No consensus on climate change document at indigenous summit

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Indigenous delegates at a UN conference on climate change in Alaska could not agree on a final summit document due to disagreements over oil and gas drilling on native lands.

Some delegations at the UN-sponsored Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change were demanding a complete moratorium. Others disputed that language, saying that the use of fossil fuels should be phased out but indigenous people should be allowed to develop their resources.

Andrea Carman, representing the North American delegation, told CBC News shortly before the end of the Anchorage summit that she hoped that "we'll be able to come up with a compromise language that is still strong enough for people to support."

At the end of the five-day conference on Friday, her delegation and the group from the Kiribati and South Pacific islands declined to sign the declaration.

Organizers say even though only five of seven delegations signed on, the final declaration and a final report from the summit will be presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.

Youth delegates push for stronger language

Younger delegates led the charge for stronger language in the declaration.

Some of the delegates representing areas dependent on oil for revenue and jobs were afraid to support a moratorium, because of the criticism they would face after returning home, said youth caucus member Andrea Sanders of Bethel, Alaska.

The youth delegates had considered submitting a separate declaration to the Denmark conference if they couldn't get a moratorium. Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, a 30-year-old member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in northern Alberta, said that is still an option.

The details of the summit's final declaration have yet to be made public.

Over 400 indigenous people from 80 countries attended the summit, the first such meeting on climate change focused entirely on native communities.




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