[from the Indigenous Environmental Network and others]
New York City, NY – Indigenous Peoples attending the Permanent Forum are outraged that their rejection of the carbon market has been ignored in the final report of the 7th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII). The final report of the PFII hails World Bank funded carbon trading, like the Clean Development Mechanism, as “good examples” of partnership despite the human rights violations and environmental destruction they have caused.
“Indigenous Peoples attending the 7th session of the Permanent Forum are profoundly concerned that our key recommendations on climate change are not being taken into account by the Permanent Forum. This Permanent Forum was created precisely to recognize, promote, and support the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” says Florina Lopez, Coordinator of the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network of Abya Yala.
Throughout the two weeks of the Permanent Forum, Indigenous community representatives have consistently testified about the injustices associated with the clean development mechanism projects and have asked that the Permanent Forum not promote the projects. However, in the final report of the Permanent Forum adopted today, these injustices have been ignored.
In response, many groups under the name of the Indigenous Caucus of Abya Yala took the floor today to express their concerns. Their statement affirmed that the recommendations of the Permanent Forum do not properly reflect their positions. They used the opportunity to affirm their rejection of carbon trading mechanisms and concerns over specific implementations. Over 30 organizations at the forum called for the final report to include a section outlining their concerns.
In the background paper for this session (Document E/C.19/2008/10), three projects are being upheld to illustrate the “clean development mechanism projects that are being implemented in indigenous peoples territories with good results.” However, there are grave problems with each of these projects including violations of the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For example, the Jeripachi wind power project in Colombia did not get the free, prior, and informed consent of the Wayuu people to build this wind farm in a sacred territory of the Wayuu People. Indigenous Peoples’ organizations contend the assassination of over 200 Wayuu People prior to the implementation of the project was to clear the area for this and other projects. Additionally, most of the energy generated from the wind farm is used to power the Cerrajon mine, the biggest open air coal mine in the world, which itself is known for numerous
human rights violations and environmental damages. Representatives of the Wayuu people who attended the Permanent Forum didn’t even know the project was being promoted as a good example.
“In promoting the clean development mechanism projects and carbon trading, the Permanent Forum is allowing oil companies who are the biggest emitters for greenhouse gases, to continue to pollute,” says Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Promoting the commodification of the air is a corruption of our traditional teachings and violates the original instructions of Indigenous Peoples.”
It has recently come to RTNA’s attention that-once again-the United Nations has turned a deaf ear to serious issues and concerns formally raised in recent weeks by many of the world’s Indigenous Peoples. True to a 60-plus year-long pattern of denial, high-handedness, and self-serving conflicts of interest-the UN consciously acted to invalidate the legitimate concerns raised by many Indigenous groups when it presented its new adopted position regarding international carbon trading schemes at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).
In a press release drafted Friday May 2, 2008 (see below)-Indigenous representatives attending the UNPFII in New York City protested emphatically when they learned that their resounding rejection of the carbon market was ignored completely in the UN’s final report of the 7th Session of the PFII. This report instead trumpeted the disastrous false solutions offerred and funded by the World Bank such as the so-called Clean Development Mechanism-labeling such corporate-profiteering schemes as “good examples” of partnership, even though they have resulted in wholesale ecological destruction, cultural desecration, and rampant human rights abuses the world over.
This forum was created specifically to recognize, promote, and support the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to address the mounting life-or-death ecological and environmental-justice issues that concern all of Life on this planet. Indigenous Peoples from all over the Americas testified wholeheartedly during the 2 weeks of this forum to the chronic injustices of these development schemes, requesting that the forum not promote these projects. Rather than heeding the pleas of its Indigenous constituents, the forum was mutated by the UN into yet another diplomacy circus used to present, impose, and implement neoliberal, neocolonial policies that are designed to appease extractive and development industries (itself an impossible mission) at the expense of the Land, Life, and People of the Earth.
On Friday May 2, 2008, many Indigenous groups-under the name of the Indigenous Caucus of Abya Yala-took the floor to express their concerns. Their statement affirmed that the recommendations of the Permanent Forum do not properly reflect their positions at all. They used the opportunity to affirm their blatant rejection of carbon trading mechanisms, and raised further concerns with a number of specific implementations thereof. Over 30 organizations at the forum called for the final report to include a section outlining their concerns.
RTNA recognizes this inherently destructive pattern as yet more “business-as-usual,” with the UN yet again enthusiastically serving as the global political puppet for multinational extractive and development interests-all united under the greenwashing banner of false solutions and “green” capitalism. This is an outrage, and RTNA finds the UN’s stance thoroughly reprehensible-and stands in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Earth. RTNA formally condemns the UN’s continued, consistent pattern of denial regarding the full and necessary recognition of the ecocidal and genocidal impacts of these profit-motivated “development” mechanisms.