Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an Indigenous woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community of Chad, is the speaker selected to represent civil society at the 22 April signing ceremony of the historic climate agreement that was reached in Paris last December.
A record number of countries are expected to sign the agreement at a ceremony hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters on 22 April, which is also International Mother Earth Day.
“For all Indigenous Peoples, from any corner of the world, livelihoods are linked to natural resources, for our food and medicine, for everything, so if there are floods or droughts, the impact is greater for us,” said Ms. Ibrahim, who is Coordinator of the Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT), a community-based organization working for the rights and environmental protection of the indigenous Peule women and people of Chad. “Climate change threatens our basic rights, our cultural values, and the very survival of these communities,” she added.
32 years old, Ms. Ibrahim belongs to the Peule Mbororo people, a group of an estimated 250,000 nomads engaged in subsistence farming in the Sahel region. Having grown up in a pastoralist community, she knows the challenges that climate change poses to indigenous Peoples, but also the contributions that traditional and indigenous knowledge can make to mitigation and adaptation. “Traditional knowledge and climate science are both critically important for building resilience of rural communities to cope with climate change, and Indigenous Peoples are ready to share their knowledge to help to mitigate and adapt,” she explained.
Ms. Ibrahim co-developed a project in Chad on participation of indigenous herders in the national adaptation platforms and other national processes to ensure peace, livelihoods and biological conservation in the face of worsening climate instability. “We developed 3D mapping as tools to manage the environment sustainably and give voice to Indigenous Peoples and local communities,” she highlighted. “This project helps to highlight women’s voices and knowledge on climate adaptation and mitigation. It also helps to solve conflict connected to resource use, as tensions increase when resources disappear.”
For the past ten years, Ms. Ibrahim has been a regular participant at meetings of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and a Co-Chair of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC). “You cannot talk about climate change without talking about the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” she emphasized. “The Paris Agreement gives hope to all of those who are fighting for these rights, but now it’s time to transform hope into concrete change.”
For the speaking role at the opening session of the 22 April ceremony, the Secretary-General sought applications from individuals in developing countries who could share a compelling story of an innovation or solution that is delivering tangible results on climate change mitigation or adaptation.
The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) facilitated a transparent process for civil society representatives to apply for a speaking role. The Selection Committee reviewed more than 200 applications.
Ms. Ibrahim speaks French, English and Arabic.
For interview requests, please contact:
Susan Alzner, UN-NGLS as coordinator for Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim’s schedule: