The Impact of Climate Change on Minorities and Indigenous Peoples
Author: Rachel Baird
Size: 12 pages (166 kB)
How do climate-related disasters and slow onset climate changes affect minorities and indigenous peoples? Why are these groups especially sensitive to the effects of climate change? In examining such questions, this report highlights a neglected area of research, and the important role of these groups as stewards of natural environments that are major carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots. It argues for the explicit inclusion of minority and indigenous groups in plans for combating and adapting to climate change.
'Minorities' are defined as those groups that are numerically smaller within a population, and who share a common religious, ethnic, or linguistic identity. 'Indigenous peoples' refers to groups who are seen as the 'first people' to inhabit a territory, and who have a special connection with the natural environment.
The impacts of climate change on minorities and indigenous people are rarely mentioned. Failure to recognise and respond to the problems of these groups arising from climate-related disasters and slow onset climate impacts exacerbates their suffering. The study finds that:
Research is needed into the ways that minorities and indigenous people are affected by climate change. Their situation must be documented and recognised by governments, international organisations, academics, and development and environmental NGOs. Minorities and indigenous people's own organisations can contribute to this shift in awareness. They will add weight to their demands if they emphasise their role as stewards of precious natural environments that are major carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots. Other opportunities for these groups to make themselves heard include the following:
Baird, R., 2008, 'The Impact of Climate Change on Minorities and Indigenous Peoples', Briefing Paper, Minority Rights Group International, London
Organisation: Minority Rights Group International, http://www.minorityrights.org/