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From Victims to Contributors: A Human Rights Approach to Climate Change for the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
Author: Yuko Osakada
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Abstract

A human rights approach to climate change, which has been claimed by the Indigenous peoples, consisted of procedural and substantive demands. Their procedural demands have mostly been realized in establishing the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform and the LCIP Platform Facilitative Working Group (FWG), where they can participate on equal footing with state parties. It could be argued that the LCIP Platform and the FWG have empowered Indigenous peoples who have hitherto been perceived as mere victims of climate change by making them contributors who provide their traditional knowledge related to addressing and responding to climate change. By contrast, their substantive demands have been imperfectly accepted. This might be improved in the Platform’s future activities. In doing so, the Inuit leader has pointed out that it is important to distinguish between local communities and Indigenous peoples in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes. This article will argue its feasibility depends on Indigenous peoples’ further efforts to convince state parties to accept such distinctions based on the applicability of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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