This report is a summary of national reports of indigenous peoples from 12 countries in Asia and the results of the regional preparatory meeting of Asia indigenous peoples for the 21st Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP21). This regional preparatory meeting, which was organized by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) on September 16-18, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was participated by 30 selected indigenous peoples’ representatives coming from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Thailand, Lao PDR, Taiwan/China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam, including representatives of regional networks of indigenous women, indigenous youth and indigenous persons with disabilities.

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Indigenous Women, the Key to Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Position of PEREMPUAN AMAN for UNFCCC COP 21, Paris

Jakarta, 12 November 2015

Indigenous women are witnessing a drastic change over the management area and their livelihood resources in a big scale. Fields, farms, forests are quickly turned into monoculture plantations and mining concessions.  Fires happening currently have damaged the sources of  livelihood for women, and indigenous women has been blamed as one of the actors causing the fire. 

The role of indigenous women as the owner of knowledge and wisdom in managing land and the sources of life such as; seeds and crops, woven cloth, wicker and knowledge of traditional medicinal plants, is currently marginalized. Indigenous women are no longer able to read the signs of nature to find out the shifting of seasons and respond to changes of extreme weather.

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Messages of the Vietnamese Ethnic Minorities to COP21

Recognizing that:

-            Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by climate change, with its community of ethnic minority groups encountering the least advantages in responding to climate change due to their underdevelopment and their difficult social-natural and living conditions;

- These ethnic minority groups mainly live in mountainous, riverine and coastal areas and basinswhere thereis biodiversity, rare and preciousgeneticresources of the country and the world, and especiallywater resources. Therefore, the enhancement of the capacity of the ethnic minority people in responding to climate change will bring benefits not only to themselves but also to humankind as a whole;

- The destruction of the environment and nature caused by climate change has been and is becoming ever more catastrophic, which has not only negatively affected the people’s livelihoods, health and lives but also seriously affected the living environment, the cultural and spiritual atmosphere as well as natural heritage in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world;

 It is noted that, assistance so far provided by the Government of Vietnam, international and local organisations has brought about essential results; however, these have not sufficiently helped make up for losses that have occurred, and they arenot commensurate with developed countries’ responsibilities or with the present and future requirements for responding to climate change;

 Wishing that, COP21 will become a historic milestone on the journeyto reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise and natural disasters caused by climate change,

 The community of Vietnamese ethnic minorities would like to send to COP21 Parties, especially the developed countries, organisations and individualsthe following requests:

 1)        Work out a route and radical and practical actions to prevent greenhouse gasemissions – the main cause of global warming and relatednatural disasters;

2)        Recognize therole and potentialof ethnic minority people as local forces to respond proactively and effectively to climate changeand at the same time to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gasemissions through the protection and development of forests, and the conservation of local biodiversity and other precious natural resources; andpromotetheir full and effective participation in future COPs; and

3)        Assess correctly the huge losses that ethnic minorities and other vulnerable communities in Vietnam as well as other developing countries have incurred, and commit to launch and implement essential medium and long term programs and projects that promote the capabilities and experience of indigenous people combined with advanced technology and techniques in order to achieve the best possible results of our common efforts in responding to climate change.

 It is our wish that this message will be considered for inclusion in an agreementbetweenthe Parties to the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in late 2015.

Hanoi, the 6th of November 2015