[WSF-Discuss] Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration from the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights Of Mother Earth

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Tue Apr 27 12:38:06 CDT 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I’m posting here, a little late, a very significant document that has  
come out of the Cochabamba Conference : The ‘Indigenous Peoples’  
Declaration from the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and  
the Rights Of Mother Earth’.  (Apologies for any cross posting.)

This document is the Final Declaration of the Working Group 7 on  
Indigenous Peoples at the Cochabamba World Peoples' Climate Conference.

The original of this in Spanish started circulating last Saturday,  
April 24 (and is available @ http://www.minkandina.org/index.php?news=312) 
, and the ‘official’ translation in English became available on the  
26th; but I delayed posting it because there was a minor spelling  
error of an important word (and I felt that it was too important a  
document to post with such an error).

After informing the translator and waiting for a corrected version,  
since he is travelling I have now however decided to go ahead and make  
the correction myself, and post this document.

I will post the link to this translation as soon as it becomes  

Please circulate this widely, and of course, feel free to publish it.   
If you are publishing it however, you could useful inform the main  
organisers (CAOI, Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indigenas  
(Andean Coordinating Body for Indigenous Organisations), @ prensa.caoi at gmail.com 
, and also Ben Powless of IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network) @ powless at gmail.com 
.  CAOI’s website is http://www.minkandina.org/index.php.




(Original document in Spanish ‘Declaración de Los Pueblos Indígenas  
del Mundo’
(‘Declaration of the Indigenous Peoples of the World’)
available @ http://www.minkandina.org/index.php?news=312)

Mother Earth can live without us, but we can’t live without her.

We, the Indigenous Peoples, nations and organizations from all over  
the world, gathered at the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change  
and the Rights of Mother Earth, from April 19th to 22nd, 2010 in  
Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia, after extensive discussions, express  
the following:

We Indigenous Peoples are sons and daughters of Mother Earth, or  
“Pachamama” in Quechua. Mother Earth is a living being in the universe  
that concentrates energy and life, while giving shelter and life to  
all without asking anything in return, she is the past, present and  
future; this is our relationship with Mother Earth. We have lived in  
coexistence with her for thousands of years, with our wisdom and  
cosmic spirituality linked to nature. However, the economic models  
promoted and forced by industrialized countries that promote  
exploitation and wealth accumulation have radically transformed our  
relationship with Mother Earth. We must assert that climate change is  
one of the consequences of this irrational logic of life that we must  

The aggression towards Mother Earth and the repeated assaults and  
violations against our soils, air, forests, rivers, lakes,  
biodiversity, and the cosmos are assaults against us.  Before, we used  
to ask for permission for everything. Now, coming from developed  
countries, it is presumed that Mother Earth must ask us for  
permission. Our territories are not respected, particularly those of  
peoples in voluntary isolation or initial contact, and we suffer the  
most terrible aggression since colonization only to facilitate the  
entry of markets and extractive industries.

We recognize that Indigenous Peoples and the rest of the world live in  
a general age of crises: environmental, energy, food, financial,  
ethical, among others, as a consequence of policies and attitudes from  
racist and exclusionary states.

We want to convey that at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, the  
peoples of the world demanded fair treatment, but were repressed.  
Meanwhile the states responsible for the climate crisis were able to  
weaken even more any possible outcome of negotiations and evade  
signing onto any binding agreement. They limited themselves to simply  
supporting the Copenhagen Accord, an accord that proposes unacceptable  
and insufficient goals as far as climate change action and financing  
to the most affected countries and peoples.

We affirm that international negotiation spaces have systematically  
excluded the participation of Indigenous Peoples. As a result, we as  
Indigenous Peoples are making ourselves visible in these spaces,  
because as Mother Earth has been hurt and plundered, with negative  
activities taking place on our lands, territories and natural  
resources, we have also been hurt. This is why as Indigenous Peoples  
we will not keep silent, but instead we propose to mobilize all our  
peoples to arrive at COP16 in Mexico and other spaces well prepared  
and united to defend our proposals, particularly the “living well” and  
plurinational state proposals. We, Indigenous Peoples, do not want to  
live “better”, but instead we believe that everyone must live well.  
This is a proposal to achieve balance and start to construct a new  

The search for common objectives, as history shows us, will only be  
completed with the union of Indigenous Peoples of the World. The  
ancestral and indigenous roots shared by the whole world must be one  
of the bonds that unite us to achieve one unique objective.

Therefore we propose, require and demand:

1. The recovery, revalidation and strengthening of our civilizations,  
identities, cultures and cosmovisions based on ancient and ancestral  
Indigenous knowledge and wisdom for the construction of alternative  
ways of life to the current "development model", as a way to confront  
climate change.

2. To rescue and strengthen the Indigenous proposal of “living well”,  
while also recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with whom we  
have an indivisible and interdependent relationship, based on  
principles and mechanisms that assure the respect, harmony, and  
balance between people and nature, and supporting a society based on  
social and environmental justice, which sees life as its purpose. All  
this must be done to confront the plundering capitalist model and  
guarantee the protection of life as a whole, through the search for  
inclusive global agreements.

3. We demand States to recognize, respect and guarantee the  
application of international standards of human rights and Indigenous  
Peoples’ rights (i.e., The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous  
Peoples, ILO Convention 169) in the framework of negotiations,  
policies, and measures to confront climate change.

