The inclusion of local people – especially indigenous groups – in adaptation planning is paramount according to Guatemalan CSOs. "The vision, traditional practices and ways of governance prevalent among indigenous groups need to be taken into account to make adaptation planning relevant and effective".
This was one of main conclusions at the workshop "Challenges and perspectives in national and international negotiations on climate change" organized in March by Association Sotz'il and Fundación Solar in coordination with the regional facilitator of the Southern Voices Program.
Cultural identities affected
The livelihood and cultural identity of indigenous groups are highly dependent on natural resources – providing fuel, building materials and food.
They are therefore likely to be significantly affected by climate change. However, the participation of indigenous peoples is not guaranteed in the processes related to climate change and adaptation planning in Guatemala.
During the workshop participants were provided with information on the processes of the international climate negotiations - within the framework of the UN - as well as an update on the drafting-process of the regulations of the Guatemala Climate Change law. The workshop was attended by representatives from indigenous communities, NGOs and civil society.
Access to information in local languages
The regulations and strategy for implementing Guatemala's climate change law is currently being designed. Association Sotz'il is one of the organisations seeking to influence the design process.
A core element of their advocacy strategy is to ensure the participation of indigenous groups and the inclusion of local governments. Another key component is to ensure that indigenous groups have access to information about all processes related to climate change, including adaptation and mitigation.
To facilitate involvement of indigenous groups, Sotz'il took the initiative to have Guatemalas Climate Change Law translated in four Mayan languages Quiché, Qeqchi, Mam and Kaqchikel. This was done in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and other international actors.
Indigenous peoples and the JPA
Working with the Southern Voices Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA) Sotz'il has experienced that indigenous peoples do not feel reflected in the principles. To better include indigenous visions and knowledge Sotz'il has promoted some small adjustments to the JPA.
This happened at the Southern Voices workshop in Nairobi in late April. Here partner networks were gathered to share and discuss their experiences working with the JPA in their national context.