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International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change

High Level Statement - December 18, 2009


Dear Excellencies. As Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world, we have advocated that all climate policies and actions, from mitigation and adaptation, to emissions reduction targets, to finance mechanisms and capacity building, must recognize and respect the rights and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. However, our demands have not been met at this COP.  Global leaders have not reached consensus on the need for a legally binding agreement that recognizes our human rights as indigenous peoples, including those embodied in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


As Indigenous Peoples, we also express our disappointment and frustration with the lack of progress made at this critical Climate Change meeting. It is our very survival at stake. We support those states who take the position that emissions must be reduced by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 95% by 2050. We join the wider civil society in their call for Climate Justice Now.  Talks have broken down over the central issues of finding real solutions to secure adequate emission reductions as well as sufficient support for finance and technology transfer to developing countries.


We do take note of advances in the decisions relative to REDD+ and agriculture affirming respect for traditional knowledge and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.  However, these references are omitted from all other COP outcome documents. These human rights must be protected through clear and unequivocal language recognizing our rights to land, territories and resources, our full and effective participation including our right of free, prior and informed consent, and protection for our traditional knowledge. In order to protect our forests, biodiversity, the air, and the water that sustains us all, we need a binding commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Finally, we express our sincere appreciation to all of the state parties and civil society organizations who have supported Indigenous Peoples around the world – without their support, we could not make the progress that Indigenous Peoples and the world need. 


We invite all states to join in creating a world where Indigenous Peoples finally realize the enjoyment of our human rights.  We fully intend to work to implement this vision of reality beyond COP 15.   


Nia:wen, Thank you.


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