National Congress of American Indians’ Statement on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 26th Conference of the Parties

Published on Oct 28, 2021

Tribal Nations are on the frontlines of climate change and environmental degradation, which threaten our traditional ways of life and livelihoods, as well as have countless far-reaching social and economic consequences for tribal communities. Tribal leader participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland is essential to our continued advocacy for Tribal Nations on the global level to protect our lands and resources. In recognition of the importance of this conference, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp is leading an Indigenous delegation to advocate on behalf of Tribal Nations at COP26. NCAI firmly believes that by upholding global obligations to Indigenous Peoples, the international community can make significant headway towards crafting solutions to our shared climate crisis.

The upcoming COP26 comes at a critical juncture, where all nations and communities must find consensus to address one of the world’s most serious crises – the climate crisis. Solutions cannot be developed without continued and increased Indigenous participation and inclusion, in line with the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Tribal Nations have a different and unique sense of land and place. Our communities are rooted in, and often dependent upon, their environment and local natural resources for cultural practices, traditions, community, food, economies, and ways of life. Our Tribal Nations are responding to sea level rise, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and salinity, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather phenomena, altered seasonal duration, economic and health impacts, and more. We also have expertise on environmental sustainability with solutions driven by our Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

This moment demands and needs tribal leadership involved at the global level, and COP26 provides an opportunity to elevate Tribal Nations to be part of this global leadership discourse and be acknowledged with the same respect as states and special interest groups. 

NCAI recognizes the need to elevate and strengthen the voices of tribal leaders and tribal partners to coordinate, collaborate, and participate in local, national, and international climate changes strategies. With the strong delegation and inclusion of Tribal Nations, NCAI holds high expectations for the conference, and we look forward to a productive COP26 convening. 

About the National Congress of American Indians
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the United States. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies. NCAI promotes an understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people, and rights. 

Subscribe to our News RSS