Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Intergovernmental Policy: Conflicts and Strategies for Participation

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Lauren EASTWOOD , State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY
This paper analyzes the ways in which Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) have negotiated their participation in intergovernmental policy that has been deliberated within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  In both bodies, Indigenous Peoples Organizations have been influential in shaping various aspects of the policy processes.  The paper identifies some of the most salient issues that have arisen for Indigenous Peoples in the two policy processes, and analyzes some of the strategies that IPOs have used to influence the policy decisions. The broader legal framework of international law as it pertains to Indigenous Peoples has focused on self-determination and sovereignty.  However, within the UN system, nation-states are given primacy, thus relegating IPOs to “non-governmental” status.  The legacy of the nation-state system upon which the UN is predicated presents obstacles for IPOs who advocate for rights for people who are often marginalized or not recognized by UN-legitimized governments.  However, competing processes, such as those taking place under the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (IPFII), can serve to put pressure on parallel policy dialogues.  Additionally, Indigenous Peoples’ participation has been institutionalized in both the CBD and the UNFCCC, with varying results for the efficacy of Indigenous participation. Informed by institutional ethnography, the primary data for this paper were collected through participant observation at UNFCCC, CBD, and IPFII meetings.  Additionally, I have followed transformations in various policy texts as they have been influenced by IPO engagement with the policy processes.