Latin American Indigenous Forum on Climate Change Results


Forum Statement

Date of publication: 
4 April 2010

From March 29 to 31, 2010 in the city of San José, Costa Rica, regional and subregional networks of indigenous peoples in Latin America that make up the Latin American Indigenous Forum on Climate Change: The Central American Indigenous Council (CICA), the Indian Mesoamerican Council (ICMA), the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), Indigenous Women’s Network on Biodiversity, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women Region South America, the Indian Chair traveling and the International Forum of Indigenous Women, self-organized, met to critically analyze the solutions proposed by governments to address the effects of climate change and agree on a unified political position on the part of our organizations in the face of COP 16 on Climate Change being held in December this year in Mexico.

After having analyzed and debated the issues of context and the political situation relating to the negotiation process for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, we express the following:

1. The solutions proposed by governments and international NGOs to address the effects of climate change based on market logic, both referring to the clean development mechanism as proposals for REDD +, constitute new forms of geopolitical economic threats to both indigenous rights, which are guaranteed by numerous international instruments, and the livelihoods of our peoples. On behalf of these initiatives, states and transnational corporations are promoting the construction of dams, biofuels, oil exploration, forest plantations, monocultures, including those that are causing the expropriation and destruction of our territories, and in other cases, criminalization, prosecution and even murders of indigenous brothers and sisters to defend their territories.

2. Solutions to address the effects of climate change must be holistic, coherent and respectful of human rights and of Mother Earth. It also should not be limited to Western scientific knowledge, but also include traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, which have historically contributed to the efforts of conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity in our territories guaranteed.

3. We note that the vast majority of sites being proposed by governments and NGOs to participate in the REDD mechanism, are located in indigenous territories. This finding, first, shows that our most concentrated areas of forest cover still in condition, and on the other hand, raises the urgent need for governments and NGOs that promote REDD to ensure the full exercise of our rights contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially land rights, self-determination and free, prior and informed consent.

4. Indigenous peoples, without being directly responsible for the effects of climate change, are one of the clusters that are most likely are being affected, with the most obvious consequences: desertification processes, forced migration, our loss of biodiversity, loss of identity and famine. This raises the need to take affirmative action to compensate for the material and human damage we are seeing in our territories, not as an act of compassion, but for reparations and social and ecological justice.

5. We encourage multilateral and bilateral agencies and NGOs committed to the health of Mother Earth, human rights and particularly the rights of indigenous peoples, which provide strategic priorities within their specific lines of financial assistance to Latin American Indigenous Forum on Climate Change Climate, through its member organizations and indigenous territorial organizations to address this ecological crisis.

6. The regional indigenous networks (Women’s Continental Network, COICA, CAI, CIMA, CICA, Latin American Network of Women on Biodiversity, World Rainforest Alliance) reaffirm our political commitment to work together, both in building political and technical proposals and in the specific subnational, national, regional and international levels on the issue of climate change. All networks are committed to adding skills, experiences, materials and resources to ensure full and effective exercise of indigenous rights on all issues related to Climate Change. For the Self-Determination of Peoples!