The Struggle for Indigenous and Freshwater Rights at Copenhagen and Beyond

The Struggle for Indigenous and Freshwater Rights at Copenhagen and Beyond

A look back at the concerns of indigenous communities during the historic climate talks in Copenhagen last month.

By Aubrey Ann Parker
Circle of Blue

For two weeks in Copenhagen last month climate negotiators debated carbon levels, emissions, and balancing the financial burden of saving the planet among developed and developing countries. Still, even as international leaders wrestled with the complex mix of geopolitics, science, economics, and diplomacy, another important ingredient in the climate crisis was barely mentioned: the effect of the warming planet on the Earth’s freshwater.

The same oversight, however, was not repeated by public interest organizations and water advocates who also were in Copenhagen, especially indigenous representatives from underdeveloped countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and the diminishing access to fresh water.

Numerous groups, such as the Khapi community in Bolivia and the Tagalog in the Philippines, banded together in Copenhagen to explain at a number of meetings and public events how climate change is already threatening their access to food and water, as well as the sustainability of their thousands years old cultures. Some of the strongest voices were heard during the World Water Movements and COP15: Proposals and Strategies for Water and Climate Justice panel.

Read complete article — originally published on January 27, 2010 — at Circle of Blue.

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