Written by Fernando Tormos, PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Political Science Department of Purdue University and a member of the International Network of Scholar Activists
If it were possible to do a word count of all of the words spoken in Paris during the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21), I would not be surprised if the word finance came out on top. As a leader of an indigenous peoples’ group recently told me in reference to the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program, “money is a necessary evil; without it, we wouldn’t be here in Paris.” Yet, discussions of so-called “climate financing” or “green financing” tend to dominate the sorts of exchanges that are taking place here in Paris while discussions of human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender and racial equality, and the adverse effect of climate change and the extractive practices of multinational corporations on frontline communities are relegated to a second plane. Environmental, indigenous, and global justice activists have faced numerous challenges at COP21. Mainly, activists are burdened with having to push the conference organizers to honor their commitment to transparency and the inclusion of civil society while also having to advocate for the recognition of human, and specifically indigenous peoples rights in the legally binding sections of the draft agreement.
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Dr. Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
Dr. Laura Zanotti, Department of Anthropology, Purdue University
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