Thursday, November 20, 2008

UN process in reaching a new climate change deal excludes those most affected

Minority Rights Group International: A new climate change deal will be seriously compromised if countries continue to shut out the voices of those most affected by global warming, an international human rights group warns in a new report. With just ten days to go before the start of crucial UN climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland, Minority Rights Group International says the UN process is flawed as communities that have first-hand experience of dealing with climate change are not allowed to participate.

…“It is incomprehensible how governments believe they can discuss the effects of climate change and agree targets without the input of those who already face the impacts of climate change,” says Mark Lattimer, MRG’s Executive Director.

Targets to be decided by states include those related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), but forest-dwelling communities who are mostly indigenous people are not being effectively included in the discussions. “Indigenous peoples have for centuries adapted to changing environments and would be able to contribute substantially to adaptation strategies the UN is trying to include in a new climate change treaty,” he says.

The impact of climate change hits indigenous and minority communities the hardest because they live in ecologically diverse areas and their livelihoods are dependent on the environment, says the new MRG briefing launched today. Inuits in the arctic are seeing people fall through melting ice, long droughts in east Africa are resulting in food shortages for pastoralists and Khmer Krom rice farmers in the Mekong delta in south Vietnam are seeing their crop yields fall. Minorities are often amongst the poorest and most marginalised communities and are most likely to face discrimination when climate-related disasters occur, as is the experience of lower-caste Dalits in India

Portrait of an Inuit man, 1906

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