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The Impact of Climate Change on American and Canadian Indigenous Peoples and Their Water Resources

March 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 10245

Issue: 3

Author: Itzchak Kornfeld

Access to water is a fundamental climate change issue in North America and internationally. It is related to significant political, social, and ecological struggles that indigenous peoples face, and governments and courts so far have done little to address these inequities. This Article, adapted from Chapter 10 of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance (ELI Press 2016), discusses case law and international law instruments that indigenous peoples may employ to vindicate their rights, specifically the right to water, in light of global warming and the loss of their lands and way of life. It highlights indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States who live on extra-rural reservations and in remote and climate-vulnerable locations, and provides recommendations for mitigation and adaptation measures for these communities.

Dr. Itzchak Kornfeld is the Giordano Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

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