As the next round of negotiations under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened in Panama, a gathering in Finland of Indigenous leaders from around the world has called upon the international community to remove scientific bias against Indigenous knowledge from climate change science and policy. The meeting adopted the Sevettijärvi Declaration, which calls upon the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to make all efforts necessary to include Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives in its assessment processes.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA) network will be releasing a synthesis report of the results of their local assessments in 2012, which will include evidence of climate change, impacts and adaptation and mitigation responses from the most representative ecosystems on the planet and provide recommendations to policy makers for future actions. “Addressing climate change requires that climate justice be taken seriously”, said Paulina Feodoroff of the Skolt Sámi nation. “We remind the international community that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples establishes international minimum standards for the respect, protection and fulfilment of Indigenous peoples’ rights. The IPCC and others are therefore obliged to include traditional knowledge in assessment reports.”
The Sevettijärvi Declaration (also available in Spanish) contains further analysis and examples of the climate change impacts on Indigenous peoples and includes specific requests to the IPCC, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and national governments on how ensure that Indigenous knowledge properly informs climate change science and policy.