Native title and climate change. Changes to country and culture, changes to climate: Strengthening institutions for Indigenous resilience and adaptation
Authors: Tran Tran, Lisa Strelein, Jessica Weir, Claire Stacey and Anna Dwyer
Rather than linking Indigenous communities with vulnerability, this research project into the capacities of Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate (RNTB’s) places indigenous people in a position of potential strength as agents of change. This conclusion is based on their significant land holdings, their role as important governance institutions, and as holders of an invaluable body of knowledge and understanding of how landscapes work and respond to change at micro-levels. Despite their potential as agents of change, Indigenous people and native title groups remain marginalised among the decision-making structures and practices being utilised to facilitate climate change adaptation. These two case studies from the Kimberly and Cape York demonstrate the close alignment between the aspirations of RNTBCs to care for country and address adaptation priorities. However, the potential collaboration between climate change adaptation and native title priorities is challenged by limitations of existing institutional frameworks and practices to accomodate the emergive role of native title holders and RNTBCs. This report identifies institutional barriers to effective participation of RNTBCs in climate change adaptation decision making at legislative, policy and funding levels.