Addressing Indigenous Peoples’ Marginalisation at International Climate Negotiations: Adaptation and Resilience at the Margins

Comberti, Thornton & Korodimou, (2016), Working paper, ECI, University of Oxford

30 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2016

See all articles by Claudia Comberti

Claudia Comberti

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI)

Thomas Thornton

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI)

Michaela Korodimou

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI)

Date Written: November 16, 2016

Abstract

Indigenous Peoples (IP) are a critical and inadequately considered population in the climate change crisis. IP represent much of the world’s cultural diversity – and this environmental knowledge and adaptability should be considered a crucial source to contribute to global solutions. Yet IP globally face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power. IP face three tiers of marginalisation – political, geographical and economic – and these are also present at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Yet it is precisely this arena that IP can contribute significantly. Specifically, a) Environmental knowledge of IP can improve understanding of climate impacts at the local level; b) A wide diversity and capacity in adaptation solutions amongst IP can inform solutions; c) The relatively new workplan on Loss & Damage, especially Non-economic Loss & Damage (NELD), is particularly relevant for, and should be developed in participation with, IP; and d) Improved participation of IP at the negotiations constitutes human rights, including the right to self-determination.

This paper presents observations and interviews from COP21 in Paris to present the case for a restructuring of the UNFCCC to improve participation of IP. We conclude with recommendations to improve the situation: 1) Promote IP to full member status at the UNFCCC; 2) Employ IP as experts in work-streams and decisions around adaptation and loss & damage; 3) Direct and restructure financial streams, including the Green Climate Fund, towards increasing the autonomy and voice of IP; and 4) Ensure respect for IP and their rights and livelihoods at all levels of the negotiations, and decisions and programmes arising therefrom.

Keywords: Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Adaptation, Resilience, Loss & Damage, Non-economic Loss & Damage, NELD, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, TEK, UNFCCC, COP21, COP22

Suggested Citation

Comberti, Claudia and Thornton, Thomas and Korodimou, Michaela, Addressing Indigenous Peoples’ Marginalisation at International Climate Negotiations: Adaptation and Resilience at the Margins (November 16, 2016). Comberti, Thornton & Korodimou, (2016), Working paper, ECI, University of Oxford. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870412 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2870412

Claudia Comberti (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI) ( email )

South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Thomas Thornton

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI) ( email )

South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Michaela Korodimou

University of Oxford - Environmental Change Institute (ECI) ( email )

South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

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