In the lead up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP 26) that took place in Glasgow, Scotland from November 1-12th, IFIP partnered with Nia Tero to offer a webinar series focused on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change. The pre-COP webinar series featured Indigenous leaders from around the world that discussed climate related issues impacting their work and communities. We were honored to hear their personal stories of what it means to be on the front line of climate change impacts, and how Indigenous Peoples all over the world are implementing traditional Indigenous knowledge systems to combat climate change and prevent continued destruction and exploitation of resources by extractive industries.
The intended outcome for our webinar series was to provide donors and Indigenous allies the opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous leaders regarding their priorities related to climate change and understand how they can uplift and amplify the voices of Indigenous Peoples at global forums such as the UNFCCC.
Important messages and highlights from our webinar panelists
The first webinar in the series was dedicated to Climate Finance and Philanthropy with panelists Jennifer Tauli Corpuz, Global Policy and Advocacy Lead for Nia Tero, and Max von Abendroth, Executive Director, Donors and Foundations Network of Europe (DAFNE). Link to webinar recording HERE.
Highlights and main messages related to Climate Finance & Philanthropy:
Ms. Tauli Corpuz discussed the climate finance gap impacting Indigenous Peoples globally. Despite managing and protecting some of the most critically important forest ecosystems, a recent report found Indigenous Peoples receive less than 1% of Official Development Assistance funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Most funding to IP flows through large intermediaries or through sub-grants on large programs. The problems of unequal access to climate financing including the existing governance structures of public funding that make it difficult or impossible for Indigenous Peoples to comply must be solved. Ms. Tauli Corpuz stressed that philanthropy is best positioned to address the urgency of protecting our planet and highlighted the importance of foundations taking a rights-based approach with their funding pledges to ensure direct funding to Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous-led Funds.
Max Von Abendroth of DAFNE provided an overview of the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change which to date has over 400 foundations that have signed on and committed to act on climate. The International Commitment is open to all foundations regardless of mission, status, or geographic location. IFIP played a role on the final draft and approval of the text of the Commitment, ensuring that Indigenous Peoples, biodiversity, gender, equal opportunities, root causes, and more to the final text. IFIP serves on the Task Force and presented on the official launch of the Commitment at the COP26 Philanthropy Roundtable and urges our members to take action and consider becoming a #PhilanthropyForClimate signatory as the growing climate emergency presents a serious risk to the pursuit of philanthropic aims everywhere.
IFIP’s second webinar of the series focused on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change in the Pacific. John Aini, Founder & Team Leader, Ailan Awareness and Dr. Teina Rongo, Chairperson, Kōrero o te `Ōrau served as panelists. Maureen Penjueli, Coordinator of the Pacific Network on Globalization (PANG) moderated the webinar session. Link to webinar recording HERE.
Highlights and main messages for the Pacific:
- Indigenous Knowledge systems are playing a critical role in the Pacific to meet the challenges of climate change. The role of Indigenous Knowledge must be enhanced, valued and respected especially by foreigners coming into these territories.
- Indigenous Knowledge systems were developed and adapted over hundreds/thousands of years to a particular environment. Implementing these knowledge systems is how Indigenous Peoples will be resilient and confront complex, modern problems such as climate change. Examples provided of implementing Indigenous knowledge and management systems include the resurgence of vala in New Ireland, PNG, and the culturally based reforestation project in the Takuva’ine Valley, Cook Islands.
- These are personal stories that have been shared. Indigenous Peoples are on the front lines, disproportionately affected by climate change impacts, and challenging large development projects on their territories.
- Uplift Indigenous intergenerational responsibility and support development of strong leadership within Indigenous communities. Recognize that Indigenous stewardship responsibility is not just for today, but for ancestors that gifted the knowledge and for those yet to be born.
- We need to marry Western science and Indigenous Knowledge systems with education so we can take our young people with us into the future.
The final webinar of the series was dedicated to Indigenous Women and Climate Change. Panelists included Rebecca Sinclair, Research and Policy Lead, Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) and Edna Kaptoyo, Program Monitoring, Reporting and Learning Team, Pawanka Fund. Link to webinar recording HERE.
