Oxford University calling on UNFCCC to halt the marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples

Oxford University Researchers have released a new report calling on UNFCCC to halt the marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples at its annual COP negotiations.

The report identifies three tiers of marginalisation for Indigenous Peoples at the international climate negotiations. 

Full report is available here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2870412 
Policy brief here: bit.ly/2fI1jR9

In a new working paper released today, researchers at the University of Oxford are calling on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address the marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples. They warn that if the leading international climate body continues to marginalise Indigenous knowledge and adaptations, attempts to solve the climate crisis will be in vain.

Oxford University researchers have identified three tiers of marginalisation that exist at UNFCCC COP events, including COP22 taking place in Marrakesh this week:
·      Politically, Indigenous Peoples are not allowed to self-represent; they are simply ‘observers’ to the negotiations. The nation states speaking on their behalf are responsible for their historical and current political marginalisation.
·      Geographically, the space offered to Indigenous Peoples is outside the main negotiating space of the conference.
·      Economically, Indigenous Peoples attendance is restricted by lack of finances. Developed nations and wealthy lobbyists thus dominate the space; Indigenous Peoples often cannot afford translators.

The new paper argues that solving the climate crisis will be unfeasible without the direct input of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge. Yet, as the paper points out, the marginalisation faced at annual UNFCCC COP events inhibits this. Further, it goes against International human rights, including the right to self-determination.

Lead author Claudia Comberti says: “Rather than acknowledging the key role Indigenous Peoples should play in creating climate solutions, they are segregated at the climate negotiations and not allowed to self-represent. The UNFCCC needs to change this if it is to create fair and adequate solutions to climate change.”

The paper notes that Indigenous Peoples represent the majority of the world’s cultural diversity. Collectively they hold a wealth of environmental knowledge and adaptation strategies that are crucial to addressing climate change. Indigenous Peoples are also experiencing climate change first, and most strongly than other populations.

The paper proposes four actions to radically improve the situation:
1)   Grant Indigenous Peoples full member status at the UNFCCC, so they can self-represent.
2)   Appoint Indigenous Peoples as experts in negotiations around Adaptation and Loss & Damage
3)   Direct and restructure financial streams to increasing autonomy and voice of Indigenous Peoples – including the Green Climate Fund, and finance for translators and travel
4)   Commit to respecting Indigenous Rights and International human rights – an international agreement that the current situation undermines.

The full paper, released today, is based on several months of research, including interviews and observations at previous UNFCCC COP events.

For full article see: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2870412
Policy brief: http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/publications/policy-brief-pdf/20161116_IP-marginalisation_CComberti.pdf