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The Paris Agreement Does Not Recognize Indigenous Rights

For Immediate Release:

Friday November 17th, 2017


Jade Begay, Communications Coordinator – Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), whatsapp +1 505 699 4791

Dallas Goldtooth,


The Paris Agreement Does Not Recognize Indigenous Rights

On the final day of the UNFCCC COP23, the Indigenous Environmental Network and its allies face a long road to have Indigenous Rights upheld in Climate Accord.

Bonn, Germany – Today, November 17, 2017, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) has come to an end. And while progress has been made on the UNFCCC traditional knowledge Platform for engagement of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples’ rights are not fully recognized in the final platform document of COP 23. The burden of implementation falls on local communities and indigenous peoples.

Tom BK Goldtooth from the final day of the Climate Talks in Bonn Germany. “The primary work of the Indigenous Caucus within the UN climate conference focused on a platform that was established in Paris in 2015, in the Paris Agreement. This platform is through decision 1/CP.21 paragraph 135, with a mandate to facilitate the integration of indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as the engagement of Indigenous peoples and local communities related to climate change action, programs and policies. The challenge for our Indigenous Caucus is that the countries that are parties to this UN climate conference are very cautious on the process and rules for inclusion of Indigenous peoples in a decision-making role in the operationalizing of the platform. We need to be clear that on the final day of this two week 23rd Session of the Conference the Parties (COP 23), of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not recognized our rights. The final document from the parties to this conference says they only will ‘consider their respective obligations on the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.”

Alberto Saldamando, Attorney and Expert on Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, IEN  “We are not waving the victory flags yet, the local communities and Indigenous peoples platform does not recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples in the human rights sense of the term “recognize”. It only “recalls” the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples in its preamble. Given the resistance of States during these negotiations to fully recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples, the task for a greater recognition of our rights as peoples will be difficult” Saldamando further says, “The platform for traditional knowledge is merely that. It should allow Indigenous knowledge holders to advise and inform the UN climate conference in mitigation and adaptation. Although we would hope that it would, the platform does not necessarily protect forests or rights. That is yet to be determined as we proceed on the path of implementation. It is not even implemented yet. This decision only allows us to participate in operationalizing it, sometime in the future, at the next UNFCCC COP 24. Notwithstanding what has been reported we are not negotiating or decision making. The platform will only recommend.”

Dallas Goldtooth, IEN “During the COP23 conference there has been engaged discussion on the mitigation of climate change and the implementation of the agreements made in Paris during COP21. However, it’s been a real struggle to get parties, nation-states, to take the sincere steps needed to addressing the climate chaos we are seeing across the globe. There has more emphasis on building up the monetization of forests and trading carbon than there has been on the managed decline of fossil fuel production, and Indigenous peoples are right in the middle of this. We need international solidarity for Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground and to reject carbon trading as a climate solution. We must exert our our power as citizens of the world to protect indigenous rights, address the climate chaos, and to defend the sacred integrity of Mother Earth. I firmly believe in the collective power of us all to make the changes we need to see.” 

It is our understanding that the false solutions of carbon marketing offsetting greenhouse gas emissions offered by the US White House representatives or California’s very own Governor Jerry Brown will cause more harm to humanity and continue to silence indigenous voices and our existence. False solutions like these are cancerous and have negative impacts like respiratory problems and autoimmune diseases.

Daniel Ilario, Idle No More SF Bay: “The It Takes Roots delegation put direct pressure on the California’s government at COP 23 demanding that we move away from the false solution of carbon pricing that increase pollution at the source and violate indigenous sovereignty. During Governor Jerry Brown’s “We are still in” the Paris agreement speech, we stood up and demanded that California keep fossil fuels in the ground. His response, threatening to put us in the ground, illustrates that government representatives, funded by corporations, are willing to put our lives at risk to protect the colonial capitalist system. We stand with our indigenous brothers and sisters around the world who are directly impacted by the extreme energy extraction systems, and we build on our collective power to create a livable future for generations to come.”

Isabella Zizi Idle No More SF Bay: “We as indigenous people understand that it is wrong to commodify the rights of nature and the rights of Mother Earth. It is disrupting her natural system when plants are being genetically modified and when our air and water rights are privatized by those who have lost their original instructions. We call upon our brothers and sisters across the globe to join us in this movement of resistance in your communities, not just in the streets, but in local governance offices. It is time to stop harming indigenous peoples from the north and south, and to acknowledge their traditional ecological knowledge. We can be the solution to create a sustainable life for all humanity.”  

It Takes Roots

Carbon Pricing Report

Final Text –  Local Communities and Indigenous Platform