March at COP27

March at COP27. Photo: Albert Salamanca, SEI.

Bridging Indigenous and scientific knowledge systems is not a simple task. It requires the active engagement of Indigenous knowledge holders and institutions in policy processes at different scales. An uncritical approach to knowledge integration can even further marginalize and disempower Indigenous knowledge. Collaborative and respectful work can create more effective and equitable policies that serve the needs of everyone and uphold the principles of dignity enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The authors of this paper used literature review, key informant interviews and face-to-face engagements during COP27 to examine the issues within the context of the UNFCCC COP.

Key messages

  • Over the past two decades, Indigenous Peoples have succeeded in inserting critical provisions in the Paris Agreement that represent their needs, priorities and aspirations. This makes the Agreement the first legally binding, multilateral climate change instrument to recognize human rights.
  • Indigenous Peoples’ sustained mobilizations both under and outside the UNFCCC are the result of momentum gradually gained from limited engagement in the early years.
  • Despite progress achieved through the Paris Agreement, challenges embedded in the design and implementation of negotiation processes continue to hinder Indigenous Peoples’ participation and the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges in implementing the Agreement.
  • The politics of knowledge – i.e. whose knowledge is counted and how – in the science-policy interface must be recognized and addressed to ensure effective and just climate policies.