Giving Compass' Take:
- A new report titled, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, focuses on the lack of climate financing for Indigenous-led groups.
- How can Indigenous knowledge help advance climate action? What can individual donors do to advocate for Indigneous-led climate plans?
- Learn more about Indigenous peoples and climate change here.
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Indigenous peoples are largely being excluded from trillions in global spending to mitigate climate change, with governments doing little to ensure that climate funding not only respects Indigenous rights but supports Indigenous-led green projects.
That’s according to a new report focused on green financing by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Calí Tzay, which will be discussed at the U.N.’s Human Rights Council this month. The 54th regular session of the United Nations body kicked off last week in Geneva.
“The shift to green finance is necessary and urgent, and if done using a human rights-based approach it can be a source of opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to obtain funding to preserve their lands, knowledge and distinct ways of life, and to create economic opportunities that may help them to maintain and strengthen their indigenous identity,” wrote Calí Tzay, who is Kaqchikel, among the Mayan peoples of Guatemala.
The Special Rapporteur’s report comes eight years after the Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty to limit global warming, called for $100 billion in annual funding to address the effects of climate change in developing countries. That goal is still aspirational, but overall sustainability investment continues to grow, with a 2020 analysis estimating it reached $35.3 trillion in 2020.
Green financing, a term that broadly refers to investments in climate action and sustainable development, is increasingly seen as a critical tool for addressing climate change. However, a 2019 working paper from the Asian Development Bank Institute concluded that financial institutions continue to support fossil fuel projects over green development because the former have higher rates of return. The study’s authors emphasized a need to boost green financing in order to reach sustainable development goals established by the United Nations the same year as the Paris Agreement.
Many green development projects take place on Indigenous lands. At Thacker Pass in the United States, Indigenous nations have sued the federal government over a lithium-mining operation that’s expected to support the Biden administration’s push toward electric vehicle batteries, but at the cost of producing hazardous waste and disturbing burial sites. In Norway, wind turbine development continues to violate the rights of Sámi communities. The Special Rapporteur’s report says more green projects are expected to take place on Indigenous lands and governments should ensure their rights are respected.
Read the full article about Indigenous peoples by Anita Hofschneider at Grist.