World Climate Conference COP27 (November 6)
A seat at the table for indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples of all continents will try to make their concerns heard at the COP27 world climate conference. Several indigenous peoples representatives will be traveling to Sharm El Sheik – some of them with support by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). “Climate change is a serious threat to the livelihoods of indigenous communities. At the same time, their unique knowledge is of crucial importance to overcome the crisis,” stated Dr. Eliane Fernandes, STP expert on indigenous peoples. “In their respective nation states, indigenous peoples’ interests are often not really considered. Thus, it is important that indigenous communities are able to send delegates – and that they are given the opportunity to actively take part in decision processes.”
Thus, the STP demanded the German Federal Government and its partner countries to ensure that this will finally be possible. “It has been shown that indigenous peoples all over the world are experts regarding measures to protect rainforests, boreal forests, and other biomes. At the same time, their territories are often especially sensitive to climate change. They are immediately affected by melting pole caps in the north, by rising sea levels, draught, and famine in the Amazon region,” stated Regina Sonk, the STP’s expert on indigenous peoples. “It is especially the major industrial nations such as Germany that are responsible for this. Now, these states have to ensure that indigenous peoples are granted a seat at the negotiation table when it comes to important decisions.”
In their home countries, the situation of many indigenous communities is still volatile. Not all states and governments are really interested in climate protection, and not all regions are affected to an equal extent. In Brazil, indigenous communities are hoping that – following the election of the new President Lula da Silva – there will be more efforts to protect their territories. However, the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, had cut down on practically all measures to protect indigenous rights and the environment in Brazil.
There is no other region in the world that is changing as fast as the Arctic. 80 percent of the indigenous population of Russia is living in rural areas where the Russian state extracts raw materials from the earth. Russia’s war machinery is financed by fossil energy. At the same time, there is a growing demand for transition minerals for “green” forms of energy and the transformation of mobility. So-called “transition minerals” such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, and palladium are still an important source of income for Russia – despite the sanctions. This hunger for raw materials has led to setbacks regarding respect for indigenous peoples’ participation rights and environmental protection laws. For the indigenous peoples of Russia, COP27 is the only international platform they can use to demand their rights.
This year, the STP once again supports a direct representation of indigenous peoples at the World Climate Conference. Due to our consultative status at the United Nations Social and Economic Council, we were able to get an accreditation for the Blue Zone, where governmental negotiations and side events take place.