Crucial question at climate
change summit: is it people or peoples?
By Joydeep Gupta
(Poland), Dec 12 (IANS) Traditional forest rights of indigenous
peoples from around the world have been ignored in the draft
text to reduce deforestation at the ongoing climate change
summit here - they have been kept out by removing the 's'
from the 'peoples' in the draft text.
removal was through a method understandable only to those
who negotiate interminable United Nations documents, poring
over every word and punctuation mark.
the draft text came out Thursday, the pnultimate day of the
12-day meeting, it did mention the rights of the indigenous
people - without the 's'. But the UN has many treaties to
safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples - with the 's'.
if this text does not have the plural marker, it means nothing,
it has no legal standing, because it does not match the definition
in other UN treaties.
the draft came up for approval, even the chairman of the group
finalising it thought it was a typing error, according to
delegates who attended the session.
was about to get it corrected, when the delegate from the
US government said he objected to the 's' because in the US
all people were one.
the 's' was dropped, enraging indigenous peoples' representatives
Moreira, from the Amazon Institute of Environmental Research
in Brazil, said: "We all know that reducing (greenhouse
gas) emissions being caused by deforestation is fundamental
to avoid dangerous climate change.
peoples are those who preserve the forests. In the Amazon
basin, in the areas where they live, deforestation was 1.1
percent in 2005, far less than in areas protected by the state."
said: "We were shocked to see the final version of the
draft conclusions. This document removed any references to
rights of indigenous peoples.
are the contents of climate change mitigation, equity and
justice in this decision?"
Gupta can be contacted at email@example.com)