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IWGIA’s reaction to the outcome of COP26

IWGIA’s reaction to the outcome of COP26

COP26 was attended by more lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry than representatives of Indigenous Peoples.

This despite the well-known fact that Indigenous Peoples are better at protecting nature and biodiversity than anyone else. Therefore, despite their advocacy efforts in Glasgow, it was perhaps not surprising that the fight for keeping the 1.5-degree target alive, was in vain. Climate change is already impacting Indigenous Peoples around the world and will do so ever more in the future. Indigenous Peoples repeatedly raised this crucial point through their statements and events at their pavilion, which was supported by IWGIA. In addition, under their dedicated UNFCCC platform (LCIPP), Indigenous Peoples contributed with their knowledge towards climate solutions and delivered 11 specific recommendations at the first annual gathering of knowledge holders.

Indigenous Peoples must have a voice when decisions are taken on climate action. When they are not given a voice, top-down climate policy can end up violating their rights on the ground. Under the Kyoto protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism led to displacement and other rights violations. Despite COP26 achieving a greater focus on human rights in the ruleset for Article 6, concerns remain of a repetition of past violations. Crucially, carbon markets under the Paris Agreement going forward will, as a result of COP26, have safeguards including an all-important independent redress mechanism in place.

At COP26, world leaders from more than 140 countries – that contain more than 90% of the world’s forests –  committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Linked to this, a number of financial pledges were issued, amongst these USD 1.7 billion to advance Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ forest tenure rights. This could potentially be good news for Indigenous Peoples, though it is important that these measures are implemented in full compliance with international human rights standards.

There is an emerging tendency to view Indigenous Peoples as nothing more than a tool for forest conservation, which can be used by providing financial support. This would be a misjudgement from the world’s governments, as Indigenous Peoples offer holistic solutions to climate change. Many reject the prospect of receiving financial support through offsetting schemes which allow companies and governments of the industrialised world to continue their emissions as business as usual, so-called “green washing”.

Finally, Indigenous Peoples did not get a guarantee for sufficient financial compensation for the loss and damage they suffer as a consequence of climate change. They also continued advocating for higher recognition of spiritual, cultural and other non-economic loss and damage. There is no doubt that “loss and damage” will be one of the main advocacy focuses at COP27 next year in Egypt.


Der var flere lobbyister fra olie- og gas-industrien til COP26, end der var repræsentanter for oprindelige folk – og dette til trods for, at oprindelige folk beskytter op imod en fjerdedel af verdens landareal og den tilhørende rige biodiversitet.

”Oprindelige folk bliver set som et simpelt redskab til skovbevarelse, der kan støttes finansielt. Dette er en fatal fejlvurdering fra landes regeringer”, udtaler Stefan Thorsell fra den danske menneskerettighedsorganisation International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).

Under den dedikerede platform for oprindelige folk under Klimakonventionen (LCIPP), bidrog de oprindelige folk med deres viden til klimaløsninger og udviklede 11 konkrete nøglebudskaber. Til trods for dette var kampen for reel ambition i forhold til at holde 1.5 gradsmålet i live forgæves.

Under den tidligere klimaaftale Kyoto-protokollen ledte klimahandling til fordrivelse og andre rettighedskrænkelser for de oprindelige folk. Selvom der på COP26 blev opnået et større fokus på rettigheder i Parisaftalens regelsæt, er der stadig grund til bekymring for, at dette kan ske igen.

Ligeledes fik oprindelige folk ikke garanteret en rimelig klimastøtte - heller ikke for såkaldt tab og skade som konsekvens af klimaforandringerne.

For more information, photos and quotes from IWGIA and the Indigenous representatives, please contact Stefan Thorsell, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +45 5373 2842 .

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) is a non-governmental human rights organisation promoting, protecting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ collective and individual rights for more than 50 years. We support Indigenous Peoples´ advocacy at the international climate negotiations at the UNFCCC. See our award-winning documentaries here.

Tags: Climate, Press releases, Human rights



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

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