Climate Change Rights

Indigenous Communities Bear the Brunt of Climate Change
Lola Cabnal, Ak’ Tenamit’s Director of Environmental Advocacy, leads national workshops to help local environmental protection agencies coordinate their work.

Guatemala’s geography and climate are responsible for the country’s rich biodiversity but also make the region highly vulnerable to climate change. It is arguable that those who will be most impacted by these changes are the Country’s 24 indigenous groups. Although they have coexisted with nature for centuries, the environmental changes their areas are experiencing only exacerbates the poverty and extreme poverty that they face.

Indigenous women are likely to suffer the worst. They may have to walk further to collect water or wood. They may have to work longer hours in the fields because it was hardened following severe drought or may watch their entire harvest be destroyed by floods, which also brings water-borne diseases.

Promoting Indigenous Rights During Climate Change

Our mission

National and international leaders are currently designing strategies to regulate and mitigate the effects of climate change on high-risk areas; the activities that result from these decisions will directly impact indigenous villages.

Our mission is to:

  • Educate indigenous groups about climate change and the solutions being proposed and ensure that they have a voice in designing such policies.
  • Ensure that indigenous groups’ vision and rights are included in the UN Framework Law on Climate Change and in Guatemala’s climate change policies and strategies.
  • Ensure that indigenous groups are able to participate in national, regional, and international conferences regarding climate change so that they are seen as actors in this discussion.

Through GICCC’s advocacy, the Framework Law and Guatemala’s national climate change strategy (REDD) now include measures to protect indigenous groups.

Our work
  • We led the formation of the Guatemalan Indigenous Committee on Climate Change (GICCC), which is the first lobbying organization in Latin America to advocate for the protection of indigenous rights during climate change.
  • The GICCC is actively involved in the design of the UN Framework Law on Climate Change and the formation of Guatemala’s climate change strategies.
  • We attend international conferences and organize meetings with environmental organizations and national and regional leaders to persuade these groups to include the GICCC in policy and legislation discussions.
  • We advocate for including measures to protect indigenous rights and communities in legislation and national policies.
  • We organize information sessions in indigenous communities and organizations to educate them about climate change and prompt them to participate in national and international climate change forums.

Ak’ Tenamit has participated in the UN’s International Climate Change conferences since 2009.