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COP28 Collection – Ñawi K. Flores, Founder of  Kinray Hub & K’allam’p

With climate negotiations starting this week, we asked leading figures in the Blue Earth community to share their hopes and expectations for COP28 outcomes. 

Ñawi K. Flores, is the Founder of the Indigenous-led K’allam’p organisation and also acts as a spokesperson for native communities in the climate movement. He shares hopes for COP28, including raising the voice of marginalised groups such as his own in the traditionally western-centric negotiations. 

Head to LinkedIn to join the discussion. 

Ñawi K. Flores, Founder of  Kinray Hub & K’allam’p, Indigenous-led Klimate Research & Resilient Development, Citizen of Apya Yala and Turtle Island, Tawantinsuyu, Kutakachi Kichwa First Nation, Chichupampa Llakta

Will you be attending COP28?

Regrettably, I confirm Kinray Hub’s absence at COP28 due to the financial constraints many Indigenous-led initiatives like ours face. This situation is emblematic of a larger issue within the climate action discourse: the marginalization of Indigenous perspectives in shaping climate policies and solutions.

What are your hopes for COP28?

We envision COP28 as a platform where Indigenous communities’ voices are heard and actively integrated into the climate action framework. The major themes of COP28 – from the Global Stocktake to urban climate action – present opportunities to incorporate Indigenous wisdom, particularly in areas of sustainable land use and food systems, resilience building, adaptation, mitigation, conservation, and restoration strategies.

What are the biggest challenges to these hopes being realised? 

The primary obstacle is the exclusion of Indigenous-led projects from critical climate conversations and markets. This absence hinders the development of holistic, culturally sensitive, and effective climate solutions. Moreover, it perpetuates a cycle of ‘pretendianism,’ where superficial acknowledgments of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) replace genuine engagement and collaboration. Such an approach risks leading to climate solutions and credits colonization, where external ideas overshadow Indigenous practices that have long contributed to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

What’s your single message to the global business community during COP28 and beyond?

The current global climate movement often oscillates between tokenism and ‘Aidism,’ where Indigenous communities are seen as mere beneficiaries rather than equal partners. We urge the global business community to move beyond these limiting profit-centric and business-as-usual paradigms. True partnership with Indigenous communities means cultivating authentic partnerships and integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems into the fabric of climate action strategies. It means recognizing that these communities are not just stakeholders but custodians of invaluable wisdom essential for the climate resilience of our planet.

What keeps you optimistic about the global climate movement?

Despite these challenges, our optimism is fueled by the increasing recognition of Indigenous science contributions to climate science and policy. The growing awareness and reconciliation of Indigenous stewardship practices provide a beacon of hope.

We are encouraged by initiatives that genuinely seek to understand and apply Indigenous methodologies in addressing climate change. Although still in their nascent stages, these collaborative efforts are vital steps towards a more inclusive and effective global climate movement. 

In conclusion, as COP28 delegates deliberate on the urgent climate issues at hand, we stand watchful of the consideration of this meeting in the indispensable role of Indigenous scientific knowledge and leadership. The path to a sustainable and equitable climate future lies in embracing the wisdom of those who have been guardians of the earth for millennia. Kinray Hub, though not physically present at COP28, stands committed to contributing to this collective journey towards Indigenous research governance, data sovereignty, and a healthier planet.

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