24 April, 2014

Tsunami in Samoa, No Room for Failure, Urgent Solutions Needed

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Bangkok, 29 Sept 2009 (Malia Nobrega) -- Early this morning an 8.3 Richter scale earthquake and a resultant tsunami has caused immense damages to village communities located along the coast and the numbers of deaths continue to rise. The indigenous peoples of these islands have reported that this is the first time they have seen such a thing in their life. After the earthquake occurred the tsunami came almost immediately.

We, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), express our sympathy and deepest condolences for the families of Samoa and other affected Pacific island nations. Although this seems to be a natural disaster we believe that it is man-made. These are the results and affects of climate change which is largely caused by human activity.

The IIPFCC call on all Parties gathered here in Bangkok for urgent solutions especially on the part of Annex I Countries. We are already sensing that negotiations are heading towards failure due to the fact that some Parties do not want to sacrifice their interests for climate justice.

We, indigenous peoples, are not ready to accept any imposed measures that are likely going to fail in the long term nor short term.

The climate crisis threatens the very survival of indigenous peoples of the world, particularly forest-dependent, ice-dependent peoples, peoples in voluntary isolation, and the indigenous peoples of small island states and local communities. Addressing such vulnerabilities requires recognition, respect and strengthening of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, and strengthening the resilience of ecosystems and Indigenous Peoples and local communities' capacities to adapt to climate change. Ecosystem-based adaptation based on holistic indigenous peoples’ systems and rights can deliver significant social, cultural, spiritual and economic values to Indigenous Peoples and local communities as well as to the biodiversity of indigenous lands and territories. This should be considered with the full participation of indigenous peoples in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these measures. The empowerment of Indigenous peoples and local communities is critical to successful adaptation strategies to climate change.

Climate change governance must transcend state-governments' negotiations, to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples which includes the full and effective participation in all negotiations by Indigenous Peoples' traditional governments, institutions and organizations. It must also embrace diverse contributions and inter-cultural collaboration, recognizing distinct and valuable contributions from children and youth, women, indigenous peoples and local communities. All voices need to be included in climate governance and decision-making: we are all learners and teachers together in addressing human-induced climate change