COP21: Indigenous peoples, human rights and climate changes

Norway is working intensively to ensure that the new Climate Change Agreement will be an ambitious agreement. In an international treaty, it is important to have a focused purpose in order for it to be effective. Therefore, Norway works to secure that the Climate Change agreement will have a climate goal. This should be a goal that reflects emissions reductions and adaptation.

There are many other considerations which must also be reflected in an agreement, such as the respect for human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality and just transition of the workforce. Norway works hard to get this into the agreement, both in the preamble and in the operative paragraphs.

There are few countries that are working as hard and systematically to include Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives in the new Climate Change Agreement as Norway does. We must remember that even though most of the countries we are negotiating with in Paris voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), and have acceded to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, most have not ratified the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, which is the only indigenous rights instrument with legal force for those countries that have ratified it. It is very demanding to defend this position and Norway is at the very forefront.

Norway has two roles in the negotiations. We will be pushing for ambitious results. And we will be bridge-builders that come up with good compromises. When the ADP-negotiations on the text were finalized before the COP presidency (France) took over the leadership, it was urgent to find unifying solutions that all parties to the UNFCCC could agree to. Therefore, Norway emphasized the role as bridge-builder in the final rounds.

In the negotiations, human rights were first discussed in the context of the draft preamble. Norway said several times that we want a clear reference to human rights. In order to solve the difficult situation that all countries have different interests in different rights, Norway made the suggestion that countries should implement their respective human rights commitments. This was received as a constructive suggestions.