Clive Tesar, Head of Communications for the Arctic Programme, attended the ‘2030 North’ conference in Ottawa, Canada. The challenge of the conference was to try to imagine what life in Canada’s North will be like in 2030, and to devise a plan to deal with that new reality.
By Clive Tesar
One of the highlights of today was a crazy old priest talking about love, brotherhood and sisterhood.
That was how Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations General Assembly, decribed himself – or to be more accurate, he was telling the story of being so described by a newspaper columnist. The columnist was apparently complaining about the fact that Brockmann’s influence was rubbing off on world leaders.
That influence was apparently evident yesterday, when the United Nations, on ’Earth Day’, voted to declare the day ‘Mother Earth Day’.
Today, Brockmann put the force of his position behind the Indigenous peoples. He called on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the negotiating body that is trying to come up with a new deal on climate change) to respect and implement the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the right of prior informed consent before any climate change project is brought into their communities.
That is an important consideration to many of the Indigenous peoples here, who have concerns that governments will take climate change actions that could have negative effects on Indigenous peoples. Of particular concern is an initiative to make sure carbon remains stored in the world’s forests. The Indigenous peoples are worried that in their zeal to protect forests, some governments may be tempted to trample on Indigenous peoples who rely on the forests for a sustainable livelihood.
Brockmann also threw his weight behind a key demand of Indigenous peoples here, to have a voice at the UNFCCC, so that they can directly influence the next climate deal, a deal that will be crucial for the future well being of the Indigenous peoples.