Friday, December 14, 2007

Next Generation of Indigenous Youths Attend Climate Meeting in Bali

Press ReleaseFor immediate release: Friday, December 14, 2007, 13:30pm GMT+8
Contacts: In the US: Tom Goldtooth, (218) 751-4967 or Jihan Gearon (218) 760-1370In Canada: Clayton Thomas-Muller, (218) 760-6632In Bali: Jihan Gearon, +62 81 338998156 and Ben Powless, +613 614 4219

Next Generation of North American Indigenous Youth Attend International Climate Meeting

By Indigenous Environmental Network

BALI, Indonesia -- Today marks the end of the 13th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 13) in Bali. Navajo and Mohawk representatives of the Indigenous Environmental Network leave with frustration about the outcomes of COP 13 but also inspiration from Indigenous leaders.
Jihan Gearon, from the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation and Benjamin Powless, from Mohawk, Six Nations, have been participating in the climate conference in Bali for the past two weeks. Though IEN has been participating in these UNFCCC since 1998, Jihan and Ben came to learn about the proceedings so that the next generation of Indigenous youth will be able to participate in the future. They have been working with other Indigenous Peoples and climate justice organizations to advocate for Indigenous Peoples rights and oppose the false solution of carbon trading.
Gearon says, “What scares me most about this COP isn’t that we came out of it with no targets or plan for post-Kyoto. It’s that the atmosphere of the discussions seems to focus less on stopping climate change and more on how money can be made from the climate change problem, at the expense of Indigenous People.”
Industry representatives came to COP 13 in full force, advocating for market-based solutions to climate change, such as international carbon trading markets. Many industry reps pushed for reforestation projects to take a bigger role in worldwide carbon markets.
“Carbon trading schemes have been detrimental to Indigenous Peoples,” says Powless. “And reforestation projects should not be included in them. Because polluting companies need a forest to stay unused in order to pollute elsewhere, they deny Indigenous Peoples access to their own traditional forests. This is a violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Despite their disappointment, both Powless and Gearon agree they have learned a lot and left with one source of inspiration. The Indigenous Peoples Caucus of COP 13 has been pushing for more meaningful inclusion in climate negotiations and both say working with the caucus has been a positive experience for them.
“It’s inspiring to see Indigenous Peoples from every corner of the world not be scared to speak out in their appeals for the rest of the world to include them in this process,” explains Powless. “And even more than just appealing, they’ve been forceful when necessary even to the point where we’ve staged a few protests here about the UNFCCC process keeping us out of the negotiations.”
Gearon adds, “this is really what Indigenous Peoples the world over need to be capable of doing in support of our rights.”###
What’s missing from the climate talks? Justice!
Peoples from social organizations and movements from across the globe brought the fight for social, ecological and gender justice into the negotiating rooms and onto the streets during the UN climate summit in Bali. [1]
Inside and outside the convention centre, activists demanded alternative policies and practices that protect livelihoods and the environment.
In dozens of side events, reports, impromptu protests and press conferences, the false solutions to climate change – such as carbon offsetting, carbon trading for forests, agrofuels, trade liberalization and privatization pushed by governments, financial institutions and multinational corporations – have been exposed.
Affected communities, Indigenous Peoples, women and peasant farmers called for real solutions to the climate crisis, solutions which have failed to capture the attention of political leaders. These genuine solutions include:
--Reduced consumption.huge financial transfers from North to South based on historical responsibility and ecological debt for adaptation and mitigation costs paid for by redirecting military budgets, innovative taxes and debt cancellation.
--Leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing in appropriate energy-efficiency and safe, clean and community-led renewable energy.
Rights based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water.sustainable family farming and peoples’ food sovereignty.
Inside the negotiations, the rich industrialized countries have put unjustifiable pressure on Southern governments to commit to emissions’ reductions. At the same time, they have refused to live up to their own legal and moral obligations to radically cut emissions and support developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Once again, the majority world is being forced to pay for the excesses of the minority.
Compared to the outcomes of the official negotiations, the major success of Bali is the momentum that has been built towards creating a diverse, global movement for climate justice.
We will take our struggle forward not just in the talks, but on the ground and in the streets – Climate Justice Now!
[1] Many social movements and groups that came together in Bali have agreed to establish a coalition called Climate Justice Now! in order to enhance exchange of information and cooperation among themselves and with other groups with the aim of intensifying actions to prevent and respond to climate change. Justice must be at the heart of tackling climate change, and must in no way be sacrificed.
Members of this coalition include: Carbon Trade Watch, Transnational Institute; Center for Environmental Concerns; Focus on the Global South; Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines; Friends of the Earth International; Gendercc – Women for Climate Justice, Global Forest Coalition; Global Justice Ecology Project; International Forum on Globalization; Kalikasan-Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE); La Via Campesina; Members of the Durban Group for Climate Justice; Oilwatch; Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition, Aotearoa/New Zealand; Sustainable Energy and Economy Network; The Indigenous Environmental Network; Third World Network; WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia; World Rainforest Movement
International press contacts:
Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South. Mobile: +62 852 387 14793 or +66 81 935 0633
Henry Saragih, La Via Campesina. Mobile: +62 816344441
Joseph Zacune, Friends of the Earth International. Mobile: +62 81 338969955
Tamra Gilbertson, TNI +62 8174779110
Sandy Gauntlett, Global Forest Coalition. Mobile: +62 81 338938574
Janet Redmann, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. Mobile +81 338984882
Dr. Michael Dorsey. Mobile +62 81 338 950482 or +1734 945 6424
Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network, +62 81338998156 or +1 218 760 1370
Indonesian press contacts:
Farah Sofa, WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia. Mobile: +62 81 1194773

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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