• Indigenous Climate Action

ICA at the 23rd UNFCCC in Bonn, Germany

I wanted to go into more detail about what’s happening inside the negotiations aka UNFCCC. We talked in the previous blog post about what the Paris Agreement is. Now it’s time to talk about what is on the table for the governments to discuss. In short the Paris Agreement negotiations are about creating the “rulebook,” to implement the agreement globally. Some of the main areas are the following:

  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s)- I mentioned this one earlier in a previous post. What is this? Climate plans from each nation state, member state, nation on what they are doing to combat climate change in their countries. “…implementation plans through which each national government defines the level of its commitment and identifies how it will implement its dialogues.”

  • Enhanced Transparency Framework- to assess Parties’ (Countries or states) implementation of their pledges and the financial and other forms of support they provide (Article 13)

  • Global Stockade- starting in 2023 and occurring every five years, for assessing collective progress (Article 14), with a narrower facilitative dialogue on progress toward the long-term in 2018.

Okay that seems like a lot. Well it’s just the beginning. Over the weekend the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change hosted the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus (IP Caucus), in Cologne, Germany. The meeting was held at the City Hall building and we were welcomed by the Mayor of Cologne. The city hosted a brief reception as a welcoming for Indigenous Peoples to Germany and Cologne. I was only able to go for part of the first day of this meeting.

The IP Caucus usually meets for two days before the COP meetings and daily for the duration of the meeting. The purpose is to develop a global lobbying strategy for Indigenous Peoples. Since we are stronger together. The IP Caucus is ongoing from each meeting and meets during the intersessional meetings of the COP (which happen in between the global meetings, these are more specialized meetings of states that are area specific). Therefore, the work of the IP Caucus is continual and builds from meeting to meeting. Many times, that means that if you are new, it’s a lot to play catch up on. Or like myself it’s been a few years since I’ve been focused on the UN work inside the meetings.

The IP Caucus goes over its procedures, elects a chair for the meeting and reviews the working agenda. As the meeting is global, the agenda must be set in advance, and documents needed translated. During the meeting French, Spanish and English are the working languages.

I wasn’t able to go for the opening but I understand there was a brief review on IP Caucus business from past meetings. Then we went right into a presentation on the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples platform. A group of individuals tasked by IP Caucus created the working document that we begin negotiating from as Indigenous Peoples. Included is a picture of this document.

I will try my best to elaborate on the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. This quote is directly from the UNFCCC’s website,

“The Paris Agreement has recognized the need to strengthen knowledge, technology, practises and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to addressing and responding to climate change, and establishes a platform for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practises on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated matter.”-Paris Agreement paragraph 135.

For governments or states regarding the platform, they meet separately from us as the IP Caucus under SBSTA or Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. Currently they are in the final process or number 5:

“What are the steps as a part of the as a part of the incremental approach?

The incremental approach will be based on the following steps (see COP 22 report, paragraphs165-169):

  1. Parties and relevant organizations are invited to submit, by 31 March 2017, their views on the purpose, content and structure of the platform in order to inform the multi-stakeholder dialogue.

  2. The open multi-stakeholder dialogue on the operationalization of the platform will be organized in conjunction with SBSTA 46 and SBI 46, which will take place in Bonn, Germany on May 18-28, 2017. The multi-stakeholder dialogue is to be co-moderated by the Chair of the SBSTA and a representative of indigenous peoples organizations.

  3. A report will be prepared on the outcomes of both the submissions and the dialogue.

  4. The SBSTA will be requested to consider this report in conjunction with SBSTA 47 and SBI 47 under a new agenda item, “Local communities and indigenous peoples platform”. Next, the SBSTA will be requested to forward recommendations for operationalization of the platform to COP 23.”

States had a brief meeting today to go over their perspectives on the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform report. There was a short dialogue about the details, support for the platform, ect. At the end of the meeting the co-facilitator asked for proposals by noon tomorrow to be discussed on Wednesday. More information can be found here:


The IP Caucus is proposing to create an “Open ended Working Group” to operationalize the platform. There are more specifics included in the IP Caucus document. However, the IP Caucus represents Indigenous Peoples globally, we are very diverse. So not everything in the original proposal will be agreed on, as the Caucus makes decisions by consensus. Once the Caucus has had the opportunity to finalize a final document, it is then that every member begins lobbying states to agree, implement, support this proposal.

Complete clarity on the details is not available yet as all this must be figured out, hence why the IP Caucus is lobbying to have an ‘Open-ended Working Group.’ The IP Caucus is pushing to have co-facilitators from both Indigenous Peoples and States with equal footing. All of these points and more are in the process being negotiated internally amongst the IP Caucus first. Then the states.

So, this is a very brief glimpse into the how the talks work. There is so much more that goes into the Paris Agreement than just the Indigenous Platform so it will be interesting to see how the other agenda items will be negotiated.

Briefly, here is a bit on the structure of the UNFCCC. So, you get a better sense of how the system functions.

“This work is advanced through sessions of the following bodies:

  • The twenty-third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23)

  • The thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13)

  • The second part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1.2)

  • The forty-seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47)

  • The forty-seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 47)

  • The fourth part of the first session of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1.4)

The COP, the CMP and the CMA are the supreme decision-making bodies for the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement respectively.”

Thats all for now for briefing on the UNFCC ongoings. Please add comments or concerns!

#cop23 #UnitedNations


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