Limited Progress for Indigenous Communities at U.N. Climate Summit Say Delegates

Photo: Indigenous Environmental Network action against carbon markets at COP26, in Glasgow, Nov. 3 2021. Image courtesy of Hanae Takahashi/Friends of the Earth Japan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

As this year's U.N. Climate Conference, COP28, comes to a close, indigenous activists from around the world are left disappointed. Although around 300 indigenous lobbyists travelled to Dubai, the indigenous activists lament the lack of acknowledgment by the international community of the particular threats that they face from climate change. 

“You see Indigenous leaders and Indigenous youth in every corner of the venue… Yet our rights and knowledge continue to be relegated to the sidelines in negotiations," said Sarah Hanson, a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC). 

Indigenous representatives are not only worried about the effects of a warming planet, but also fear how the enormous mining operations required for the clean energy transition would threaten their land and way of life. A recent study published in Nature Sustainability suggests that almost half of all mining operations aimed at meeting increased demand for these critical minerals are found either on or near Indigenous and communal lands.

“We are not here simply for your photo opportunities. We are rights holders under the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and must be at the decision-making table,” Hanson added, referencing the international human rights instrument for Indigenous groups.

For more information, visit the Mongabay article.