This invigorating UNFCCC panel took place in a large theatre in the Side Events area (Strangford Lough) of the Blue Zone. We caught the second half; seven representatives of Indigenous Peoples from each socio-cultural region across the globe in open dialogue, with the UK COP President Designate Alok Sharma (in the centre) leading the discussion, alongside UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa. It was a shame that it was poorly publicised and poorly attended.
Representatives included: Fawn Sharp, President, National Congress of American Indians; Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director, Tebtebba Foundation; Tuntiak Katan, General Coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, Ecuador; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Co-Chair, Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) Facilitative Working Group.
The UNFCCC says that:
“The COP Presidency dialogue with Indigenous Peoples creates an important space for Parties to engage with the experience and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples in the international climate policy process. The dialogue also demonstrates the commitment of the COP President to the issues related to Indigenous Peoples. Engaging the voices and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples contributes to the overall success of COP26 and helps align climate commitment and instruments to reorient how we interact with nature and stabilize the global climate system.”
The questions and conversations about the impact of climate change on young people created rich applause from the audience. This resulted in the COP President Alok Sharma pledging to hold a further conversation with Indigenous Youth either during or soon after COP26. In addition, a closing statement from one of the delegates suggested that the Indigenous Peoples can speak and act for themselves, however, they need their voices to be amplified and heard. It was very powerful to hear that, although they feel empowered and deeply indebted to their land, on which they depend, they also feel that the developed western world, who colonised their countries, is not providing Indigenous Peoples with the agency they need.
Watch the video to hear observations and questions asked, and responses from the panel.
Lucy Meredith, Sue Jueno and The Team