Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: impacts and responses
International Panel in the framework of the General Conference Exhibition on Planet Earth
17 October 2007, Paris
The looming challenge of climate change was discussed by indigenous experts from each of three vulnerable environments: the Arctic, small islands and high altitudes. The speakers discussed how climate change is affecting their communities and ways of life, as well as the manner in which indigenous people are managing, responding to and negotiating these changes. The session, organized by the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and with support from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, highlighted how indigenous knowledge and observations may contribute to understanding, monitoring and adapting to climate change.
UNESCO Task Force on Global Climate Change and Assistant Director-General, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Otilia Lux de Coti (Maya, Guatemala)
Executive Board member Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Jean Malaurie (France)
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Arctic issues Director of the Centre of Arctic Studies
Violet Ford (Inuit, Canada)
Vice-President, International Affairs, Inuit Circumpolar Conference
Baron D. Waqa (Micronesian, Nauru)
Minister for Education and Vocational Training
Johnson Hugo Cerda Shiguango (Quichua, Ecuador)
Indigenous leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon
Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO
More information on the speakers:
Otilia Lux de Coti (Mayan)
UNESCO Executive Board member and UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues member.
Her professional career: She is Member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues; PermanentRepresentative of Guatemala to UNESCO Executive Council; Minister of Culture and Sports in Guatemala from 2000 to 2004; Member of the Commission for the Historical Investigation on the Violation of Human Rights and Acts of Violence in Guatemala from 1997 to 1999; Officer of Educational Projects for the International Development Agency AID/G, 1983 to 1999.
OTHER ACTIVITIES: She is a Member of several Boards of Directors, among them, the following:
Political Association of Maya Women MOLOJ; Educational Central American Committee; ERCA/AED Washington; Foro for SocialEquity BID/W Washington; FUNDADESC/G; Democratic Political Participation PPD/G. (Read more on UN ESA).
Jean Malaurie (France)
Professor Malaurie, director of the Centre d'Etudes Arctiques (Centre of Arctic Studies) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and director emeritus for research at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), is a leading ethnohistorian and geomorphologist. His designation as Goodwill Ambassador recognizes his "personal commitment to promoting environmental issues and to safeguarding the culture and knowledge of the peoples of the Great North".
Born in 1922 in Mainz (Germany), first European to reach the North Pole in May 1951, Professor Malaurie has led more than 30 scientific expeditions that have taken him throughout the Great North from Greenland to Siberia. The author of numerous books, including “The Last Kings of Thule”, translated in 23 languages, and "Call of the North", he founded the Terre Humaine publishing house to make ethnology accessible to a wider public.
As a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, in charge of arctic polar issues, Professor Malaurie will bring moral, scientific and intellectual support to UNESCO programmes focused on climatic changes.
Violet Ford: (Inuit) Violet Ford was born and raised in Makkovik, Labrador but now resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Violet has represented ICC and Inuit interests at many international forums and in particular the World Intellectual Property Organization for the purposes of raising the importance of protecting Inuit traditional knowledge from misuse and misappropriation. Violet has also represented Inuit at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Violet has also been a member of the official Canadian government delegation in the negotiations of this Convention at the 1998, 2000 and 2002 Conference of the Parties. During these sessions the successful negotiations of the Work Programme occurred for the implementation of the articles of the Convention pertaining to the role of Indigenous communities and the application of their traditional knowledge in sustainable development.
Violet was appointed to the Nunavut Arbitration Board in 1994 and was re appointed in 1999. Violet is presently a doctor of laws candidate with a focus on international law at the University of Lapland (Province of Finland). Violet has received a research grant from the Academy of Finland to conduct legal research on government international law obligations for the successful implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity as it relates to arctic indigenous peoples. Violet expects to receive her doctor of laws (LL.D) degree in 1994.
Violet was elected to the ICC Executive Council at ICC’s ninth general assembly held in Kuujjuaq, in August 2002.
Johnson Hugo Cerda Shiguango (Quichua)
Johnson Cerda is a Quichua indigenous leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon and has worked for indigenous organizations throughout the region for a decade. He has served as Technical Advisor to the Office of Planning and Projects in ECORAE, an Ecuadorian government development agency for the Amazon region. Johnson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Psychology from the Central University of Ecuador in 1990. He is currently completing a law degree from the University of Loja, Ecuador.
Johnson’s fellowship involves three major activities. First, he is reviewing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and recommending adjustments to strengthen the role of indigenous and traditional communities. Second, he is working with CI’s Ecuador team, the Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Initiative, indigenous communities, and other conservationists to explore and identify best practices with regards to conservation and indigenous communities. Finally, he is also reviewing and commenting on CI’s current global indigenous peoples policy.