December 16, 2015
On December 12, 2015, after two decades of climate talks within the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), world leaders from 195 countries in Paris came to a consensus on a legally binding agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C and reducing carbon emissions across the globe. The two-week long Conference of Parties (COP 21) process also brought together some of the world’s largest corporations, environmental and human rights organizations, and grassroots activists to hash out international energy goals, standards, and implementation. Over 250 Indigenous delegates were present and advocated for the inclusion of Indigenous rights in the Paris Agreement.
Hailed as “historic” and as “a turning point for the world,” the deal reached its goal to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, yet disappointed many Indigenous Peoples due to its ultimate failure to include legally binding references to protecting Indigenous Peoples rights and their sovereignty.