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From October 31–November 12, 2021, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP26) took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Despite the tremendous efforts brought forth by the delegation of Indigenous Peoples from around the world, global leaders failed to act on the urgency of the climate crisis. The global community must wake up and acknowledge that fighting climate change requires true commitment and changed behaviors now.

 

This article is co-written by members of a coalition working to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the transition to the Green Economy: Cultural Survival, First Peoples Worldwide, Batani Fund, Aborigen Forum, Earthworks, and the Society for Threatened Peoples.

 

The Endorois are an Indigenous Peoples living around Lake Bogoria, Mochongoi Ol-Arabel, and Marmanet Forest in the Marigat and Mogotio sub-counties of Baringo County, Nakuru, and Laikipia Counties within the Rift Valley of Kenya. We have always lived around Lake Bogoria and regard Mochongoi Forest and Lake Bogoria as sacred grounds. The 2019 Kenya government census reported us as numbering slightly more than 45,000, even though other estimates say our actual population could be higher than 60,000.  

 

While islands and coastal communities everywhere are facing the harsh effects of climate change, the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is experiencing its own acute crisis: Because of climate change, Tuvalu has begun sinking. Based on the available evidence, experts believe these beautiful islands might submerge into the South Pacific Sea within a few years.

 

At last year’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, nature-based solutions were at the forefront of discussions. The term “nature-based solutions’’ was first introduced in 2009 through UNFCCC negotiations and was clarified in 2016 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a global conservation organization, which defines it as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well being and biodiversity benefits.”

 

The following are excerpts from interviews conducted by Cultural Survival’s staff for Indigenous Rights Radio coverage at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.