COP21 Treaty Excludes Indigenous Peoples

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Indigenous leaders across the globe are denouncing the exclusion of Indigenous rights and traditional knowledge from the long-awaited COP21 climate agreement. The initial draft mandated states to respect “the rights of Indigenous Peoples…when taking actions to address climate change.” However, the sentence was removed from the final text per the request of several governments.

Indigenous leader from the village of Sapara people of Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest Gloria Hilda Ushiqua-Santi, right, speaks while Tom B.K Goldtooth, executive Director of Indegenous Environmental Network, fromBemidji, Minnesota, during a conference on forests at the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris. Envoys at the Paris climate conference say governments and companies need to do more to protect forests, which can help slow global warming. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The efficacy of a climate agreement that deliberately omits Indigenous rights and traditional knowledge is highly questionable, given that Indigenous land comprises 20% of the earth’s surface, but 80% of the earth’s remaining biodiversity. Besides being the most effective agents of conservation, Indigenous Peoples are also the most economical. A recent study by the World Resources Institute found upholding Indigenous rights to be a more affordable solution to climate change than carbon capture or averted emissions.

Sources: Al Jazeera