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COP28: NDN Collective’s First Week At COP28 In Dubai

Above photo: COP28 participants who took the stage in solidarity with relatives in Palestine. Angie Solloa for NDN Collective.

The first few days of COP28 included the opening of the Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion, Opening Plenary Statements, panels, and solidarity with Palestine.

NDN Collective’s delegation has been on the ground in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the past two weeks participating in pre-meetings and the first week of the United Nations 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

This is NDN Collective’s third year participating in COP – a series of intensive events and discussions where governments around the world negotiate and determine actionable items on international climate change policies.

Our delegation has been participating in the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Local Communities Indigenous Peoples Platform, as well as tracking negotiations, meeting with government officials, and more.

Here is a round up from their first week on the ground with links to recorded events.


COP28 Participants Act In Solidarity With Palestine

In an act of solidarity with our relatives in Palestine, twelve people took the stage wearing white t-shirts with individual letters spelling “C-E-A-S-E-F-I-R-E” and holding banners that said “Solidarity” with painted watermelon images. They shared a press statement with 60 other supporters to demand a ceasefire and condemn Israel for the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

Watch the full reading of press statement:


COP28 Opening Statement By IIPFCC

On Day 1 of COP28, Pema Wangmo Lama Mugum, Indigenous Youth activist from the Mugum Indigenous Nations in Asia, representing the National Indigenous Women’s Federation-Nepal read the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) opening statement on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus.

“We commit to working with States to implement real solutions based on our knowledge, practices, time-tested sciences, reciprocity with the natural world and Mother Earth, and the full exercise of our rights. Our collective survival is at stake and our children and future generations require action without delay.”

Read the blog from IIPFCC about the opening statement.

Watch the entire opening statement read by Pema Wangmo Lama Mugum.

Behind The Numbers: Indigenous Data To Fuel Advocacy and Drive Change. Moderated By Jade Begay

Director of Policy and Advocacy, Jade Begay, moderated the “Behind the Numbers: Indigenous Data to Fuel Advocacy & Drive Change” at the “Counting on a Sustainable Future: Global Conference on Gender and Environment Data”, an official event of UNFCCC COP28. Speakers included Jozélia Kaingang, Secretary for the Articulation and Promotion of Indigenous Rights, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, Brazil; Aisatou Musa, project coordinator, Anura Ntabang Women Group; Dr. Elizabeth Imti, Programme Officer, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP); Sara Bó Ché, Maya Q’eqchi’, Social Worker, Ak’ Tenamit Association.

IIPFCC’s Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion Opening Ceremony

This was NDN Collective’s 2nd year sponsoring and fundraising for the Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion, a critical space for Indigenous Peoples from across the world to advance climate justice, uphold Indigenous rights and self-determination, and showcase Indigenous-led climate solutions. The pavilion opened on Friday, December 1st with introductory remarks from the IIPFCC Co-Chairs and Pavilion organizers, and representatives from all UN socio-cultural regions blessed the space with prayers, song and dance. Janene Yazzie, NDN Collective’s Southwest Regional Director, also gave a statement to open up the space.

Panel: Just Transition: Indigenous-Led Pathways Toward Equitable Climate Solutions And Resiliency In The Climate Crisis. Hosted By Indigenous Climate Action

Jade Begay along with Serena Mendizabal (Sacred Earth Solar, NDN partner, and NDN grantee), Thomas Joseph (Indigenous Environmental Network) spoke on a panel about the role of Indigenous communities and knowledge in addressing the climate crisis. The panel was moderated by Jayce Chiblow and Eriel Deranger (Indigenous Climate Action).

The Loss and Damages Fund Adoption At The COP28 Opening Plenary

On the first day of COP28, the Loss and Damages Fund initial draft was agreed amongst the Parties. The Loss and Damages Fund is available to so-called developing and small countries most affected by climate change. Although the draft of the Loss and Damages Fund was agreed upon, language can be changed until the last day of COP28. The draft also offers a framework for how more affluent countries will contribute to the fund.

There are still decisions that must be made around how the funding mechanisms for the Loss and Damages Fund will operate.

“NDN Collective entering into the fight of climate finance is so important because these discussions are around how the financial mechanisms in Loss & Damage are going to operate,” said Janene Yazzie, NDN Collective’s Southwest Regional Director. “These kinds of international funds have always operated under a model that prioritizes and secures a political advantage for the donor countries that are funding the mechanisms. In this way it serves neocolonialism over and over again to the detriment of the intended beneficiaries. This is a way for them to influence political power under the guise of offering help and aid when what we really need is for resources to flow in a way that upholds the rights and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples.”

One of the priorities Indigenous People, smaller countries, and underfunded countries have been advocating for is a formal body to handle disputes when injustices occur– a Grievance Mechanism.

“By putting pressure on environmental regulations and on political governance systems in a way that allows transnational companies to come in to manipulate and monopolize development, expanding their corporate empire, is why we need safeguards in place that protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights,” Janene said. “These  larger settler countries rely on entities like the World Bank and the IMF to serve as intermediaries that uphold these agendas. At NDN, we are showing how transformative an Indigenous-led and designed movement organization can be.”

For more info on this first initial decision, read the Official Press Release from COP28 about the Loss and Damages Fund. The Loss & Damages Fund and Climate Finance is one of NDN Collective’s key issues at COP28.

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