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The operationalization of the local communities and indigenous peoples platform, which was established at COP 21 in Paris, will be addressed during the COP 23 climate negotiations.
IPP multi-stakeholder dialogue participants May 2017

Local communities and indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts because they rely on fragile ecosystems for their livelihoods. Indigenous people care for 22% of the earth’s surface, including “an estimated 80 percent of the planet’s remaining biodiversity”. The IPCC recognizes how much we have to learn with and from local communities and indigenous peoples, the knowledge and practices of which constitute   a “major resource for adapting to climate change”.

The COP23 climate summit in Bonn in November will make a local communities and indigenous peoples platform operational to catalyze learning, engagement, and policy coordination that benefits local communities and indigenous  peoples, as well as  the international community. The platform was established in Paris, through decision 1/CP.21 para 135, in order to facilitate “the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation”.   In the era of implementation opened by the signing of the Paris Agreement, the engagement of non-Party stakeholders, such as local communities and indigenous peoples, has gained momentum and is strongly supported to scale up climate action.

Parties have adopted a step-wise approach to operationalizing the platform, with four main steps in 2017. First, Parties, Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) and other organizations provided ideas about the platform’s functions and procedural mechanisms until March. Second, Parties and IPOs discussed these ideas during climate talks in May. 

A report summarized the main findings from submissions and this dialogue (“Local communities and indigenous peoples platform: proposals on operationalization based on the open multi-stakeholder dialogue and submissions”). This report will now inform the negotiations. Negotiations will take place under the “local communities and indigenous peoples platform” agenda item at the 47th meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47), in November 2017, with a view to forwarding recommendations to COP 23.

The multi-stakeholder dialogue and the submissions that informed it acknowledged that the primary (and interlinked) functions of the platform should be:

1) Knowledge: the platform should provide a space for documenting and sharing experience and best practices, respecting the unique nature of and need to safeguard indigenous and local community knowledge systems;

2) Climate change policies and actions: the platform should facilitate the integration of indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as the engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities in relevant climate change related actions, programmes and policies; and

3) Capacity for engagement: the platform should help to build the capacities of indigenous peoples and local communities to help enable their engagement in and support the UNFCCC process, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and other climate - related processes 

The relationships between the functions are shown graphically below:

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Aside from the functions outlined above, operationalization of the platform should take into account the following overarching considerations:

1.    Flexibility: this will allow for evolution and growth as experience is gathered;

2.    Inclusivity: linkages with stakeholders and mechanisms both within and outside the UNFCCC processes should be supported. The working of the platform should embody principles of gender, age and geographic inclusivity;

3.    Constructive focus: the platform should support constructive, mutually beneficial dialogue between Parties, indigenous peoples and local communities

4.    Appropriate resources: the platform must be sufficiently resourced, including for the role of the secretariat.


Operationalizing the platform for indigenous peoples and local communities is an opportunity to create strategic linkages between the UNFCCC process, the broader UN system, the sustainable development goals and vulnerable groups and peoples. IPOs have a long history seeking to engage with global governance arrangements. The operationalization of this platform provides an opportunity to strengthen this engagement significantly. 

In keeping with the incremental approach adopted at COP 22, the initial scope of the operationalization should allow evolution and growth over time. The platform should enable promotion of adaptation actions in line with the priorities and needs of indigenous peoples and local communities to care for and protect the valuable eco-systems and biodiversity on which our planet depends.

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