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All over the world, attention please!!!


–By Mengxiao Han, Nanjing, China

I watched the press conference about Tebtebba Foundation which is specifically about the indigenous people’s positions on the ongoing climate change negotiations. Speakers on behalf of those indigenous people came from the Arctic, Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and the Pacific. All the issues and questions were about two main points, indigenous people and climate change and shifting cultivation and climate change.

We all know our mother earth is no longer in a period of climate change, but in climate crisis. Indigenous people have played a vital role in defending and healing the world. They assert that the inherited rights of the indigenous people must be fully respected in all decision making above processes and activities related in climate.

One speaker who came from Malaysia mentioned that hundreds of indigenous people from all over the world met together a week before UNFCCC in order to put forward different issues related in specific areas. One common concern is that the indigenous people’s voices are not yet being heard. As indigenous people are most vulnerable and most affected by climate change, they want the world to hear their voice and their rights to be acknowledged. The speaker pointed out that indigenous people are the lowest carbon emmiters in the world. Another speaker from Africa spoke of the urgent issue of droughts in his community. Because of climate change, droughts have brought famine and large amount of migration due to the limited resources. Also, conflicts rose up among herdsman, as cows competed to eat grass.


Climate change affects the life situation of those indigenous people. Lands and territories disappear. People are being forced to get out of their lands, and move into other territories. Indigenous people have lost self determination, connections to their biodiversity and cultural rights, problems to which people all over the world should pay close attention. Those people are warning the public to ensure their voices are being heard. As a result, they need governments’ support urgently.

Although practical problems have been proposed in the conference, indigenous people still need to go through a long way to achieve their goals. As one of the leaders said, the Bangkok conference is the last chance for them to announce their declarations before the Copenhagen submit in December. Indigenous people are suffering from the harsh climate change now.

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