Hos ursprungsbefolkningar finns det ofta en mer praktisk och starkare koppling till naturen och en holistisk spirituell syn där allt är ett och därför måste Moder Jord visas respekt lika väl som människor. Vi (Tibbe och Julia vid tangenterna denna gång) tycker att ursprungsbefolkningar har ett hållbart tänkande som vi i västvärlden saknar. Om deras kunskap och synsätt anammades världen över så skulle världens situation när det kommer till klimatförändringar se väldigt annorlunda ut.
Tyvärr så har dock ursprungsbefolkningar sedan kolonialismen varit enormt utsatta för förtryck världen över och deras inflytande i klimatförhandlingar har varit extremt liten. Inom FNs klimatkonvention (UNFCCC) har det nu dock tagit upp en nytt initiativ som kallas “local communities and Indigenous peoples platform” där tanken är att stater tillsammans med ursprungsbefolkningar ska kunna samarbeta med vetenskapsmän för att ta steg mot en mer hållbar framtid. I Parisavtalet nämns det i paragraf 135: “Erkänner behovet av att stärka kunskap,teknologi, metoder och ansträngning hos lokala samhällen och ursprungsbefolkningar relaterat till att adressera och reagera på klimatförändringar. Detta genom att etablera en plattform för utbyte av erfarenheter och dela de bästa metoderna angående mitigation och adaptation på ett holistisk och integrerat sätt.” Förra året på COP22 i Marrakech fastslogs det att SBSTA ska stå för arbetet att operationalisera plattformen för att dela den bästa kunskapen angående mitigation och adaptation i relation till klimatförändringarna.
Vi träffade den förtjusande och sprudlande Herminia Degawan, “Mini”, som tillhör ursprungsbefolkningen Igorot i Filippinerna och jobbar för ursprungsbefolkningars rättigheter på COP23. Hon var mer än hjälpsam när hon erbjöd sig att ställa upp på en intervju med oss och missa 20 minuter av evenemanget hon själv deltog i. “Jag får så mycket energi av ungdomar” sa hon och log sitt varma leende. Här nedan kan ni läsa och ta del av hennes erfarenheter kring plattformen för ursprungsbefolkningar och hur livet, kampen och diskrimineringen ser ut för många ursprungsbefolkningar idag.
Julia, Mini och Tibbe ❤
What are your expectations on COP 23?
At COP23 I really hope that the parties can come up with a decision so that we operationalize a knowledge sharing platform where there is a space for indigenous people to sit down together with states and share ideas and knowledge. For many years indigenous people have been kept out of the table and not being a part of the discussion.
How is the platform today and how do you want it to develop?
Today it´s not clear at all, I think even states are still grappling with the idea because the UNFCCC is made up by states and they only listen to states of course. But there is recognition that indigenous knowledge is a valuable tool to address climate change. It has always been two steps forward and one step back, but hopefully this will change from now on.
How did your activism start?
It started when I was young back home. I left my village to study in another town. When I introduced myself and said that I was an Iguro my classmates were laughing at me. They were bullying me and always asked questions like “where is your tail?”. People think that my people has tails as our traditional clothes has a tail on their back. I always wondered why they said things like this. Unfortunately, It has always been a discrimination on indigenous people. This made me want to study the history about my people. And at the same time I was in the city, the government planned to make a dam near home. The people in village was going to be drowned. They resisted and the leader of them got killed… so the rest of them decided to marched into the bigger city. Land grabbing happened, and I could just stand beside and watch it happen.
Människor från ursprungsbefolkningen Igorot
What are the most challenging you are facing here and back home?
Ever since I have been involved the challenge is the common thing from all countries: land grabbing is increasing and increasing because of desire for resources, like gold. Unfortunately they say that this is the curse of indigenous people, as they live in resource rich areas. Companies are coming and want the trees that grows or the gold in the caves. This is always big issues and in most indigenous communities there are no schools or health centers. So when a mining company comes and say that they can offer you a school if they are allowed to dig under your houses… *she stops for a while*.. everyone says yes because they are not informed about the impacts of mining since there has been lack of information. And I mean, those who say no.. I have friends who have died. If they are opposing and marching on the streets they get arrested or killed. The most vulnerable with this is that it happens everywhere. Indigenous people are seen as anti-development. The respons we get from governments has always been the same – they see us as criminals. All over the world.
So the mining companies ask if they can dig, but keep away important information?
In some countries, for example Australia and the Philippines, they have legal recognition of indigenous peoples rights. Then they do the information part, but not the whole process, sometimes they bribe communities. Also there is an element of consent but not real consent. There are some indigenous people to manage some deals but mostly they just drive them away.
Do you think the platform will work well even if it doesn´t work from bottom up by local platforms?
It provides a tool for us to use. Before I was questioning it , I didn´t think there was any effect on the local level but I have seen that when the declaration was adopted. You can tell the government you have this declaration and they should live up to it. Some say it’s too hard but it opens the space. Hopefully when the decision is out you can go to the government and say look you have to incorporate this in climate action. I don’t see the platform as a one click solution but it does provide an opportunity to dialogue.
Fiji have tried to provide many representatives from the global south this COP, how do you think their work has been so far?
It has been interesting this COP when it has been hosted by a small Island nation. The funding is by Germany and Fiji is more or less just the symbolic theme and this have created tension.Fiji has tried to push for certain things and it’s been hard for them but it brings visibility for island countries and I don’t think Germany can completely stop them from their agenda. It could give more similar countries the possibility to host so they can highlight their issues.
Do you think the influence from the Fiji presidency can affect the next presidency of Poland?
If it should be a good COP it’s this one. It is hard to get the polish presidency to be as open to indigenous people as FIii. Marocko (last COP) was also good.
What can we as a youth NGO or other people do to help pushing for the platform?
Talk to the delegation of your country and say that we are not trouble makers, we are nice and reasonable. Some think we are pushing too much but we are just asking for the space for a dialogue. Spread the word. Most of the misunderstandings are because there is no dialogue. If you young people can tell them that we are all willing to talk. They are often looking at us thinking “here they are again asking for this and this and this!”.
När intervjun var slut kramade vi om fina Mini i en enda stor gruppkram, som ingen av oss ville släppa. Det vi fick höra var svårt för oss att ta in och det är det fortfarande. Att sådana här saker fortfarande sker idag är helt ofattbart. Vi båda kände oss hjälplösa men Mini uppmuntrade oss och sa “In the end of the day the youth have to step up. When the grown ups are talking too much you should stop them and tell us to do more instead of just talking!”
// Tibbe och Julia