International Conference on IP Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis



Date of publication: 
1 November 2010

Baguio City, Philippines – We, 76 indigenous peoples representatives and advocates from 15 countries in Asia, Pacific, Australia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe, bind ourselves in solidarity for the pursuit of indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination and liberation at this international conference.

We reaffirm our inherent rights to self-determination and collective ownership of our land, territory and resources knowledge, and to freely determine our political status and define our own course of development appropriate to our particular situations and cultures. We have struggled to assert these rights since time immemorial. Along the way, we have had victories like the adoption of the UNDRIP and other UN instruments, as well as losses and martyrs, but we continue to struggle until today, in response to the alarming realities we continue to experience.

Indigenous peoples face serious and urgent problems including the violation of our collective rights as indigenous peoples, oppression by states, development aggression and plunder of our land and resources by multinational corporations and international financial institutions in collusion with the local elite. Government policies and neglect have led to continuing impoverishment, discrimination and deprivation of our identity. The US-led war of terror and State’s counter-insurgency programs and policies result in increased militarization and extrajudicial killings in an atmosphere of impunity. All of these amount to virtual genocide of indigenous peoples in various parts of the world, resulting in mental trauma, active population transfer, displacement, minoritization and marginalization of indigenous peoples in our own lands.

The urgent climate crisis exacerbates these difficult conditions that indigenous peoples are experiencing today. Northern governments, especially the US, corporations and IFIs are largely responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. However, they have refused to honor their historical responsibility to reduce emissions and pay reparations, and are deepening the environmental crisis with new plans for expanded resource extraction, unregulated free trade, invasive investment, privatization and unlimited growth. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples, who contribute the least to global warming, are severely affected by climate change, hampering their capacities to cope with these problems.

Negotiations among States through the UNFCCC processes have turned climate change into a trade issue and an opportunity for profit. The right to pollute is being traded as a commodity through carbon emissions
trading. Adaptation and mitigation measures such as REDD, REDD+ and other market-based mechanisms are offered as solutions but have negative impacts and cause divisions among indigenous peoples, whose access and control of forest resources are eroded. The WTO is also now talking of liberalizing trade of environmental goods and services, which will further compromise our rights. Throughout these discussions, indigenous peoples voices have not been heard because we have had no real and meaningful participation, being relegated to the sidelines as mere observers.

We believe that the root cause of the enormous problems we face today is the neoliberal global capitalist system, which puts profits before people and the planet. Central to this system is the expropriation and control of resources by multinational corporations, and dispossession and marginalization of small producers, workers, peasants, women and indigenous peoples.

A genuinely sustainable and comprehensive solution to the climate crisis lies in a fundamental shift towards people’s sovereignty over our shared heritage. This requires a thoroughgoing change from current production and consumption patterns, which promote mass consumerism and extravagance to sustainable ways and standards of living.

To our credit, indigenous peoples around the world continue to practice and demonstrate viable alternatives and solutions to the climate crisis and the profit-driven development paradigm. We stand by our traditional knowledge and practices such as sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, seed-keeping, simple living, cooperative labor and mutual help, indigenous socio-political institutions, community-based adaptation, mitigation and disaster response, which are viable solutions to the global crisis as proven through generations. We acknowledge the important role of indigenous women in maintaining our traditional ways of life.

We believe that building a strong and united international indigenous peoples movement for self-determination is the urgent call of the day. This movement stands for the right of indigenous peoples to govern ourselves and for liberation from imperialism, state oppression and human rights violations. In its various forms, self-determination may include legal recognition and proportionate representation of indigenous peoples in State mechanisms, autonomous self-rule, federalism or asserting sovereignty from an oppressive state. We will work for the empowerment of our peoples, and for the victory of the people’s will over the powers-that-be, while respecting the legitimacy and forms of struggle and self-determination that our peoples opt to employ.

On this historic occasion of the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis, we celebrate our struggles as indigenous peoples. We commit to support each other, build wider solidarity and to continue to strengthen our peoples’ movements.

As a result of this conference, we resolve to:

1. Uphold indigenous peoples’ rights to survival, self-determination, liberation and social justice. Organize ourselves, as the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination and Liberation, together with other indigenous peoples around the world, to strengthen our solidarity and coordinate our efforts beyond this conference.

2. Defend our land against development aggression and plunder of our resources by mining, logging, megadams, oil exploration, biofuel and industrial plantations, politically and economically motivated population transfer and other so-called ‘development’ impositions. Work for the recognition and respect of indigenous peoples’ rights, including the important role of indigenous youth and women in the struggle for control and ownership over our ancestral territories and sustainable management of our resources.

3. Hold imperialist countries, MNCs/TNCs and financial institutions accountable for their historical environmental debt to humanity. We say No! to all market-based mechanisms and false solutions to climate change and demand that indigenous peoples’ rights be respected worldwide in addressing the climate crisis. We call for sustainable solutions to the climate crisis, including adaptation and mitigation strategies based on indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and practices. Create our own spaces for indigenous peoples participation and engagement in the climate change debate. Support and adopt the Peoples Protocol on Climate Change and enrich this further to reflect indigenous peoples perspectives.

4. Push for proactive government and international programs and policies in response to climate disasters affecting indigenous peoples, who are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Document successful efforts, indigenous science, traditional knowledge and practices on climate change adaptation and mitigation, especially indigenous women’s roles, and integrate these practices into our responses to climate disasters.

5. Resist corporate monopoly and control of agriculture and all its instruments such as IRRI, WTO, etc. and promote biodiverse ecological agriculture. Promote community-based indigenous sustainable agricultural practices, conduct continuing study and exchange on indigenous production systems, and do policy advocacy to get governments to commit to food sovereignty. Campaign against land acquisitions and military offensives that undermine the food sovereignty of indigenous peoples.

6. Condemn militarization, political repression, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, military invasion and occupation of ancestral lands and all forms of human rights violations perpetrated by State forces against indigenous peoples. Uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Peoples (Algiers Declaration), and other international conventions. Combat criminalization, vilification, terrorist-labeling of indigenous activists and leaders and the misuse of indigenous culture for counter-insurgency objectives of States in line with the US-led War on Terror. Stop recruitment of indigenous persons, especially the youth into State military and paramilitary forces.

7. Stop all forms of socio-economic and politically motivated population transfer in indigenous peoples territory and cease cultural genocide and ethnocide of indigenous peoples.

8. Support the struggles of indigenous peoples for self-determination, liberation and sovereignty in its various forms. Continue to learn from each other and conduct studies on the various experiences in the exercise of self-determination. Form broad alliances and connect our movements to the wider struggles of other sectors, national and international movements across a wide spectrum of society in recognition of our common targets and aspirations.

In keeping with our indigenous tradition of consensus building, we affirm and approve this declaration. We draw lessons from our past struggles and strength from our martyrs. Let it be known widely that we will pursue our struggle for self-determination and liberation of indigenous peoples to its rightful end!

“For us, our strength comes from our ancestors, our determination to succeed from our children, and our success from our unity.” – Maori activist

Signed by the conference participants.

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