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UNPFII to Consider Climate Change Policies and Projects’ Adherence to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ Standards

© UNPFIIMay 2009: During its eighth session, scheduled to convene from 18-29 May 2009, at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, the UN Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) will consider a concept note on the extent to which climate change policies and projects adhere to the standards set forth in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Forum will also consider the response from the UNFCCC Secretariat regarding two recommendations on indigenous peoples and climate change adopted during the seventh session of the UNPFII (E/C.19/2008/13), which was held from 21 April-2 May 2008.

In the report of the seventh session, UNPFII recommends that the UNFCCC and relevant parties develop mechanisms for indigenous peoples' participation, including the establishment of a working group on local adaptation measures and traditional knowledge. The UNFCCC Secretariat noted that the participation of observers in the Convention processes is governed by Article 7, paragraph 6 of the Convention and established guidelines for participation. The Secretariat also noted that currently about 19 out of 1,000 observer organizations declare themselves as indigenous peoples' organizations. On the establishment of a working group on adaptation measures and traditional knowledge, the UNFCCC Secretariat has reported some progress since the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) held in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008. The Secretariat noted that the COP President and the Chairs of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) have suggested that the indigenous peoples' organizations approach parties of the Convention who could table the proposal as an agenda item for consideration. This goes in line with the mandate and procedures of the Convention that establish that only parties can submit formal proposals.

In its report of the seventh session, the UNPFII also recommended that the UNFCCC, in cooperation with States, provide adaptation funds to indigenous peoples affected by climate change-related disasters. On this issue, the UNFCCC Secretariat noted that adaptation funds are managed by the Adaptation Fund Board, which defines the operational guidelines, under the Global Environment Facility (GEF). [The concept note] [Information received from the UNFCCC] [Eighth session website] [Report of the UNPFII's seventh session]