November 12, 2022

Indigenous Peoples Have Their Own Agenda at COP27, Demanding Direct Financing

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Indigenous Rights
SHARM EL-SHEIKH , Nov 12 2022 (IPS) - Indigenous peoples are no longer content just to attend as observers and to be seen as victims of the impacts of the current development model, at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) on Climate Change. That is why they came to the summit in Egypt with an agenda of their own, including the demand that their communities directly receive funding for climate action.
Billions of dollars in aid funds are provided each year by governments, private funds and foundations for climate adaptation and mitigation. Donors often seek out indigenous peoples, who are now considered the best guardians of climate-healthy ecosystems. However, only crumbs end up actually reaching native territories.
“We are tired of funding going to indigenous foundations without indigenous people,” Yanel Venado Giménez told IPS, at the indigenous peoples’ stand at this gigantic world conference, which has 33,000 accredited participants. “All the money goes to pay consultants and the costs of air-conditioned offices.”
“International donors are present at the COP27. That is why we came to tell them that direct funding is the only way to ensure that climate projects take into account indigenous cultural practices. We have our own agronomists, engineers, lawyers and many trained people. In addition, we know how to work as a team,” she added.
Giménez, a member of the Ngabe-Buglé people, represents the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (CONAPIP) and is herself a lawyer.
That indigenous peoples, because they often live in many of the world’s best-conserved territories, are on the front line of the battle against the global environmental crisis is beyond dispute.
For this reason, a year ago, at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the governments of the United Kingdom, Norway, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and 17 private donors pledged up to 1.7 billion dollars for mitigation and adaptation actions by indigenous communities.
However, although there is no precise data on how much of that total has actually been forthcoming, the communities say they have received practically nothing.
“At each of these conferences we hear big announcements of funding, but then we return to our territories and that agenda is never talked about again,” Julio César López Jamioy, a member of the Inga people who live in Putumayo, in Colombia’s Amazon rainforest, told IPS.
“In 2021 we were told that it was necessary for us to build mechanisms to access and to be able to execute those resources, which are generally channeled through governments. That is why we are working with allies on that task,” he added.
López Jamioy, who is coordinator of the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC), believes it is time to thank many of the non-governmental organizations for the services they have provided.
“Up to a certain point we needed them to work with us, but now it is time to act through our own organizational structures,” he said.
Latin American presence
There is no record of how many indigenous Latin Americans are in Sharm el-Sheikh, a seaside resort in the Sinai Peninsula in southern Egypt, thanks to different sources of funding, but it is estimated to be between 60 and 80.
Approximately 250 members of indigenous peoples from all over the world are participating in COP27, in the part of the Sharm el-Sheikh Convention Center that hosts social organizations and institutions.
From there, they are raising their voices and their proposals to the halls and stands that host the delegates and official negotiators of the 196 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the organizer of