The Heat Is Online

Indigenous Groups Demand Equitable Energy Transition


Honourable Representatives of States and other participants of the Conference:

We, Indigenous Peoples, represent a population of more than 350 million world-wide and our territories constitute the most diverse ecological systems, which contribute immensely to our survival and that of mankind. As such, high consumption of fossil-fuel energy and subsequent climate change directly affect our livelihood.

We, Indigenous Peoples are extremely concerned and disappointed by our exclusion from the conference and the denial of full and effective participation as Indigenous Peoples at all levels. This marginalization is contradictory to the international instruments which are stipulated in the UNCED Conference of Rio 1992 and other international processes such as the Johannesburg Summit, where we have been recognized as a significant sector with the right to fully participate in national and international environmental talks and other decision making processes. We therefore call upon the Conference Secretariat to include us, Indigenous Peoples, as a stakeholder group in the conference, and to further grant us the delegates status.

We, Indigenous Peoples, are following the initiatives by States in promoting renewable energies, as an alternative to fossil energy technologies, which are responsible for the violation of our human rights and the deterioration of our environment. As such, we welcome the initiatives to embrace renewable energies provided that they are also beneficial to the Indigenous Peoples and that our rights are fully respected.

We want to remind the industrialized countries that they are responsible for 75 percent of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions, and that these countries have the political, economical and moral responsibility in relation to developing countries, and especially to Indigenous Peoples, to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, to respect human rights and promote sustainable development.

Within the framework of the Political Declaration and the International Action Programme of the Conference, we would like to express our views for consideration:

  • Indigenous Peoples, as a major group have the right to participate in the conference process and subsequent events, according to internationally recognized standards, which are included in the Agenda 21, the Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change and various other international processes.
  • Industrialized countries must carry to completion obligatory reductions in their high consumption of fossil fuels, which mainly contribute to global warming.
  • Countries must ensure that the promotion of renewable energies do not lead to a wider spread of poverty among Indigenous Peoples, and a new way of colonization of their territories.
  • States promoting renewable energies must respect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples as contained in the ILO Convention 169 of Indigenous Peoples, the international environmental and human rights instruments and the UN Draft Declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially the free and prior informed consent.
  • Indigenous Peoples wish to re-emphasize that our cultures, our cosmovision and ways of life, are closely linked to our survival and the development of our peoples and therefore the adoption of renewable energies' technology should not in any way alter our traditional life-styles.
  • In case renewable energy projects are being undertaken within the territories of Indigenous Peoples, free and prior informed consent must be obtained, a cultural and environmental impact assessment carried out and the benefits from the project fairly shared.

Bonn, 1st June, 2004.

Soraya Cisneros, Quicua, Ecuador

Hector Huertas, Kuna, Panamá

Community of Sarayaku

International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests

Yusuf Alia Lakicha, Borana, Kenia Herman Mendoza, Uitoto, Colombia

Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon Region

Daniel Salau Rogei, Masai, Kenia Edwin Vásquez, Uitoto, Peru

Coordinating Body of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin