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Inuit Circumpolar Council - Alaska

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is in Egypt for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP27 for the next two weeks. COP27 sees one of the largest Inuit delegations attending an international meeting since the first United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Inuit Circumpolar Council has produced a position paper for COP 27 with five clear recommendations that highlight Inuit requests to international leaders, the science community, private industry and others. International Inuit Day falls on November 7th, an annual event marking the achievements of Inuit across our homeland of Inuit Nunaat. As part of International Inuit Day, Inuit voices on climate change will be heard across the globe.

COP 27 runs from 7 to 18 of November in Sharm El-Sheikh on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Inuit Circumpolar Council’s delegation includes International Chair Sara Olsvig from Greenland, ICC Canada President Lisa Koperqualuk, as well as elders and youth from Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and representatives from the Canadian Inuit regions of Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.

“Despite the rapid changes and urgent situation, we are facing in our Arctic homeland, we are bringing a positive message to this COP,” says Olsvig. “We have been experiencing the effects of climate change for decades and solutions need to involve Inuit and other Indigenous Peoples. All parties need to recognize our inherent right of self-determination in decision-making.”

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Inuit have been calling for action on adaptation and the need to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The Inuit Circumpolar Council position paper points to the climate disasters seen around the world this year and notes that the Inuit reality of climate change is now a global reality.

“Despite this reality, Inuit bring a hopeful message to COP 27,” says Koperqualuk. “While we need to act quickly to keep global temperature increases below the 1.5oC threshold in the Paris Agreement, there is hope for the future. Action needs to be global in nature and that requires determination and collaboration.”

“Inuit and other Indigenous Peoples have the knowledge and must be included in any policy making. 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.” Olsvig agreed. “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.”

Inuit Circumpolar Council’s recommendations are:

  1. Inuit led adaptation and mitigation to climate change remain priorities, and we call upon the world to take immediate action necessary to address the inequity of climate impacts by respecting our inherent right of self-determination in decision-making.
  2. Inuit knowledge and experience have a key role to play in determining the future. Inuit experience, approaches and leadership must be at the forefront of national and global discussions and decisions to support the adaptive and holistic approaches and decision-making needed in today’s rapidly changing environment.
  3. Any engagement with Inuit must be equitable and ethical and guided by the protocols for engagement put forward by Inuit themselves internationally and locally. ICC recently developed protocols for the Equitable, Ethical Engagement of Inuit in the Circumpolar World and aims at ensuring a paradigm shift within institutions and forums that engage with the Arctic and Inuit, to guarantee that nothing about us is done without us.
  4. Inuit are an integral part of the Arctic environment. The global community must recognize that our environment, especially our ocean and ice, plays a critical role in global temperature regulation, biodiversity and overall health and wellbeing of the world. The Arctic environment must be protected through partnership with Inuit.
  5. We urge governments to recognize the false dichotomy between the developing and developed world, and advocate for and pursue opportunities to establish a fund that Inuit may equitably access similar to climate vulnerable communities in non-G20 countries. We also seek an Indigenous focal point within the Global Environment Facility for financial assistance.

Inuit delegates have a full schedule that includes meetings with Ministers and other government officials, participating in the Indigenous caucus, attending an Indigenous Knowledge Holders workshop and various youth focused events, as well as delivering Inuit messages at numerous official events.

Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska - logo 2022