COP28: NDN Collective Responds to Outcomes of Negotiations

For Immediate Release: December 15, 2023

Dubai, UAE – In response to the draft agreement reached at COP28, NDN Collective released the following statements: 

“COP28 further affirmed how critical it is for Indigenous Peoples to show up in global negotiations for effective climate solutions – we are the ones continuously holding the line as corporate interests attempt to uplift false solutions and weak commitments that harm people and the planet,” said Janene Yazzie, Southwest Regional Director of NDN Collective. “We call on the COP29 presidency to increase access and decision-making power to Indigenous Peoples as holders of traditional ecological knowledge and science, and stewards of the world’s remaining biodiversity.”

From left to right: Jade Begay (Diné and Tesuque Pueblo), NDN Collective Director of Policy and Advocacy, Janene Yazzie (Diné), NDN Collective Southwest Regional Director, Kim Pate (Descendant of Eastern Band Cherokee and Mississippi Choctaw), NDN Fund Director. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective. 

“International decisions made around the climate have the most direct, immediate, and severe impact on Indigenous peoples across the globe,” said Jade Begay, Director of Policy and Advocacy at NDN Collective. “Many Indigenous people live in areas rich with the minerals needed for new ‘green’ technologies, yet the final COP28 deal fails to protect Indigenous rights. Indigenous communities must be centered and given real decision-making power in all climate policy – starting with the Loss and Damage fund.” 

“It’s no accident that COP29 is being hosted by Azerbaijan – making it the third conference in a row held by an oil production giant, and one with a record of criminalizing those who criticize the country’s fossil fuel industry,”  said Kim Pate, NDN Fund Managing Director. “While our presence has grown, we need stronger Indigenous representation. NDN Collective will continue to support enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples in COP, and ensure the rights and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples are upheld in negotiations.”

Indigenous Data to Fuel Advocacy & Drive Change panel moderated by Jade Begay, NDN Collective Director of Policy and Advocacy. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

“We don’t have time to wait for our politicians to act in our best interest and we will not compromise our cultures, lifeways, and homelands for back door deals,” said Angie Solloa, Digital Organizer at NDN Collective. “At each COP, more Indigenous power is built and more knowledge is shared between our communities across the globe. We will continue to organize with each other, bring more people into the fight, and fight back against the false solutions and projects that directly harm our communities.” 

NDN Collective sent a delegation to COP28 and co-sponsored the Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion. 

NDN Collective staff members at COP28 in Dubai, UAE. Photo by NDN Collective

Below is a brief summary of COP28 outcomes, as they relate to NDN Collective’s issue priorities:

  • Loss and damage (L&D): NDN Collective supported the calls of Indigenous Peoples advocating against the established Loss and Damage fund being managed by the World Bank, as they have a history of investing in projects that violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Other priorities included: direct access for Indigenous Peoples from all parts of the globe, enhanced participation and decision-making power to develop the fund, and the development of a grievance mechanism. The total commitment by states to the L&D fund amounted to $655 million USD. NDN Collective will continue to support advocacy for the establishment of a permanent seat on an independent board to oversee the fund, as well as a grievance mechanism to protect Indigenous rights. 
  • Climate finance: NDN Collective’s continued priority in this issue area is to separate Indigenous Peoples from “local communities.” The definition of local communities is unclear, and a lack of distinction from Indigenous Peoples is leading to resourcing projects – such as agricultural and mining projects operated in Indigenous territories – in direct violation of Indigenous rights and priorities. Other priorities include: direct access to climate finance by Indigenous Peoples across all parts of the globe and representative of all ecosystems, and safeguards for Indigenous Peoples rights and human rights in the development, distribution, and evaluation of these funds. 
  • Phasing out fossil fuels: The United States and other large nation states are trying to change this language to “abate development of fossil fuels” – dangerously innocuous language that many island communities and smaller nations are pushing against. Although COP28 outcomes include the first time fossil fuels have been named in climate negotiations, we will continue to advocate for stronger language in negotiations leading to COP29. 
  • Global stocktake – This is the review of how UNFCCC operates, which Indigenous Peoples have been saying is ineffective for years. Next steps are to make meeting Paris agreements more effective and continue pushing for stronger commitments for the phasing out of fossil fuels. 
  • Indigenous led conservation and adaptation – NDN Collective will continue working with Indigenous Peoples to push for stronger mechanisms to support self-determination through Indigenous-led initiatives. Priorities include advocating for enhanced participation in all levels of government in setting conservation and adaptation goals, strategies, and solutions, and ensuring funding mechanisms are directly accessible to Indigenous Peoples and protect their rights. 
  • Article 6 – States continued to push forward problematic market based mechanisms in support of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Projects, while lacking consensus around rules to govern the market, and pushing for the elimination of human rights and Indigenous rights safeguards that have kept negotiations at a stalemate for the last few COPs. Research continually shows the ineffectiveness of the carbon trade market scheme, yet states and fossil fuel lobbyists attempted to wrap non-market solutions into the carbon trade scheme, counter to the intent and purpose of non-market approaches. NDN Collective supports the position of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus in Article 6 negotiations. The fight for safeguards and protection of Indigenous Peoples rights and continued support for non-market solutions as separate from carbon trade schemes continues to COP29 as countries did not reach consensus on Articles 6.2 and 6.4.  
  • Just transition: This is a brand new framework for COP that was introduced prior to COP28 negotiations. NDN Collective supports the position of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus advocating that Indigenous Rights and human rights are included in the scope of the new work programme, and ensuring equal representation in the development of negotiation processes. NDN Collective sees the next COP as an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to define what a just transition will look like globally. 

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NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.


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