4. We demand States to legally recognize the pre-existence of our  
right to the lands, territories, and natural resources that we have  
traditionally held as Indigenous Peoples and Nations, as well as  
restitution and restoration of natural goods, water, forests and  
jungles, lakes, oceans, sacred places, lands, and territories that  
have been dispossessed and seized. This is needed to strengthen and  
make possible our traditional way of living while contributing  
effectively to climate change solutions. Inasmuch, we call for the  
consolidation of indigenous territories in exercise of our self- 
determination and autonomy, in conformity with systems of rules and  
regulations.  At the same time we demand that states respect the  
territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation or in  
initial contact, as an effective way to preserve their integrity and  
combat the adverse effects of climate change towards those peoples.

5. We call on States not to promote commercial monoculture practices,  
nor to introduce or promote genetically modified and exotic crops,  
because according to our people’s wisdom, these species aggravate the  
degradation of jungles, forests and soils, contributing to the  
increase in global warming. Likewise, megaprojects under the search  
for alternative energy sources that affect Indigenous Peoples’ lands,  
territories, and natural habitats should not be implemented, including  
nuclear, bioengineering, hydroelectric, wind-power and others.

6. We demand changes to forestry and environmental laws, as well as  
the application of pertinent international instruments to effectively  
protect forests and jungles, as well as their biological and cultural  
diversity, guaranteeing Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including their  
participation and their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

7. We propose that, in the framework of climate change mitigation and  
adaptation measures, states establish a policy that Protected Natural  
Areas must be managed, administered and controlled directly by  
Indigenous Peoples, taking into account the demonstrated traditional  
experience and knowledge towards the sustainable management of the  
biodiversity in our forests and jungles.

8. We demand a review, or if the case warrants, a moratorium, to every  
polluting activity that affects Mother Earth, and the withdrawal of  
multinational corporations and megaprojects from Indigenous territories.

9. We urge that states recognize water as a fundamental human right,  
avoiding its privatization and commodification.

10. We demand the application of consultations, participation, and the  
Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples and affected  
populations in the design and implementation of climate change  
adaptation and mitigation measures and any other intervening actions  
on Indigenous territories.

11. States must promote mechanisms to guarantee that funding for  
climate change action arrives directly and effectively to Indigenous  
Peoples, as part of the compensation for the historical and ecological  
debt owed. This funding must support and strengthen our own visions  
and cosmovisions towards “living well”.

12. We call for the recovery, revalidation and strengthening of  
Indigenous Peoples’ technologies and knowledge, and for their  
incorporation into the research, design and implementation of climate  
change policies. This should compliment Western knowledge and  
technology, ensuring that technology transfer processes do not weaken  
indigenous knowledge and technologies.

13. We propose the recovery, development and diffusion of indigenous  
knowledge and technology through the implementation of educational  
policies and programs, including the modification and incorporation of  
such knowledge and ancestral wisdom in curricula and teaching methods.

14. We urge States and international bodies that are making decisions  
about climate change, especially the UNFCCC, to establish formal  
structures and mechanisms that include the full and effective  
participation of Indigenous Peoples. They must also include local  
communities and vulnerable groups, including women, without  
discrimination, as a key element to obtain a fair and equitable result  
from climate change negotiations.

15. We join in the demand to create a Climate Justice Tribunal that  
would be able to pass judgement and establish penalties for non- 
compliance of agreements, and other environmental crimes by developed  
countries, which are primarily responsible for climate change. This  
institution must consider the full and effective participation of  
Indigenous Peoples, and their principles of justice.

16. We propose the organization and coordination of Indigenous Peoples  
worldwide, through our local, national, regional, and international  
governments, organizations, and other mechanisms of legitimate  
representation, in order to participate in all climate change related  
processes. With that in mind, we call for an organizational space to  
be created that will contribute to the global search for effective  
solutions to climate change, with the special participation of Elders.

17. We propose to fight in all spaces available to defend life and  
Mother Earth, particularly in COP16, and so we propose a 2nd Peoples’  
Conference to strengthen the process of reflection and action.

18. The ratification of the global campaign to organize the World  
March in defence of Mother Earth and her peoples, against the  
commodification of life, pollution, and the criminalization of  
Indigenous and social movements.

Created in unity in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia, the 21st day of  
April, 2010

Jai Sen
jai.sen at cacim.net
CACIM, A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
Ph : +91-11-4155 1521, +91-98189 11325

DELETION OF OLD EMAIL IDs : Please note that I am no longer using my  
earlier email ids, jai.sen at vsnl.com and jai_sen2000 at yahoo.com. PLEASE  

‘Be the Seed : An Introduction to and Commentary on the government of  
Bolivia’s Call for a ‘Peoples’ World Conference On Climate Change And  
The Rights Of Mother Earth’’, @ http://cacim.net/twiki/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=64 
, http://www.choike.org/2009/eng/informes/7620.html, and http://www.zcommunications.org/be-the-seed-by-jai-sen 
.  Also available in Spanish @ http://www.choike.org/2009/esp/informes/153.html

‘On open space : Explorations towards a vocabulary of a more open  
politics’, @ http://cacim.net/twiki/tiki-index.php?page=Publications


Jai Sen, ed, forthcoming (2010a) - Interrogating Empires, Book 2 in  
the Are Other Worlds Possible ? series.  New Delhi : OpenWord and  
Daanish Books

Jai Sen, ed, forthcoming (2010b) - Imagining Alternatives, Book 3 in  
the Are Other Worlds Possible ? series.  New Delhi : OpenWord and  
Daanish Books

CHECK OUT both CACIM @ www.cacim.net and OpenSpaceForum @ www.openspaceforum.net

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