Declaration of Solidarity – International Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Alternatives and Responses to the Climate Crisis

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

November 4-9, 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

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

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

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.

No. 55 Ferguson Road
Baguio City 2600, Philippines
Tel. No. +63 74 3044239
Fax No. +63 74 4437159


~ by Cory Morningstar on November 12, 2010.

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