Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), urged for greater inclusion of Indigenous peoples as “full partners in decision-making that affect their lands, health, resources and way of life” at the 22nd Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).
During her keynote address at UNPFII, Ms. Al Mubarak said:
“The Paris Agreement states that climate change is a common concern for all humankind and when taking action to address climate change, the rights of indigenous peoples should be respected, promoted and enacted. It is imperative that we work together to ensure the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we seek solutions to solve the climate crisis.”
Pointing to reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Glasgow Climate Pact, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, Ms. Al Mubarak recognized the myriad contributions by Indigenous peoples to tackling the climate crisis — from advocacy to environmental stewardship.
Watch Razan Al Mubarak’s full remarks at the UNPFII and her message for International Mother Earth Day.
Dear friends, dear colleagues.
Today is International Mother Earth Day. “Mother Earth.” The name gives me pause. As climate change and biodiversity loss threaten the planet that we call our home, who will come to her protection?
I am personally inspired by the many indigenous communities around the world who are finely attuned to their environment. Their livelihoods, their identities and way of life depend on a delicate balance between what is taken and what is given back.
More so, indigenous peoples protect and steward 40% of protected areas and 80% of global biodiversity around the world. This Mother Earth Day, I hope we can all learn from indigenous peoples and shift to a reciprocal relationship with our planet, one in which we don't just take and consume, but give back, protect, replenish and nurture.
Once we make this shift to a harmonious and just relationship with the natural world, meaningful and impactful climate and conservation action will, as they say, come naturally.
Happy Mother Earth Day.
— Razan Al Mubarak
To mark International Mother Earth Day 2023, Razan Al Mubarak penned an op-ed for Ms. Magazine in which she acknowledged an important ethos of Indigenous Peoples, one that values a symbiotic relationship between all living things and the planet we share. Ms. Al Mubarak said:
“As we battle the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, this Mother Earth Day is an opportunity to rethink our relationship with nature. It might be tempting to view our planet as something that serves and nurtures us – something we conquer and exploit as a means to a human end. Certainly, many of our leaders, policymakers, and governments think this way. But a shift to the Indigenous perspectives, values, and knowledge – one that prioritizes a harmonious relationship with the natural world – can inspire real, impactful, and equitable climate and conservation action.”
Ms. Al Mubarak also emphasized the importance of listening to indigenous voices, as they are often the frontline responders to the consequences of climate change:
“It will only be possible to reach the Paris Agreement and Montreal-Kumming goals by making Indigenous solutions central to global efforts. There are two critical steps we must take now: increase the number of Indigenous people at the decision-making table and ensure funding earmarked for Indigenous Peoples gets to them quickly and easily.”
As the UN Climate ChangeHigh-Level Champion for COP28, Ms. al Mubarak said that, for the first time ever, over 100 young people from Indigenous Peoples and other climate vulnerable groups will be sponsored to participate in the conference in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
Read the full op-ed by Razan Al Mubarak in Ms. Magazine.
This last month, Muslims, Christians, and Jews the world over have celebrated Ramadan, Easter, and Passover simultaneously – something that only happens about once every thirty years. In an op-ed for Arabian Business, Ms. Al Mubarak said:
“This period of collective spiritual introspection is a powerful reminder of a central tenet of all religions: compassion – going out of one’s way to show concern for and relieve the suffering of others. This Ramadan, I have spent much time thinking about the lessons that a call to compassion can provide in our shared fight against climate change and our charge as stewards of the earth.”
Citing historian Karen Armstrong, who found that all faiths have formulated their own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule — to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself — Ms. Al Mubarak said:
“As my homeland, the United Arab Emirates, prepares to host the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) this November, how can we use the lessons of these holy seasons to make compassion central to climate activism? How can the Golden Rule inspire us to empower and support the four billion people worldwide who are most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change?”
Speaking about the families impacted by the recent floods in Pakistan and the on-going drought in Kenya, Ms. Al Mubarak insisted that “we must think of them as our own family,” adding:
“In my role as United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, one of my main goals is to increase the resilience of four billion people to the effects of climate change. The Race to Resilience campaign aims to transform urban slums into safe cities; equip smallholder farmers to adapt to climate threats; and protect homes and businesses against climate shocks. We’ve already made progress: the campaign has made 2.9 billion people more resilient to climate hazards.”
Read the full op-ed by Razan Al Mubarak on Arabian Business.
Dear friends, dear colleagues,
As we bid Ramadan farewell and begin to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, I wanted to share a short reflection with you about what made this Ramadan special to me.
This past holiday season, Muslims, Christians and Jews observed Ramadan, Easter and Passover simultaneously, something that only happens about once every 30 years. One of the pillars of all these Abrahamic religions is the call to compassion: that we treat others as we would want to be treated.
In the context of climate action, the call to compassion requires us to see ourselves in the four billion people most vulnerable to climate change and to understand that climate change is not an over there issue, but a here and now issue.
So let us celebrate this Eid al-Fitr, Easter and Passover with a call to compassion to build a safer, more equitable world for all people and for all future generations.
— Razan Al Mubarak
Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Japan to meet with members of the Japan National Committee of IUCN, where we discussed upcoming priorities and opportunities for further Union engagement.
What left an impression during these discussions was the famed hospitality of our hosts and the idyllic location of our meeting: on one side was the breathtaking Tokyo skyline and, on the other side in the far distance, majestic Mount Fuji seemed to hold court — reminding us that it’s been there far longer than we have.
It struck me as an apt metaphor for how we approach climate change and nature, as often separate things — so separate that we even have different COPs for them! We should be embracing the interconnectedness of climate change and biodiversity loss as two sides of the very same coin.
In Japan, I met with Mr. Toshihiro Kitamura, the Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MoFA-J); and Mr. Naohisa Okuda, the Director General of the Nature Conservation Bureau at the Ministry of Environment of Japan (MoE-J). Among other items, we discussed the role of Nature-based solutions in tackling the crises of biodiversity loss and climate change; in Japan, where MoE-J works on nature and biodiversity and MoFA-J works on climate change, Nature-based Solutions offer a remarkable opportunity for partnership across agencies, and to embrace a holistic approach to nature and climate change.
I was deeply moved by the camaraderie among IUCN members in Japan – one that’s rooted in mutual concern for nature and respect for IUCN. Japan is ahead of the curve, laying the groundwork for the integration of nature and climate change, and I am excited to revisit their progress during the upcoming IUCN Leaders Forum this October in Geneva, at COP28 in Dubai, or at a later time in Japan.
– Razan Al Mubarak
In an interview with Quartz Africa, Razan Al Mubarak spoke about a range of issues related to the devastating impact of climate change on women. Ms. Al Mubarak said:
“Women are less likely to survive climate-related disasters due to existing gender inequalities, which can create disparities in information and mobility. Further, women have much more limited access to resources like funding, technology, job training, and decision-making that would directly improve their well-being. Climate change is not only an ecological crisis, but fundamentally a question of justice, prosperity, and gender equality.”
She also discussed what she is doing as UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 to reduce the exposure of women to climate hazards:
“One of our campaigns, Roof Over Our Heads, puts women’s collectives at the centre of addressing access to safe and decent housing for the most vulnerable communities. We’ve set a shared target for governments, donors and private sector actors to urgently expand access to clean cooking through at least $10 billion in innovative finance each year.”
Ms. Al Mubarak said that one of my key priorities is to advance the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, the first comprehensive global plan to rally both states and non-state actors behind enhancing the resilience among our planet’s four billion people, and ensuring this is done in a just and inclusive way.
Read the full interview with Razan Al Mubarak in Quartz Africa.