Cop28 presidency to ensure indigenous voices are heard at global talks

Team sets out strategy to ensure representation for all at climate event in UAE

Razan Al Mubarak with Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. Photo: Cop28
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The Cop28 presidency has set out plans to ensure indigenous communities will have their voices heard at November's crucial climate talks.

Key measures will include financial support to allow elders to attend the global summit in Dubai, as well as subsidised accommodation for 150 delegates and translation services.

The Cop28 team will also fund a report centred on direct access to finance for indigenous people undertaking climate action.

The announcement was made by Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Cop28, who underlined the importance of making this year's conference accessible for all sections of society.

“Indigenous Peoples are one of the nine official constituencies – organisations which have the status of observers – in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” said Ms Al Mubarak.

“Still, their valuable perspectives remain underrepresented in multilateral climate processes, and they receive a very small share of the international funding for climate action.”

The Cop28 presidency and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions team have been engaging with indigenous people organisations throughout the year.

“One recurring theme in the discussions has been the need for greater inclusion of indigenous people in the negotiations process,” said Ms Al Mubarak, who is also president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

“This is far more than a moral imperative. We simply won’t be able to solve the climate crisis without authentically incorporating the leadership of Indigenous Peoples and other traditionally underrepresented groups such as women and youth."

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, co-ordinator of the Association of Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad and co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, said the initiatives “represent progress towards the inclusion and recognition of the rights and knowledge of indigenous communities, especially for Cop28".

“Indigenous peoples can bring concrete solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation, and their voice needs to be heard,” said Ms Ibrahim.

“I hope that Cop28 will lead to concrete results for climate action and support to those who are on the front line of climate change.”

Indigenous people are the first inhabitants of an area, such as those living in the Amazon rainforest.

Such communities are often the first to bear the brunt of climate change due to their proximity to nature and its resources.

The Cop28 team on Wednesday that the "long-recognised practices" of such communities "play a crucial role in addressing the climate and biodiversity challenge".

The underscores the importance of their voices being heard, it added.

Cop28 will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

Updated: September 27, 2023, 3:10 PM