By India Logan-Riley
Over the duration of CoP22, the secretariat have been consulting on the structure of an Indigenous Knowledge Platform. The information from the informal consultation and those that we have obtained from various sources at COP22, it is our understanding that the Presidency wanted the platform as one of the outcomes of COP22. Over the first week, the secretariat had been meeting with representatives of the caucus to discuss this and hear our ongoing input.
However, on Monday, we learned with very short notice that the secretariat and states were holding an informal consultation about the platform without indigenous peoples present. This concerning information touches on two key issues for indigenous peoples: that of full and effective participation; and recognition of indigenous knowledge. Click here to find out more about what this means for the IIPFCC.
So what happened in the meeting?
Members of the caucus attended the meeting where Ecuador requested that the indigenous peoples speak first and we were able to give our statement on the matter.
Despite the number of Parties present, we note that all took the floor. Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Australia, and Panama made significant and sometimes reinforcing statements. It is our observation that Bolivia and Ecuador are the “champions of our positions” and are on the rights side of the argument yet require further guidance from Indigenous Peoples. We have been informed that Bolivia is keen to seek direction from the IIPFCC on the “Indigenous peoples and local communities”. We have faced this issue before under CBD Article 8(j), where it has been our position to have the knowledge platform focus solely on Indigenous Peoples knowledge.
We know New Zealand (through bilaterals) and Australia are in favor of further discussions regarding the Indigenous platform. We have also reached out to other Pacific States, we will try to meet them bilaterally within the next days. The European Union was cautious about the process, as the platform needs to be agreed to by all Parties and would like to see the process to go step by step. A view which is in line with our view that the COP presidency is rushing into this and the need to establish a timeline that provides sufficient time for full, effective, direct and meaningful participation.
Our concern is the absence of Mexico, as the champion of human rights during COP21 and leader of the group of States friendly to human rights, we have received little to no indication of their support for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is our view that Indigenous Peoples must go into a bilateral meeting as soon as possible. Further, as far as we understand, the Asia, and Africa regional group have not voiced their views yet. We believe that a number of Parties are awaiting further information regarding the platform before engaging into consultations.
Moving forward, we hope that it becomes needless for us to have to keep reclaiming our knowledge, ways of life and spaces back
More updates on an indigenous knowledge platform development to come.