Indigenous peoples’ voices must be heard in climate change policies – UN official

23 April 2009 – The world’s 370 million indigenous people are suffering from the worst impacts of climate change, General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto said today, stressing that they must play a pivotal role in any decisions made on the issue.

“Climate change poses threats and dangers to the survival of indigenous communities worldwide, even though they contribute least to greenhouse emissions,” he said.

Indigenous peoples are “vital to the many ecosystems in their lands and territories and help enhance the resilience of these ecosystems,” Mr. D’Escoto told the Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change in Anchorage, Alaska.

The President urged parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to ensure that indigenous peoples’ rights are respected and implemented.

He stressed the importance of making sure that indigenous peoples, “who value the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with nature and have the lightest ecological footprints, participate in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating climate change policies and programmes at all levels.”

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