Inuit Heading to COP25 Climate Change Conference as Latest UNEP Report Highlights Global Threat

Press release from ICC Canada

November 29, 2019 – Madrid, Spain – Inuit leaders and youth are heading to Spain to attend the UN COP25 Climate Change conference. The Chair of Inuit Circumpolar Council Dalee Sambo Dorough, ICC Canada Vice-President (International) Lisa Koperqualuk, and President of the National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) Crystal Martin-Lapenskie will attend the conference at various times during its two-week duration. A strong contingent of Inuvialuit youth from Tuktoyaktuk will also travel to Madrid to show a video they made on the ravages of climate change to their community. An Inuk engaged in the Emerging Leaders Project of the ICC Alaska office, Benjamin Charles [Yup’ik], will also attend.

The importance of this conference was underlined this week by the release of a dire new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) just as Inuit leaders from Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and Chukotka concluded an ICC Executive Council Meeting in Ilulissat, Greenland.

“The report warns that without drastic action our planet is headed to warming of 3.2 degrees by 2100,” said Dalee Sambo Dorough, ICC’s International Chair. “Our ice and snow covered Arctic homelands are already undergoing dramatic change and melting. This report confirms that we must increase our collective ambition and efforts to cut our CO2 emissions. We must take immediate action to curb and ultimately end the devasting impacts that humans are having upon our planet.”

COP25 is designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP24 in Katowice, Poland last year, a key objective is to complete several matters with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, including carbon markets.

“Climate change doesn’t care about political boundaries and climate change doesn’t care about ideology,” said ICC Canada Vice-President Lisa Koperqualuk. “Climate change is a global emergency. We have a collective human duty to solve it together. In Madrid, we will work with governments, and push them to take stronger actions to curb global warming.”

In a year that has seen climate strikes and other action around the world, ICC is calling on Arctic states to lead by example and increase their emissions reduction targets and adaptation efforts.

In addition to the main COP25 meeting, there are hundreds of side events planned concurrently, providing opportunities for organizations, states, and NGOs to communicate and dialogue on climate change. These are organized into three categories: Enhancing Ambition, Promoting Implementation, and Providing Support.

Inuit will participate in an event called “From the Boreal to Arctic: Indigenous knowledge and leadership for climate mitigation and adaptation” on December 5th. ICC Chair Dalee Sambo Dorough will be a speaker, along with youth from Alaska and Canada.

Arctic events will also be held at the Indigenous Peoples Pavilion at COP25. It’s at the ICC side event at the Pavilion that a youth delegation from Tuktoyaktuk will show their film “Happening to Us”. Eriel Lugt, one of the filmmakers who will be in Spain says, “Kids should be very aware of climate change and I think we should all take it seriously because we are the next generation and we could make a change in the world. People may doubt us, but we have the power to do anything.”

ICC leaders will be speaking at additional side events including those held by the United Nations Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


Kelly Eningowuk
ICC (Alaska)
(907) 274-9058

Natasha Latreille
ICC (Canada)
(613) 563-2642

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is an Indigenous Peoples’ Organization (IPO), founded in 1977 to promote and celebrate the unity of 180,000 Inuit from Alaska (USA), Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia). ICC works to promote Inuit rights, safeguard the Arctic environment, and protect and promote the Inuit way of life. In regard to climate change, we believe that it is crucial for world leaders and governments to recognize, respect and fully implement the human rights of Inuit and all other Indigenous peoples across the globe.

Date of publication: 29 Nov 2019

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