Paris, France – Okalik Eegeesiak, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is the Head of the Inuit Delegation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 in Paris and has been advocating on behalf of Inuit. Work on the draft text finished on Saturday and will be handed over to Ministers for more negotiations starting on Monday. It is clear that there are countries that still do not support the inclusion of language that recognizes that climate change impacts the rights of Indigenous peoples. “Indigenous peoples are on the front lines of climate change around the world and Inuit in the Arctic experience climate effects daily. The Paris Agreement must include the rights of Indigenous peoples in Article 2.2 to be legally binding.” argued Eegeesiak.

Indigenous leaders have lobbied hard to ensure that the text developed specifically recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples. During negotiations this week, that language was placed in the preamble of the agreement which is not legally binding, “All of our communities from the Arctic to the Amazon are challenged by changing climates. The recognition is a way forward to truly implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and that adaptation and mitigation efforts by all under this agreement is an opportunity to work together for our collective health and well-being. We are leaders. Let us all lead and respect each other for the future of our peoples, our communities and our planet.” stated Eegeesiak.
“We urge Canada, Norway, the United States, Greenland, Russia, Sweden, Finland – our partner Arctic States within the Arctic Council – to support their Indigenous peoples and fight for the inclusion of human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples language ,” said Eegeesiak. “Inuit have a right to be cold. The Arctic is a fundamental driver of global climate processes. The health of the planet is most dependent on this right. Again, we urge Inuit from across the circumpolar world to mobilize from their communities to contact their respective leaders and voice their support at this crucial time.”
ICC and the Saami Council welcome delegates and civil society to Arctic Day, December 8th in the Indigenous Peoples Pavilion.
To view the COP 21 ICC Climate Change position paper see
For more information:
Carole Simon, ICC Canada P: 613-563-2642
P: 613-293-9728