nature of which we should inspire ourselves to respect it better: autochthone nations consider that nature has rights and that Men and nature are only one.

Therefore, it is time to acknowledge the rights and knowledge of autochthone nations as we have a lot to learn from them.

  • Pour plus d’informations, voir l’ONG Survival International consacrée à la défense des peuples autochtones à travers le globe.

  • For more information, refer to the NGO Survival International dedicated to the defense of autochthone nations all over the world.

COP 23 : The Platform of autochthone nations and local communities

Organized by the Fiji Islands but held in Bonn, Germany, the 23rd conference of the UN on climate change (COP23) was the occasion to propel small islands and the most vulnerable nations under the spotlight.

Onsite, autochthone communities from seven regions of the globe – Africa, Artic, Latin America and Caribbean, North America, Pacific, Russia and Eastern Europe – were represented on the Pavilion of autochthone nations of the IPFCC (International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change), where the public could discover indigenous initiatives against climate change thanks to their traditional knowledge. Also, the second day of COP23 was dedicated to autochthone nations.

One of the main success of the COP23 that sweetens the assessment somewhat partly successful, regards the effective set up of the Platform of autochthone nations and local communities.

  • For more information, see the Highlights of the COP23. This platform is a political measure to promote the transfer of knowledge between autochthone nations and the rest of the world to include and reinforce the role of autochthone nations in climate actions. More precisely, it answers to the following goals:

  • Acknowledgement of knowledge: identify, recognize and preserve the autochthone knowledge as they are unique and precious.

  • Share the knowledge: integrate viewpoints, practices, innovations, ambitions and systems of traditional knowledge to politics and actions on climate on a domestic and international level.

  • Reinforce the capacity: ensure the equality between autochthone nations and other actors in the process of decision-making and the fight against climate change and their capacity to take part in decisions and setting them up.

  • Acknowledgement of rights: remind governments their obligation to acknowledge and respect the rights of autochthone nations, the values of their knowledge, their autonomy and their wisdom for decision-making.

The last point, fundamental, complete and reinforce the role of the platform, that exists indeed since the Paris Agreement. It was just established definitively during the COP23 by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). To debate, the body based its decision on a report called “Local communities and indigenous peoples platform: proposals on operationalization based on the open multi-stakeholder dialogue and submissions”, that sums up all discussions and exchange of ideas that happened during the year to prepare for the Conference.

Floriane Boyer, EVI editor.


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