As world leaders gather in Egypt for COP27, the organization representing Inuit around the world are calling for urgent action on environment and for Inuit experience and leadership to be incorporated into national and global decisions on climate.
“Inuit and other Indigenous Peoples have the knowledge and must be included in any policy making,” Sara Olsvig, the international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), said in statement on Monday.
“Our contributions only make decisions stronger and this is a call for the states to include us in our common efforts to create hope for our future generations.”
ICC represents the approximately 180,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia.
Olsvig is part of the Inuit delegation in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for the conference.
Others attending include ICC Canada President Lisa Koperqualuk, representatives from the Canadian Inuit regions of Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, as well as elders and youth from Canada, Alaska and Greenland.
Implementation of Paris agreement
The main goal of COP27 is to ensure full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The agreement, reached in 2015, saw the international community pledge to keep global temperature increase to less than 2 C above pre-industrial levels, with 1.5 C set as the target.
In a statement on Sunday, the United Nations said only 29 of 194 signatories to the Paris climate agreement had put forward more stringent national plans to reach the climate goal since COP 26 in Glasgow in 2021.
It also described efforts to date to curb greenhouse gas emissions as a case of “inadequate ambition,” saying CO2 emissions need to be cut 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels to meet the Paris agreement goal.
“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a statement on Monday.
“It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact.”
ICC—Canada President Lisa Koperqualuk says it’s important that world leaders rally before it’s too late.
“While we need to act quickly to keep global temperature increases below the 1.5 C threshold in the Paris Agreement, there is hope for the future,” Koperqualuk said.
“Action needs to be global in nature and that requires determination and collaboration.”
Five recommendations in ICC position paper
ICC issued a position paper on Monday with five recommendations to the international community as the conference got underway:
- address inequity of climate impacts
- for Inuit experience and leadership to be incorporated into national and global decisions on climate
- that engagement with Inuit respect the ICC protocols issued in June 2022
- recognition of Arctic’s role in global temperature regulation, protection of region in partnership with Inuit
- establishment of climate fund that can be accessed by Inuit
“Inuit and other Indigenous Peoples have the knowledge and must be included in any policy making,” Olsvig said.
“Our contributions only make decisions stronger and this is a call for the states to include us in our common efforts to create hope for our future generations. By working together to meet the current challenges, we can create a more equitable and just world. And Inuit knowledge and experience can contribute to the solutions we need.”
COP27 runs Nov. 7-18.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Norway ups climate ambitions…and boosts its fossil fuels, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russian Arctic coal is looking for way out of sanctions, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Will the green transition be the new economic motor in the Arctic?, Eye on the Arctic