Table of Contents

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples

The Search for Legal Remedies

Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk

Indigenous peoples occupy a unique niche within the climate justice movement, as many indigenous communities live subsistence lifestyles that are severely disrupted by the effects of climate change. Additionally, in many parts of the world, domestic law is applied differently to indigenous peoples than it is to their non-indigenous peers, further complicating the quest for legal remedies. The contributors to this book bring a range of expert legal perspectives to this complex discussion, offering both a comprehensive explanation of climate change-related problems faced by indigenous communities and a breakdown of various real world attempts to devise workable legal solutions. Regions covered include North and South America (Brazil, Canada, the US and the Arctic), the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tuvalu and the Federated States of Micronesia), Australia and New Zealand, Asia (China and Nepal) and Africa (Kenya).

Chapter 21: Changing climate and changing rights: exploring legal and policy frameworks for indigenous mountain communities in Nepal to face the challenges of climate change

J. Mijin Cha

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, human rights, law and development, politics and public policy, human rights


Communities worldwide will face different challenges from a changing climate. While there are certainly underlying cohesive themes, such as gender inclusion and food security, successful climate change adaptation policies will be tailored specifically for community needs rather than focused on more traditional broad-based legal and policy frameworks. The need for specialization becomes even clearer when considering how to address issues of marginalization of communities and individuals, particularly intra-community marginalization. Marginalization, also known as social and/or political exclusion, of groups or individuals within a community will likely increase due to the stresses that climate change places on a community. Successful adaptation polities will be crafted with an eye towards these realities. This chapter discusses the challenges that indigenous mountain and forest communities in Nepal, and particularly women in these communities, will face as they struggle to adapt to a changing climate. Indigenous women in these communities will face increased hardship and burdens due to their substantial role in providing household security. This chapter addresses whether the increased burdens of climate change will result in a shifting of rights-based issues allowing new avenues for legal relief within existing international legal obligations.

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