This is the report from a conference organised by the "Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples" in 2008. The conference focused on climate changes and their impacts on the lives of indigenous peoples. The paper traces some of the reasons for climate changes and their effects on the lives of indigenous peoples, and discusses how these effects can be mitigated.The paper notes that climate change is causing various forms of vulnerabilities for indigenous communities, even to the extent that they occasionally threaten the very existence of communities. The paper states that many indigenous and local communities have already been forced to relocate due to extreme weather conditions. Climate change also has adverse impacts on the biological diversity and keeps many indigenous communities from developing sustainability.Key messages from the paper include:
parallel processes must be recognised and encouraged between western scientific methods and the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples about climate change
it is essential that the specific vulnerabilities of indigenous peoples and their specific concerns are taken into account in negotiations at international conferences
indigenous peoples need financial support from private as well as public donors, such as an "Indigenous Peoples' Readiness Fund"
climate change projects should be given high priority in development cooperation with indigenous peoples
a working group on local adaptation and mitigation measures of indigenous peoples by relevant UN agencies should be established
due to the high rate of emissions the focus should be on deforestation and degradation; a combination of markets and fund-based mechanisms may be needed
protection of indigenous rights (particularly rights to lands and natural resources) are urgent matters that have to be the main focus in national and international discussions.