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Indigenous representatives ask to include safeguards in the Paris Agreement’s Rule Book

Photography: Servindi

Servindi, December 4, 2018.- Indigenous representatives emphasized the need to include safeguards in the Paris Agreement Rule Book during a dialogue holded with María Fernanda Espinosa, United Nations General Assembly president.

The purpose is that the safeguards - such as those adopted at COP 16 in Cancun - protect and prevent the Paris Agreement implementation from violating the rights of indigenous peoples.

The meeting was held on Sunday, December 2, in the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 24) held in Poland.

The meeting was attended by indigenous representatives of the seven regions, including the two co-presidents of the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change.

Another issue of the indigenous organization is the implementation and operation of the International Platform of Traditional Knowledge established in the decisions of COP 21.

Decision 1, paragraph 135 of the Paris Agreement: (The Conference of the Parties) recognizes the need to strengthen knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to addressing and responding to climate change, and establishes a platform for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner.

The aforementioned platform seeks to be a space to create synergies and for indigenous peoples to participate in a more structured way in climate negotiations.

The indigenous representatives stressed that indigenous peoples are the main actors in the fight against climate change, however, as promoters of climate action.

The platform would be made up of seven Parties or States representatives and seven representatives of the regions where the indigenous peoples congregate.

These seven regions are: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, the Arctic, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation and the Pacific.

A third invocation of the delegation was to ensure that the platform process continues to be participatory in the political field, together with the States.

The visitors appreciated the welcome of Spain and the record that Ecuador had a main role at COP23 in Bonn to promote the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP).

United Nations General Assembly president

An ally in the United Nations

For her part, María Fernanda Espinosa expressed her personal commitment to the indigenous peoples and stressed that she is an ally for the indigenous peoples.

She indicated that she wants to be sure that in the activities she will organize, she will have the participation of indigenous organizations through special participation mechanisms.

She pointed out that indigenous peoples have a very important role to play and they have to ensure that their voice is powerful and heard and goes beyond negotiations in Katowice.

The United Nations General Assembly president announced that she will travel to New York to attend meetings, in which she will seek to position the indigenous demands.

Events calendar

She also reminded a series of events organized by the United Nations, in which indigenous participation would be key.

Among them, she mentioned the celebration in New York of the 70th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration that will be held on December 18, 2018.

On April 25 in 2019, it will host the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which will focus on the need for the effective participation of the indigenous population on issues that affect their sovereignty and territory.

On March 28 in 2019, the High Level Meeting will be held within the framework of the General Assembly to analyze the COP24 main results and prepare for the Climate Summit in September.

On May 21 in 2019 a high-level meeting will focus its discussion on issues related to culture and sustainable development, which is open to interested indigenous organizations.

It can be coordinated with the coordinators designated by the indigenous peoples so that there is adequate representation, she said.

Espinosa reminded that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. It can be used to position the topics of the indigenous agenda that are considered priority.


María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés was elected on June 5 in 2018 United Nations General Assembly president, becoming the first woman in Latin America (and the fourth in the world) to assume this mandate. Since 2007 he has held several ministerial positions with Presidents Rafael Correa and Lenin Moreno from Ecuador.

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