Global First Nations solidarity vital to climate fight – National Native Title Council head at COP27

Article by Giovanni Torre for the National Indigenous Times

National Native Title Council chief executive Jamie Lowe is at the COP27 conference in Egypt working with indigenous people from around the world to stand up for their rights.

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh began 6 November and ends 18 November.

Speaking from Egypt, Mr Lowe said there were immediate and long term issues to tackle.

“We are over here working with indigenous brothers and sisters across the globe, speaking with them, particularly those in the Pacific on how climate change is affecting them as we speak, right now,” he said.

“Our mob in Torres Strait have been impacted as water levels are rising, they are at the coal face of this.

“We know also that our mob in remote areas in central Australia are affected, where the temperatures are rising.

“Across the world we are the most vulnerable people on the planet and if we don’t implement the changes today, or yesterday, our people are going to be affected.”

In a statement, the NNTC said that Australian authorities and industry must work with First Nations landowners on renewable energy generation and carbon sequestration to address the climate crisis.

Mr Lowe’s mission at COP27 is to ensure the Council “builds networks and seeks beneficial collaborations and partnerships” to ensure NNTC member organisations are an active part of the climate change solution.

“We are looking at what the global ambition of meeting net zero looks like for First Nations people, and protecting our rights through the transition to clean energy,” said Mr Lowe.

“In terms of land mass, what foot print is required to do that, we don’t have the full data set but we know it will be significant for our people and our rights need to be protected.

“Free prior and informed consent is crucial. Our rights need to be at the forefront and central to industry and also government as we move to the new clean energy market.”

Mr Lowe said there was a need for both urgent action and long-term planning to address with climate change and its impact.

He saw his role representing the NNTC at the conference as sharing knowledge with and learning from other indigenous people from around the world.

“There are people from the right and people from the left here. The world needs to come together on these issues, it’s not them vs us,” he said.

“First Nations issues are central for us. We need to talk, we need to have the tricky conversations and find a way forward.”

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