An Indigenous Peoples’ Analysis of COP26 Decisions

An Indigenous Peoples’ Analysis of COP26 Decisions (UN Climate Conference)

It starts with the following two paragraphs:

From October 31 to November 12, 2021, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP 26) took place in Glasgow, Scotland. As Cultural Survival reflects on the outcomes of COP26, we can’t help but feel that despite the tremendous efforts brought forth by Indigenous Peoples and our delegations from across the world, global leaders failed to act on the urgency of the climate crisis. Global leaders failed to empathize with what we, as Indigenous Peoples, experience on a daily basis– the direct impacts and catastrophes of climate change. If the climate crisis is to be abated, and if we are to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5֯°C, the global community must wake up and acknowledge climate change is an urgent matter that requires true commitment and changed behaviors now.

This year, Indigenous Peoples represented the second-largest civil society delegation in attendance at COP26, second only to oil and gas lobbyists which accounted for 500+ delegates. The general feeling towards COP26 is best captured by Cultural Survival’s Lead on Brazil and COP26 delegate, Edson Krenak (Krenak), “COP26 brought us many disappointments. As always, Indigenous Peoples, as guardians of the land did not sit at the table where negotiations and decisions were made. States continue, together with corporations, to try to save the economy, capital, the money machine that is capitalism or colonialism – in this context, it is only these terms that are interchangeable, and they are not working to save the planet!”

And another paragraph further down:

Graeme Reed (Anishinabee), Co-Chair of the IIPFCC spoke about the activities of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP), which was established at COP24 in 2018 in Katowice, Poland, along with the creation of a newly constituted body, the Facilitated Working Group, which has seven Indigenous representatives that are self-selected from the seven UN socio-cultural regions and seven States, “At COP26, we had the first-ever annual Knowledge Keepers Gathering. Twenty-eight knowledge keepers from around the world organized within those seven UN socio-cultural regions and we were able to actually have our own meeting that allowed us to create our own space. This is the first time ever that we’ve had a meeting within the parameters of the Blue Zone, which is the UNFCCC-controlled framework that explicitly asked States to stay out. For me, that’s just an indication of our ability and our growing ability to create space for Indigenous Peoples within these systems.” 

Just to make sure, I do not think that the outcomes of COP26 are something to celebrate in the sense of: the world´s big destruction players finally woke up/admitted their on-going crimes and made the necessary U-turn. And the authors of the article see it similarly, as you´ll see reading it.

Yet, what is indeed a deep satisfaction to me personally is the fact that Indigenous People(s) finally took up a far more prominent role in advocating their and Mother Gaia´s rights “within these systems”.

After all, that´s the major objective I have been working and fighting for during the last two decades: to turn an almost exclusively defensive Indigenous positioning – since the age of invasion and destruction euphemistically called colonialism began – into an offensive one.  To have Indigenous wisdom and sense of all-beings-justice become a major teaching tool for the entire world.

And now, it has started to happen on a global scale!

Another excerpt from the respective article:

“Now, more than ever, Indigenous Peoples and other movements will continue to unify to pressure States to respect Indigenous rights, human rights, and FPIC.  Parallel to this process, it is important to reflect on the consumerism in our households, especially in developed countries as consumers are the final clients of what is produced from extractivism. Over and over, I heard Elders say at COP26: ‘take only what you need and use it wisely’,” says Avexnim Cojti, Cultural Survival Director of Programs and COP26 delegate.