Climate change conference a step in the right direction: Deer

When the United Nations climate change conference in Egypt wrapped up Sunday with a deal to have developing nations support the creation of a fund that would help developing countries pay for the catastrophic consequences of climate change, it was a step in the right direction, a Kahnawake envoy to the conference said.

“Of all the conferences we have had, it was the one with the largest representation of Indigenous people,” Kenneth Deer, who has been attending United Nations meetings for many years, said. “There was a lot of Indigenous people there, and a lot of energy. It was a step in the right direction, that’s for sure.”

The historic agreement was reached after weeks of fraught negotiations that went into overtime at this year’s conference climate-change conference – called COP 27 (short for conference of parties).

The conference started November 8 and ended this past Sunday.

The conference hall of diplomats broke out in applause after COP27 President Sameh Shoukry sealed the deal – which would see developed countries pool resources to help support developing countries in their battle against the very worst consequences of climate change with a strike of his gavel.

Still, the crucial questions of which countries must provide financing for the fund and which will be eligible to benefit from it have been left to future negotiations.

Deer said the high number of Indigenous people on site likely contributed to the successful outcome – despite the questions of how and where the money will come from.

“There was a variety of voices and I think that our resilience is partly to be credited. Indigenous people are stewards of the land and when we are gathered together, we are there to support each other and maintain the balance of nature and I think that was the case in Egypt,” he said.

Deer was not the only Kahnawake voice at the conference – a youth delegation from Kahnawake was also on hand in Egypt

“We are trying to stave off catastrophic effects of climate change and we are trying to fight the desertification of many natural habitats on the planet. Granted, Indigenous people haven’t caused climate change, but we’re doing everything in our power to fight it,” Deer said.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase