19 Dec 2018

Lack of indigenous rights protection in Paris agreement frustrates ropu

9:28 am on 19 December 2018

A group of Māori and Pasifika rangatahi are frustrated that indigenous rights are not specifically protected in the Paris Climate rulebook.

Top row (L-R): India Logan-Riley, Nakia Randle, Nevada Huaki-Foote
Bottom row (L-R): Kaeden Watts, Kahu Kutia, Hana Teipo, Annie Te One

Top row (L-R): India Logan-Riley, Nakia Randle, Nevada Huaki-Foote Bottom row (L-R): Kaeden Watts, Kahu Kutia, Hana Teipo, Annie Te One Photo: Trinity Thompson-Browne

The ropu of seven have been at the Climate Talks in Poland for the last two weeks pushing for indigenous rights to be protected.

While indigenous rights are mentioned in the agreement, head delegate India Logan-Riley said the group wanted it be included in the rulebook to further safeguard indigenous rights.

In the end, there were mentions of indigenous participation and knowledge but no explicit protection of indigenous rights.

"The fact that we even got a rulebook is amazing - it shows some collective effort, some collective intention to address climate change, but we are really let down by the lack of rights language in the agreement.

"These basic human rights aren't new and countries knew that we wanted the rights language in the text - there's no good reason it shouldn't have been in there but their political agendas blocked the rights language and got it taken out."

"That's the really frustrating part and that's where we'll need to keep doing the work."

Another "huge gap" in the rulebook was the lack of reference to an international report released in October citing the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C, Ms Logan-Riley said.

"There was a huge disagreement in the second week about whether to welcome the 1.5 report or not, and eventually any reference to that was taken out, so they just noted the report was done and were glad the report was done."

The group were the only indigenous youth delegation at the conference, although they worked alongside other indigenous people who attended with other delegations,

This included working together to get the Indigenous Peoples Platform operations, which ensures indigenous knowledge is protected in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Then when the negotiations started to slow down and the rights language was being threatened we organised these bigger actions to get media attention and to act in solidarity with other members of civil society who were pushing for rights language."

Between lobbying and proposing text for the rulebook, the group also shared a number of waiata "to connect the heads and the hearts together and to move people in a wairua way as well," Ms Logan-Riley said.

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