IEN Statement on Climate at the UNPFII in NYC

For Posting:

At the 7th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Intervention on Climate: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
As part of the “Road of Destruction” campaign of the Indigenous Environmental
Network, Indigenous grassroots representatives from communities traveled to New York
City, New York to make a statement to the Indigenous Peoples of the world and world
government leaders and UN agencies on the issue of climate change and fossil fuels.
The following statement (intervention) was read to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. All statements were limited to 3 minutes and even
though our collective statement should have been much longer, we respected the
policy and limited our words to the 3 minute limit. Our delegation recognized many
of the other statements given by Indigenous peoples from around the world. However,
we recognized the link to fossil fuels was not being highlighted. Casey
Camp-Horinek, of the Ponca Nation was selected by the IEN delegation to read the
intervention. As a member of concerned Ponca tribal members, Casey Camp has been
fighting for environmental and health issues in the shadow of the international
headquarters of the Conoco-Phillips refinery and the Carbon Black coke processing
plant. After the statement was read, Casey asked for all Indigenous Peoples that are
affected by oil, gas, coal and fossil fuel development, to please stand up. Almost
the whole assembly stood up. This visual action demonstrated the need of
CO2olonalism and petro politics to be addressed. IEN with support of Indigenous
organizations throughout the world are demanding the Permanent Forum to call for an
EMERGENCY WORLD SESSION of the UN General Assembly to address this issue (please see
the Recommendation at the end of the statement below). Climate change is an
Indigenous rights issue!

April 2008

Topic: Climate

Submitted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, with support of global
endorsements: Centre for Organisation Research & Education (Indigenous Peoples’
Centre for Policy and Human Rights in India’s Eastern Himalayan Territories Center
for Organization Research and Education (CORE), Federation of Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples in Asia, Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, Western
Shoshone Defense Project, Cabildo Wayuu Noona, International Indian Treaty Council,
Asociación Indígena Ambiental, Seventh Generation Fund.
Thank you, Madame Chair, for the opportunity to address the Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues. I’m Casey Camp-Horinek a member of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma.

I represent the Indigenous Environmental Network, which includes the following
affiliate organizations and Canadian First Nations governments that are with me
today: Pa Tha Tah, REDOIL [Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands],
Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Tribal Campus
Climate Challenge Youth delegation, Dooda’ Desert Rock, Fort Berthold Environmental
Awareness Committee, Passamaquoddy Bay Defenders, Black Mesa Water Coalition,
Tulalip Youth, Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment.

We cannot deny that the dangers of climate change violate the human rights of
Indigenous Peoples. Climate change threatens our food systems and ability to
practice our ceremonies, forces removals from our traditional lands and territories,
and creates disproportionate health impacts on Indigenous Peoples. Climate change is
more than an environmental issue to Indigenous Peoples. Our cultures are in crisis –
the inability of governments to address the issue of climate change is tantamount to
cultural genocide for our Peoples. The UN and relevant international agencies must
address these human rights violations immediately. We cannot wait; climate change is
a real issue in the communities we are from. We must build upon the discussion of
impacts, and take action to create real solutions to climate change and global
warming now.

Madame Chair, while there is a very justifiable increase of global interest on
studying climate issues and debates on its solutions, it is business as usual with
the expansion of oil, coal and other fossil fuel development within our homelands.
The international scientific community, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, which was established through a resolution of the UN General
Assembly, has concluded that the burning of oil, gas, liquid natural gas, and coal,
as fossil fuels, is the primary source of human-induced climate change and global
warming. The Earth has already warmed by 0.76 degrees Celsius (nearly 1.4 degrees
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists warn that a temperature
rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) could have serious consequences.
Above the 2 degrees level, scientists are saying this is the tipping point where
temperatures and weather events will be out of control, with an acceleration of
climate changes and global warming. Concerned scientists are now saying we are
almost at that tipping point, within 10 years.

For the well being of Mother Earth and future generations, the world must move more
aggressively then it is now, towards a rigorous plan towards a zero fossil-fuel
emissions level by 2050. Conventional fossil-fuel supplies are limited, even if we
tear up Mother Earth to extract every last drop of oil and shard of coal. Tearing up
the sacredness of our Mother Earth to get to the last drops of oil is not
sustainable and violates every principle of our Indigenous Original Instructions.

As Indigenous Peoples gathered here at the Seventh Session of the United Nations
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, we are in solidarity with many other
Indigenous Peoples of every region of our Mother Earth in demanding a worldwide
moratorium on new exploration, extraction, and processing of fossil fuels on
Indigenous Peoples land and territories. 

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General
Assembly on September 13, 2007 and consecrates fundamental rights of Indigenous
Peoples. Articles 10, 26, 27, 29, and 32 justify the following recommendation:

1)        The Permanent Forum, through ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council] call on the UN
General Assembly to convene an emergency world session to fully explore, with all
branches of the UN, and relevant treaty bodies, in particular UNCERD, the multiple
impacts of climate change and its link to fossil fuel development and the human
rights of Indigenous Peoples, to include the topics of, but not limited to social,
economic, cultural, environmental, health, food security, land and water rights, and
treaty rights.

Thank you.


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