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Indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge in the context of the UN framework convention on climate change

Compilation of decisions and conclusions adopted by the parties to the convention - 2019 Update
Global environmental change Climate change Climate change adaptation First Peoples Environmental management

Even though Indigenous Peoples contribute little to greenhouse gas emissions, owing to their dependence upon and close relationship with the environment and its resources, they are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change in all areas of the world. To make matters worse, climate policies often further undermine the rights of Indigenous Peoples by imposing new restrictions on their relations with natural ecosystems or by leading to forceful relocations motivated by energy or infrastructure projects.

This text compilation offers a useful tool for all actors involved in climate policies and climate actions, including governments, private corporations, and financial institutions. It lists all of the references to Indigenous Peoples and traditional knowledge adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) bodies. These references, mandates, and commitments constitute a floor, as many national and international legal frameworks extend beyond the references adopted by the UNFCCC. The rules, principles, and norms established under the climate agreements are complementary to other norms adopted by governments on this issue.

Key Findings:

  • This piece of work done by CIEL and the IIPFCC is an important basic reference which should be used to constantly remind State Parties of what they have agreed to and to work closely with them to implement these decisions.
  • Indigenous Peoples have participated in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation process since 2000 to ensure that their rights, knowledge, and perspectives are duly respected by the decisions adopted there.
  • This compilation first cites relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement (Part 3.1). It then lists the mandates related to the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (Part 3.2) and compiles by thematic policy area all other references to Indigenous Peoples and traditional knowledge (Part 3.3). This document also includes a chronological index at the end of the compilation which lists all the references to the documents mentioned in the compilation by year of adoption.
  • These decisions and mandates, adopted by consensus by the Parties, must inform the design and implementation of climate policies at all levels – local, national, regional, and international. Unfortunately, many policies and projects implemented in the name of climate action disregard the rights of Indigenous Peoples or ignore traditional knowledge


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