Indigenous activists rally in Scotland as United Climate Change Conference begins 

As world leaders arrived in Glasgow for the start of the Cop26 summit, members of the civil society, indigenous communities and anti-racist groups launched its campaign today.

Indigenous women in Pilgrims’ March in Glasgow. (Extinction Rebellion Scotland)

Community leaders from the Minga Indígena collective, which represents indigenous communities in South and North America, were presented with a ceremonial stone.

Asad Rehman of War on Want told the audience the world was “standing on the edge of catastrophe”. The Guardian reported. 

He said: “We are peering over the edge and if we want to stop that spiralling out of control we have to act right now, in this decade.”

Rehman said the climate crisis was already wreaking havoc in every country and was a result of a system that exploited people and resources for the benefit of a few.

“Even today in the corridors of power in the negotiations our governments are making decisions which basically say the lives of black, brown and indigenous people, of the poor and of women, are not worth saving … and the priority is the extraction of profit.”

Rehman said the challenge facing campaigners was to build solidarity between climate justice movements in the global south and north and to highlight the connections between various interlinked crises, from inequality to racism, climate breakdown to sexism.

“We must tell a story of the world we want to create … that is not just about a just transition but a justice transition, not just about cutting carbon but cutting injustice,” he said.

On Sunday, delegates of Minga Indigena were welcomed to Glasgow by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

During the reception Calfin Lafkenche, Founder of Minga Indigena said, “A climate agreement is not possible without genuine, dedicated and effective participation of Indigenous People’s in negotiations.”

Patricia Gualinga of the  Kichwa Sarayaku people and one of Minga Indigenous delegates Cop 26 said on Facebook. 

The annual UN conference is being billed as a crucial opportunity for countries to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change and global warming amid rising concerns from scientists

Global leaders will be arriving in the Scottish city of Glasgow for 12 days of talks, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives and businesses.

US President Joe Biden, climate activist Greta Thunberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Scoot Morrison are among some of the most high-profile attendees.

Prince Charles will deliver the opening speech at Cop21 during an evening reception on Monday to mark the start of the conference.

Cop26 is being seen as the most important international climate meeting since Paris in 2015.

It has been described as the last best chance to keep the 1.5C target in reach, and country leaders will be expected to commit to enhanced ambitions for the first time since the agreement was signed.

Action already pledged by nations to curb emissions in the next decade leave the world well off track to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, beyond which increasingly severe impacts will be felt.

The UN has warned that the latest national action plans to tackle emissions up to 2030 put the world on track for temperature rises of 2.7C.

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