23 January, 2020

Indigenous Peoples’ Submission to the Call for Public Inputs on the GCF Indigenous Peoples Policy

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With a decision adopted at BM15, the Board of the Green Climate Fund mandated the Secretariat to develop and consider a Fund-wide Indigenous Peoples Policy at its 17th meeting that was held in Songdo in July 2017, a decision that was very welcome by us, indigenous peoples, and civil society organizations worldwide.[1]

The Secretariat since then launched a process of elaboration of a draft policy[2] that took due notice of the various proposals and elaborations, comments and critiques voiced by indigenous peoples’ representatives at the GCF and also originating from experience in the field, as well as the basic demands reiterated by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) in the course of its activities at UNFCCC COPs and preparatory meetings.

The IIPFCC pointed to some key elements for a GCF policy on indigenous peoples and more broadly to climate change policies and programs, notably the recognition of international obligations on indigenous peoples’ rights such as those contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to full and effective participation at all levels, the recognition of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and of the positive contribution of indigenous peoples to climate mitigation and adaptation, by means of traditional knowledge and traditional livelihoods.

The three ensuing overarching principles can be summarized as follows:

  1. Do no harm – climate change policies and programs should not cause harm to indigenous peoples. Hence, a system of safeguards and subsequent compliance and accountability and monitoring framework should be put in place;
  2. Do good – the positive role and contribution of indigenous peoples as key actors in climate mitigation and adaptation, and historical stewards of ecological balance and fragile ecosystems should be recognized formally and practically, by envisaging modalities for direct access to finance and the capacity to design, develop and implement projects based on traditional livelihoods and traditional knowledge;
  3. The full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, including indigenous women at all levels, from the institutional level, in decision-making, to the field level. This means, among others, the recognition of indigenous peoples as a distinct constituency, as the case is, under the UNFCCC and in many of the climate funds (but not yet at the GCF), of their status as active observers (this is not yet the case at the GCF), and the identification of functions that would allow indigenous peoples to be duly considered, such as Indigenous Peoples Focal Points at Secretariat level, or in the upper management. In practical terms, this would also entail the adoption of tailored guidance and tools to ensure that indigenous peoples fully and effectively participate in decision making, and project and program identification design, implementation, appraisal and monitoring.


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[1] The Board , “having reviews document GCF/B.15/02 “Report on the Activities of the Co-Chairs”,

(a) Requests the Secretariat to prepare for consideration by the Board, at its seventeenth meeting, a fund-wide Indigenous Peoples policy and

(b) invites submissions from the Board, and Alternative members and observers organizations, in relation to the development of the GCF Indigenous Peoples Policy.”

[2]As per the Report on the Activities of the Secretariat presented at B17. The Secretariat proposed a process of consultation that could have extended the timeframe of adoption of the Policy, that in our opinion can and should be adopted at B18.  http://www.greenclimate.fund/documents/20182/751020/GCF_B.17_Inf.01_-_Report_on_the_activities_of_the_Secretariat.pdf/08db0fe2-e40c-44cd-baba-f3d749001ecb