UN Climate Negotiations: Indigenous Resistance from Within

13 January 2014

As climate finance and “loss and damage” payments dominated the agenda at last November's United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, indigenous peoples’ groups fought to be heard.

One of the most vocal and visible indigenous groups at the UN climate talks, COICA (The Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon) was founded in 1984 as the umbrella group for more than 350 indigenous organizations in nine different countries. It works to address issues of human rights, self-determination, and natural resource protection.

While other groups such as the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact discussed their experiences with “REDD+” (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)—a mechanism that, as it stands now, creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, and thus provides developing countries an incentive to reduce deforestation—COICA actually proposed an alternative: “REDD+ Indigena.” The COICA alternative promotes the protection of social, environmental, and indigenous rights, as well as the conservation of the Amazon through sustainable management practices.

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