CEESP News - by Pasang Dolma Sherpa, PhD, co-chair of SPICEH
Indigenous peoples from Asia, who participated in the COP 24 of the UNFCCC in Katowice, Poland from 2 to 14th Dec. 2018, felt the very important step in strengthening indigenous peoples’ roles, indigenous knowledge and traditional cultural practices in contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation in a long run.
During the COP 24, indigenous peoples from Asia put all their efforts for the recognition and respect for indigenous peoples’ and local communities, elders, youth and women rights who have contributed for climate change resilience to be integrated in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) based on the human rights principles, particularly indigenous peoples’ rights, for the protection of the natural resources, biodiversity, ecosystems and their lives. They emphasized that human rights principles need to guide all work programs of the Paris Agreement, while adapting the text on adaption and agriculture, mitigations, loss and damage, capacity buildings, technology transfer, climate finance, and the long-term commitments in Talanoa dialogue under the Paris rulebook to be adopted by COP 24 in Katowice, Poland.
The two-week negotiation captured the essence of indigenous peoples’ aspiration for the adoption of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform (LCIPPs) with an aim to preserve and strengthen indigenous and local knowledge systems, enhance their engagement in the UNFCCC process and integrate their consideration into the climate change policy and action both at global and local levels. The adoption of the LCIPP opened the door for the formation of the Facilitative Working Group with equal representation from the state parties and indigenous peoples from 7 regions by welcoming local communities for their further engagement. This is an important step for increasing the indigenous peoples and local communities’ leadership both at global and national levels, as well as building the bridges between state and non-state parties in the climate actions. However, aim of the LCIPP is possible only if the state parties are aware and sensitive towards the issues and concerns of indigenous peoples, how important for them for the recognition of their traditional knowledge and cultural practices for climate change resilience by the national legal provisions and its implementations. The engagement of the state parties of the least developed countries was hardly there during the LCIPP negotiations. This has resulted in the gap of knowledge on the importance of indigenous knowledge and cultural practices to be integrated in the climate change policy and action at the national levels.
Due to the influence of the western modern education and national legal provisions that hardly acknowledge the role and contributions for sustainable management of the world’s remaining natural resources, forest, biodiversity, and ecosystems, consequently, now are at the edge of disappearing. LCIPP is the aspiration of indigenous peoples and local communities to protect their values, knowledge, skills for their sustainable future and national climate change action but it depends how they are addressed by the national legal provisions, climate change policy and action.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from LCIPP, indigenous peoples demanded for the reflection of the principles of human rights in the remaining negotiations texts but left with no excitements with the outcome of the Paris Agreements in COP 24. However, indigenous peoples had to satisfy with the decision of the LCIPP with hope of getting an opportunity to work with state parties in the coming days to share indigenous knowledge and cultural experiences, how they have contributed for climate change adaptation and mitigation and urgency of recognizing their important roles and contributions for the long-term climate change solution.
Pasang Dolma Sherpa serves as the executive director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research and Development (CIPRED) and holds a Ph.D. from Kathmandu University. She is a co-chair of the IUCN CEESP Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples, Customary and Environmental Law and Human Rights (SPICEH).