Poznan Stall Over Indigenous Rights
United Nations Climate Change talks currently taking place in Poznan, Poland, have yielded few results. Even topics that had been anticipated to be resolved quickly aren't being agreed upon. One such topic is Aboriginal rights and title in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Talks aimed at finding ways to protect tropical forests in a new global deal on global warming hit problems today after a row over the rights of indigenous people.
Green groups accused the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada of deleting a line about indigenous peoples' rights from a draft agreement due to have been published tonight, as part of UN talks on climate change.
The original confidential draft, seen by the Guardian, talked of "noting the rights and importance of engaging indigenous peoples and other local communities".
The amended version mentions only "recognising the need to promote the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities". The change sparked protests at the Poznan meeting by delegates representing indigenous groups from Panama and the US.
Campaigners said the suggested change would leave indigenous people across the world vulnerable to exploitation under proposals to pay tropical nations not to cut down forests.
A joint statement from groups including Friends of the Earth and the Rainforest Foundation condemned the change as "totally unacceptable". It said: "The forests being targetted... are those which indigenous peoples have sustained and protected for thousands of years. The rights of forest peoples to continue playing this role, and being rewarded for doing so, has to be recognised."
Talks continue, but the row threatens to derail attempts to agree a rulebook for forest-protection schemes, which was supposed to have paved the way to include them in a new global climate deal to succeed the Kyoto protocol. Deforestation causes almost a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Negotiators had said such an agreement on forests was one of the few breakthroughs expected at the Poznan talks, which are largely a preparatory meeting for more serious negotiations next year.
In each respective country there is much debate and negotiation surrounding Indigenous rights to environmental areas and it is important that this be brought up in the international community, but it's just disheartening to see that nothing can be agreed upon in Poznan.