Highlights and main messages for Indigenous Women and Climate Change:
- Across the globe Indigenous Women and children are the most negatively impacted by climate change.
- Based on their social roles as primary caregivers and providers of food, Indigenous Women’s livelihoods depend on natural resources. Drought and natural disasters affect food security and have caused forced migration in some parts of Africa.
- Impacts to natural resources results in more conflict, directly impacting women due to increases in gender-based violence.
- Indigenous Women facilitate inter-generational learning, which is important for traditional knowledge, building capacities of communities and also raising awareness on climate change impacts and Indigenous led solution within their communities.
- Indigenous women are carriers of ceremonies, possessing intimate knowledge of their lands and the waters, and knowledge of Indigenous-led solutions and should absolutely be included in the development of climate policy.
- While there have been advances with gender issues within the Climate Change Convention framework—such as the Enhanced Lima work Programme on Gender which calls for more knowledge exchanges, support for capacity development for Indigenous Women including gender responsive technology needs, and inclusion of Indigenous women in national delegations—there has been little action on these initiatives.
- Some of the major gaps for Indigenous women regarding national climate policy creation include:
- Indigenous Peoples are not invited to the table when climate policy is created.
- Indigenous Women are underrepresented, or completely eliminated, in national climate policy commitments and initiatives.
- Too few Indigenous Women serve on national UN delegations.
- Lack of access to funding, particularly for Indigenous Women led initiatives, to support adaptation and mitigation community led actions.
- Funders and Indigenous allies need to use their influence and privilege to ensure Indigenous Peoples, particularly, Indigenous Women and youth have a voice (not just a seat) at global policy forums such as UNFCCC.
- Nature-based solutions to climate change ARE Indigenous-led solutions.
- Above all, the tenets of free, prior, and informed consent must be upheld. It is important to not confuse consultation with consent.
Key Outcomes from COP26
Overall, many Indigenous groups and representatives attending COP26 reported leaving Glasgow disappointed citing lack of access to negotiations and vague and down-graded commitments that inadequately address critical climate issues. But, there were small victories as a result of the presence and advocacy of Indigenous Peoples and their delegations from around the world. Indigenous Peoples represented the second largest delegation of civil society at COP26, second only to the 500+ representatives from the oil and gas sector. Two Indigenous-led organizations, and members of IFIP, Indigenous Climate Action and Cultural Survival, each sent Indigenous delegations to COP26. You can read their analyses and responses to the outcomes of COP26 here and here.
On the climate finance front, two major commitments were announced with potentially historical implications for support of climate mitigation and adaptation funding specifically for Indigenous Peoples. In the weeks leading up to COP26 the Protecting Our Planet Challenge committed $5 billion USD in support of protecting 30% of the planet by 2030—the largest commitment ever made toward addressing the nexus of climate, biodiversity loss and human health crisis. Twenty percent of this pledge, or $1 billion, has been earmarked specifically for work with Indigenous communities.
On the first day of COP26, another historical commitment was made by the UK, Norway, Germany, the US, and the Netherlands, in partnership with 17 foundations, pledged $ 1.7 billion investment to support Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to protect the biodiverse tropical forests that are critical to protecting the planet from climate change, and biodiversity loss. Concerns have been expressed that the portion of this commitment coming from state actors is not new money but is part of existing funding that will be channeled through Official Development Aid, which due to administrative and reporting requirements of ODA funding, these funds will likely not reach Indigenous Peoples directly.
IFIP issued a statement regarding these COP26 funding commitments highlighting the need for transparency, accessibility and accountability. The statement includes that, “[w]hile this is a moment of celebration, these commitments are not sufficient until they are translated into action. IFIP looks forward to seeing funding reach Indigenous-Led Funds, Indigenous organizations and networks directly allowing for Indigenous Peoples to benefit from these past due and timely commitments. IFIP calls on philanthropy and international donors to be transparent and accountable towards the commitments they have made and ensure that Indigenous Peoples are able to make self-determined use of climate funding. As the only global donor network dedicated to Indigenous Peoples worldwide, IFIP welcomes partnering with the foundations who are part of these commitments to serve as an accountability partner to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are at the center of the decision-making process and that there are transparent mechanisms for Indigenous led organizations to access funding.”
Read the statement in its entirety HERE.