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International Expert Meeting on Climate Change and Indigenous People
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International Expert Meeting on Climate Change and Indigenous People
2 -4 April 2008 (Darwin, Australia)

 Download the SUMMARY REPORT


From 2 – 4 April 2008, UNU-IAS in conjunction with the Secretariat of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), will convene an International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change in Darwin, Australia.

Relevant themes for the meeting include:

• outlining the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples;
• adaptation measures to climate change;
• carbon projects and carbon trading; and
• factors that enable or obstruct indigenous peoples’ participation in the climate change processes.

Download meeting documents here.


Due to certain limitations including regional balance and venue size, we are unable to accept any further applications to participate in this meeting. However, to assist in meeting the overwhelming interest in this topic, we have organized an additional Public Forum to be held in Darwin on 3 April 2008 in which the Experts will also participate. Please visit the Public Forum page for more information.

Objectives and Outcomes of the Meeting:

The Expert Group Meeting is intended to:

• Promote an opportunity to exchange information on the effects of climate change.

• Draw attention to the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples, their livelihoods, cultural practices and lands and natural resources.

• Identify options and further plans to accommodate the many issues (ie migration) that indigenous peoples face as a result of climate change and identify possible solutions that maintain indigenous peoples’ identity and cultural integrity.

• Identify international institutions that may have an interest in working in partnership with indigenous peoples to address the issues in relation to adaptation, mitigation, monitoring and carbon emissions trading.

• Highlight good practice models; and

• Identify gaps and challenges and a possible way forward.

The final report of the Expert Group Meeting will be to be submitted to the seventh session of the UNPFII.


Climate change is considered to be a critical global challenge and recent events have demonstrated the world’s growing vulnerability to climate change. The impacts of climate change range from affecting agriculture to further endangering food security, to rising sea-levels and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases.

The myriad of issues and the effects that climate change have on indigenous peoples was one of the major reasons for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues deciding that its 7th session (21 April – 2 May 2008) special theme will be “Climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges”. The Permanent Forum also recommended that United Nations organizations should provide technical assistance and convene, in cooperation with indigenous peoples’ organizations, regional workshops on the special theme and its various related issues. This workshop will contribute to the on-going discussions regarding indigenous peoples and climate change.

Despite the fact that changes are impacting intensely on indigenous peoples and their communities, they are very rarely considered in public discourses on climate change. Indigenous peoples are vital to, and active in, the many ecosystems that inhabit their lands and territories and therefore, are in a position to help enhance the resilience of these ecosystems. In addition, indigenous peoples interpret and react to climate change impacts in creative ways, drawing on traditional knowledge and other technologies to find solutions, which may help society at large to cope with impending changes.

Also see background resources on the UNPFII website regarding Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples.

Registration is closed.
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