AFN launches 11th hour lobbying over Indigenous rights exclusion from climate change deal

Lobbying targeting countries with investment in Western Canada

(An all-Indigenous flotilla took to kayaks Sunday on the Bassin de la Villette, which is Paris’ largest artificial lake and connects to the city’s canal system. Photo/Allan Lissner)

APTN National News
GATINEAU, Que.—The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has launched an 11th hour lobbying effort targeting countries with natural resource investments in Western Canada over the current exclusion of Indigenous rights from the operative text of a global climate agreement under negotiations in Paris, according to a British Columbia grand chief.

First Nation Summit Grand Chief Ed John said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde will be sending letters to the ambassadors from countries like India, Malaysia, China, Japan and the European Union pressing them to back efforts to put Indigenous rights into the text of the climate agreement. John said the AFN wants to remind these nations that they have investments in resource development projects that are on Indigenous territory.

The AFN passed an emergency resolution on the issue Tuesday directing Bellegarde to begin lobbying on the issue.

“The pressure is still on,” said John, whose organization represents B.C. First Nations.

AFN chiefs are currently meeting at the Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, Que.

The AFN resolution has been sent to the Indigenous caucus at the Paris climate talks for distribution among the 190 states currently involved in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), said John. The Indigenous caucus is not directly involved in the negotiations which involve only member states.

EU ambassadors were also lobbied during a meet and greet at held Tuesday evening, said John.

EU countries have been among the states that are against the inclusion of Indigenous rights in the final climate change agreement, which aims to stem the warming of the planet to 2C above pre-Industrial temperatures.

Canada is warming at the twice the global rate.

The preamble of the draft climate change agreement currently includes a mention to Indigenous rights, but even that is now under threat.

The reference to Indigenous rights was removed from the main body of the text during the round of negotiations headed by officials from the countries involved in the negotiation. The negotiations have now moved to the political level and a final agreement is expected by Dec. 11.

Canada is backing efforts to include Indigenous rights in the climate change agreement.

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