The second day of COP22 in Marrakech included the official opening of the Indigenous Peoples’ & Local Communities’ Pavilion, accompanied by speeches, meetings and side events. The purpose of the pavilion is to assist with the effective representation of indigenous peoples and communities by providing a space for the gathering of people and effective communication.
The welfare and rights of indigenous peoples remain a priority in the face of projected climate change, given their particularly close links to and reliance on ecosystems and natural resources, and because they are often marginalised from mainstream political discourse and decision-making.
Indigenous people and local communities are particularly vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by climate change, but are also impacted by other drivers of ecosystem destruction and degradation. Yet, they are a minimal source of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, they can play a role in environmental protection and restoration and are a source of traditional knowledge.
The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) was established in 2008 to represent indigenous peoples worldwide in UNFCCC negotiations, although it is recognised that within this extremely diverse group of peoples there are differing priorities. According to the IIPFCC, there are more than 370 million indigenous people worldwide, who speak about 4000 different languages. The IIPFCC is campaigning for dedicated funds to support climate change mitigation and adaptation activities by indigenous peoples.
The University of Reading, including the Walker Institute, carries out a wide range of research projects with relevance to climate change impacts and resilience in local communities. Among the research projects being conducted by NERC SCENARIO students are projects on high impact weather and the ecological impacts of climate change. Improved understanding in these areas can contribute to greater resilience in human communities and ecosystems.
SCENARIO students are attending COP22 and following events remotely from the UK, and the discussions around the welfare of indigenous people and local communities will continue to be tracked.
IIPFCC website: http://www.iipfcc.org/