COP 16: “The Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration is fundamental to the Cancún process”
Luis Alfonso de Alba, Mexico’s Special Representative on Climate Change, today emphasised that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is of fundamental importance to the climate change process.
Ambassador De Alba stated that this international instrument was vital to this and many other processes underway. He said that there were many areas linking indigenous rights and climate change in particular. He stated that there were principles and indigenous rights clearly identified in the Declaration that needed to be reflected in the working documents of the Conference of the Parties, meeting in Cancún. Mr De Alba said that it was essential to recognise the need not only for consultation but also for free, prior and informed consent before implementing projects that affect indigenous peoples. He recalled that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by a vote in the United Nations and that, now approved, it had been gaining greater status, recognition and acceptance. The countries that voted against the Declaration – said Mr De Alba – had been reconsidering their position and had initiated processes by which they could endorse it. “There is no longer any direct opposition to the Declaration,” observed the ambassador. “Consequently, this whole process must entail a growing recognition of the Declaration and of the indigenous rights that the different negotiations involve,” maintained Mr De Alba. Luis Alfonso de Alba Góngora is a Mexican diplomat who has been Mexico’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva since 2004. He was the first President of the UN Human Rights Council, and it was under his administration that the process of approving the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was supported.