Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change: Leading the way

04/20/2009 9:00 am
04/24/2009 9:00 pm
Dena’ina Center
Anchorage, Alaska (USA)

Steering Committee members:
• Patricia Cochran (Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Anchorage, Alaska)
• Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Philippines)
• Tarcila Rivera Zea (Executive Director, Chirapaq-Centro de Culturas Indigenas del Peru)
• Andrea Carmen (Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council)
• Joseph Ole Simel (National Coordinator, Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization, Masai, Kenya)
• Cletus Springer (Director, Dept. of Sustainable Development, Organization of American States)
• Ben Namakin (Program Manager Environmental Education & Awareness Program Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP)

Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world depend upon the natural environment. Their rich and detailed traditional knowledge reflects and embodies a cultural and spiritual relationship with the land, ocean and wildlife.

However, human activity is changing the world’s climate and altering the natural environment to which Indigenous Peoples are so closely attached and on which they so heavily rely.

In a very real sense, therefore, Indigenous Peoples are on the front lines of climate change. They observe climate and environmental changes first-hand and use traditional knowledge and survival skills to adapt to these changes as they occur. Moreover, they must do so at a time when their cultures and livelihoods are already undergoing significant changes due, in part, to the accelerated development of natural resources from their traditional territories stimulated by
trade liberalization and globalization.

Reflecting their position as “stewards” of the environment and drawing upon their age-old traditional knowledge—the heart of their cultural resilience—Indigenous Peoples were among the first groups to call upon national governments, transnational corporations and civil society to do more to protect the Earth and human society from climate change.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit will bring together 200-300 indigenous participants and observers from around the world to pursue four key objectives:
1. Consolidate, share and draw lessons from the views and experiences of Indigenous Peoples
around the world on the impacts and effects of climate change on their ways of life and their natural environment, including responses;
2. Raise the visibility, participation and role of Indigenous Peoples in local, national, regional and international processes in formulating strategies and partnerships that engage local communities and other stakeholders to respond to the impacts of climate change;
3. Analyze, discuss and promote public awareness of the impacts and consequences of  programs and proposals for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and assess proposed solutions to climate change from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples; and
4. Advocate effective strategies and solutions in response to climate change from the perspective of the cultures, world views, and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, including local, national, regional and international rights-based approaches.