Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 29, 2010

Indigenous Environmental Network: Four Principles for Climate Justice

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) releases its Four Principles for Climate Justice
By Indigenous Environmental Network
Photo: Cochabamba Climate Conference by Ben Powless, Mohawk

Indigenous Peoples must call for the most stringent and binding emission reduction targets. A growing body of western scientific evidence now suggests what Indigenous Peoples have expressed for a long time: Life as we know it is in danger. Western scientists tell us that climate change is accelerating, and that changes are happening faster than expected. New scientific information made available since the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report shows that changes in ocean acidification, melting of permafrost, and ice melting are happening much faster than projected by the IPCC. Objectives must be made to reach stabilization of GHG concentrations at 300 ppm and to limit temperature rise to 1.0 degrees centigrade, based on pre-industrial levels, noting that emissions must peak in 2015.

The Petition below expresses, in the strongest possible terms, your demand that the results of the Cochabamba People’s Accord, as presented to UNFCCC - AWG-LCA Chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe)and Vice-Chair Mr. Dan Reifsnyder (United States) in an April 26th submission by the Plurinational State of Bolivia, be given the highest possible consideration during the Twelfth Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) in Bonn, June 1-June 11, 2010. As signers to the Petition, we have grave concern, that the ‘Note by the Chair’, officially known as ‘Text to facilitate negotiations among governmental Parties’ to the UN climate negotiations, released on May 17th, 2010, acknowledges the invitation for Nation-States to make submissions but then relegates the Bolivian submission to a miscellaneous document.

This is in direct contrast to the full integration of the Copenhagen Accord, a document which we as signers to the Petition would like to remind the Chair and Vice-Chairs, was not adopted by the delegates to COP-15, with the only agreement being to ‘take note of’ this non-binding, non-negotiated, document.

The Petition we are asking you to sign represents both people who were directly engaged in the development of these proposals in Cochabamba, where over 35,000 people from 140 countries gathered in April, 2010, as well as those who were there in spirit and support the outcomes; we also represent the voices of social movements, indigenous peoples, affected peoples and civil society organizations from around the world.

The deliberate exclusion of the full 87 articles of the Cochabamba People’s Agreement violates assurances that were given stating all representations by Nation-States would be treated equally, as well as direct statements by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, made to social movement representatives in the presence of Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia, on May, 7th, stating that there was no preference for one submission over others.

By signing the Petition, (see below) you would stand in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters who are presently suffering from the consequences of climate change, with those as yet unborn who will suffer from our inaction, and with all living beings and Mother Earth; we therefore commit to remain vigilant in our pursuit of climate justice.

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
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