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UNFCCC: Update from Bonn Climate Change Conference

From 4-15 June, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convened in Bonn, Germany. Indigenous representatives from around the world followed the negotiations and lobbied government delegations for greater inclusion, and respect for their rights and needs.

On the agenda were discussions under the so-called Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) on what elements shall be included in a new binding agreement, and on what can be done in terms of mitigating and adapting to climate change from now till 2020, when the new agreement is expected to start.

Indigenous peoples who are heavily affected by climate change while being least responsible for Co2 emissions, encouraged states to adhere to the principles of historic responsibility and adopt goals that will keep the global temperature below 1,5 degrees Celsius.

Besides, indigenous peoples’ main concern is on securing that a new global agreement takes a human rights-based approach. They demand that a new agreement guarantees the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all parts of the climate change regime including recognising their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in all decisions affecting their lands, resources and territories. They also seek an agreement, which respects and promotes indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, culture and governance systems.

Read the opening statement to the ADP session from the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) here

Read the statement by the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change for the closing session of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) here

Indigenous position on Non-Carbon Benefits weakened
The Bonn meeting also hosted the 40th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBTSA), which was discussing two issues of great importance for indigenous peoples in relation to Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation REDD+: Non-carbon benefit and results-based finance.

Last year, COP 19 in Warsaw recognized the importance of incentivizing non-carbon benefits (NBC's) for the long-term sustainability of REDD+ activities. This was welcomed by indigenous peoples, who value forests as more than just carbon sinks and storage and have always advocated for the multiple functions of forests, which includes social, cultural, spiritual, environmental and economic values integral to their territorial governance and livelihood systems.

In Bonn, the SBSTA thus started discussing how NBC's can be developed, financed and implemented into the REDD+ mechanism. Many parties expressed concern about complicating the REDD+ mechanism further by including NCBs in international guidance and whereas parties did not agree on this point, a general consensus emerged that non-carbon benefits should be determined nationally. SBSTA will continue the NCB discussion at its 42nd session in June 2015.

Indigenous peoples are concerned that nationally determined NCBs will weaken the possibility for enhancing land tenure security and human rights compliance within the REDD+ framework, as parties would most likely not prioritize these in the determination of NCBs in their countries.

Indigenous peoples’ position is that non-carbon benefits should be pre-requisites for result based payments under REDD+ and based on international guidelines.

Get to know the indigenous position here (IIPFCC statement for the closing session of SBSTA)

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change
Indigenous peoples following the climate change process are organised in the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC). As a major group, indigenous peoples are able to address the parties in the opening and closing sessions of the different work streams.

During the UNFCCC meetings, indigenous peoples meet as a global indigenous caucus. At last weeks intersession meeting in Bonn, approximately 40 indigenous representatives from among other countries Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the US, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, DRC, and Russia formed the Caucus.

Tags: Global governance, Climate



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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