Peru: Indigenous Organizations to Present Joint Climate Change Agenda

Source: Servindi

Peruvian national indigenous organizations decided to present a joint Indigenous Agenda on Climate Change. The resolution was adopted at a meeting held on Tuesday, May 6 with representatives of the Peruvian State for the COP 20, at the headquarters of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The gathering was organized by the Public Team, one of the five established by the Peruvian State for the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Lima in December this year.

The meeting was opened by Gabriel Quijandría, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Environment (Minam), Ernesto Ráez, head of the Public Team, and Claudia Gálvez, official focal point for Indigenous Peoples.

The discussions resulted in a decision to establish a committee of twelve indigenous persons, representatives of the six organizations of the Unity Pact, the Association for Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP) and the Confederation of Amazonian Nationalities of Peru (Conap).

The establishment of a permanent dialogue for the construction and development of the National Climate Change Agenda was also agreed upon to facilitate discussions with the various sectors of the State.

In the meeting, the Unity Pact challenged the approach of the official National Climate Change Agenda, which is reduced to five items: a) Forests; b) Glaciers, mountains and water security, c) Renewable energy; d) Sustainable cities and e) Oceans.

Indigenous representatives noted with concern the absence of key issues to the region such as:  secure territories, sustainable ecosystems, agriculture and food sovereignty, protection of common goods and natural resources, among others.

They claimed that the State´s National Climate Change Agenda is based on an “environmental” approach, while climate change affects the development of society as a whole and is not limited to environmental issues.

The topics presented did not highlight critical factors that increase the vulnerability of indigenous people to climate change such as mining in headwaters, large scale open-pit mining and the depletion and pollution of water sources, among other extractive activities.

The Unity Pact proposed a holistic view and stressed that climate change is not just about the environment, natural resources or greenhouse gases emissions, “but of social relations that harm our Mother Earth.”

It also raised the need of an integrated vision to address climate change and the adoption of comprehensive human rights, intergenerational and gender approaches in all policies, programs and plans.

They proposed an eco-systemic approach, since “we are all part of Mother Earth and an indivisible vital community of interdependent and interrelated beings with a common destiny”.

Antolín Huáscar, leader of the National Agrarian Confederation (CNA) and coordinator of the Unity Pact, said that native peoples and indigenous communities from the coast, Andes and Amazon are more vulnerable to climate change. Those impoverished populations whose subsistence activities depend on ecosystems and climatic conditions will be the most affected, he added.

Agriculture, livestock, rural development, fishing and aquaculture will be drastically affected. The biodiversity will be reduced. This will cause “severe impacts on the health, security and food sovereignty”, expressed Huascar.

Gladis Vila Pihue, spokeswoman of the Unity Pact, stressed the obligation of the State to guarantee the territorial security of indigenous lands for the Buen Vivir (good living) and for better indigenous territorial governance. She also assessed “the importance of knowledge, wisdom and traditional practices of our peoples to face climate change”.

Lourdes Huanca and Témpora Pintado, from the National Federation of Peasant, Artisans, Indigenous and Native Women of Peru (FEMUCARINAP), said that the role of indigenous women in the fight against climate change should be more visible and that a more inclusive language should be promoted. They pointed out that climate change affect indigenous woman more intensively, particularly when their husbands migrate and they have to sustain their families amid heavy droughts or floods.

Esther Castro Bellido, also from FENMUCARINAP, questioned one of the State agenda points that allude to “sustainable cities”, a concept that seems to exclude rural communities.

Mauro Cruz Layme, from the National Union of Aymara Communities (UNCA), and Óscar Rodríguez, from the National Unitary Center of Rondas Campesinas of Peru (CUNARC), noted the need to “control industrial activities and reduce extractivism that exacerbate climate change and pollutes watersheds, water sources and biodiversity deteriorating ecosystems fundamental to the livelihoods of indigenous peoples”.

Jorge Prado Sumari, from the Peasant Confederation of Peru (CCP), and Marcelino Bustamante from the National Agrarian Confederation (CNA), suggested that the national climate change agenda should focus on building a model of sustainable development in harmony with Mother Earth, where economic growth does not harm ecosystems nor affect the survival of indigenous peoples.

The Unity Pact

The Unity Pact is a strategic articulation of national indigenous organizations whose purpose is to strengthen the national indigenous movement and build joint proposals leading towards the exercise of self-determination, Buen Vivir and Full Life of the peoples and communities of Peru.

The generic name of indigenous or native peoples, groups various ways of organization expressed as: peasant and indigenous communities, rondas campesinas, agrarian federations and associations, among others, that recognize and identify themselves as indigenous.

It consists of the following organizations*:

  • National Agrarian Confederation (CNA)
  • Peasant Confederation of Peru (CCP)
  • National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP)
  • National Union of Aymara Communities (UNCA)
  • National Federation of Peasant, Artisans, Indigenous and Native Women of Peru (FEMUCARINAP)
  • National Unitary Center of Rondas Campesinas of Peru (CUNARC)

The Unity Pact and COP 20

  • The Unity Pact decided to organize – along with other civil society groups – an Alternative Peoples Summit – Indigenous and Peasant COP – as a common space for the indigenous delegations of the world that will attend the Conference of the Parties.
  • In the Alternative Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, scheduled from 9 to 12 December 2014, there will be meetings, seminars, conferences, debates, workshops, campaigns and a global mobilization in defense of Mother Earth.
  • The Unity Pact will be host to many delegations of indigenous brothers and sisters of the world that will assist to advocate for their demands and proposals regarding climate change.

(*) The participation of the National Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining (CONACAMI) was suspended until their internal difficulties of legitimacy and representation are autonomously resolved. The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP) decided to formally renounce to the Unity Pact as stated in. However, the letter added that this decision does not mean it will discontinue “coordinating actions that depend on the unity of the national indigenous movement.”

Translated from Spanish to IWGIA and Servindi by Luis Manuel Claps.