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World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: Moving Forward in Realizing Rights of Indigenous Peoples

arton4563The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), a High-level Plenary meeting of the 69th session of the UN GA, was held at UNHQ in New York from 22-23 September, bringing together Heads of State and Government, Member States, hundreds of Indigenous representatives from around the world, UN agencies and civil society representatives. The meeting included an opening plenary, three roundtable discussions, a panel discussion and a closing plenary session. The full programme is available here.

The main objectives of the WCIP were to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to improve implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), adopted in 2007. The opening plenary saw the adoption of an Outcome Document that pursues the realization of the rights enshrined in the UNDRIP, which establishes minimum standards for Indigenous Peoples’ survival, dignity, well-being and rights.

Opening Plenary and adoption of the Outcome Document

The meeting was opened through a welcome prayer by Chief Sidd Hill of the Haudenosaunee, and several high-level speakers gave statements. In his remarks, President of the General Assembly (PGA) Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa noted that the Conference should focus on the challenges facing Indigenous Peoples, and renew commitment of Member States to address them. At the national level, while there have been many declarations of commitment, policies and legislative action to improve the conditions of Indigenous Peoples, there continues to be a deep chasm between these commitments and action to realize them.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the deep connection between Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, and how much the world stands to learn from their knowledge. He indicated that Indigenous Peoples are central to the discourse of human rights and global development. Echoing the PGA, he drew attention to the Outcome Document as a means to bridge the gap between promise and reality, noting that the Document makes a number of direct requests on him, and he would work closely with Indigenous Peoples and the UN system going forward. President of Bolivia Evo Morales Ayma also noted the connection between Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, as well as the fundamental principles of life and peace, noting that these principles are increasingly under threat by the capitalist system. Climate change has become one of the most serious problems facing the planet, and an effective way to fight it is to base action on the experience and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples; the Conference should therefore serve as a starting point in the process of transformation and change based on their knowledge, he urged.

President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö noted that the Conference and in its preparations reinforced joint commitment to the UNDRIP. In addition, he stressed, Indigenous Peoples’ participation in decision-making is also vital at the national level; procedures may vary from country to country, but in all cases the objective should be to reach consensus in good faith. He told participants that the Finnish government had worked together with the Sámi Parliament to expand the scope of the obligation to consult. The proposed reform spells out the concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

In his remarks, President of the Republic of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, speaking on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States, stated that it is unfortunate that the participation of Indigenous Peoples in UN fora is constantly questioned: “It is incomprehensible, if not to say bizarre and shameful that some States attempt to hinder the participation of Indigenous Peoples, offering no explanation of their actions,” he told participants. In addition, their rights must be respected and not sacrificed for material gains. “It is crucial to understand that the cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples is a form of wealth that clearly outweighs the economic profit gained by extensive and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources,” he stressed, highlighting that urbanization, industrialization, world wars, deportations and extensive migration have left deep wounds within many Indigenous populations. Concluding, he stated, “We are obliged to do everything we can to support Indigenous Peoples; to respect their past and to grant them their future. Indigenous Peoples, no matter if they live in the Leningrad Oblast, Crimea, the Amazonas, New Zealand, Arizona or the Scandinavian peninsula, they must all be fully acknowledged. Let us learn to listen to the voices that have been silenced for too long and too often continue to be.”

President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, explained that in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, Indigenous issues are at the core of national identities, and of historical, social and political realities. He drew attention to the commitment and leadership that Indigenous women and men have demonstrated throughout the years in their pursuit of recognition, protection and promotion of their rights. The President described the Outcome Document as “a road map to reposition Indigenous Peoples” in the United Nations agenda. “We must continue working together. Inequality, injustice and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples are still an appalling reality. To eradicate these practices and honor their rights, we must strengthen international cooperation, and above all, intensify actions within each of our countries,” he emphasized.

In his remarks, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was confident that the Outcome Document would provide strong human rights tools to promote the full application of the UNDRIP; it is also critical to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are fully embedded in all other international initiatives that affect them. “The new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals must be explicitly rooted in those rights, so that Indigenous rights, lands and cultures can no longer be sacrificed in the name of skewed concepts of development.” The High Commissioner identified that ultimately, the meaning and value of all these international processes can only be measured in real impact. This would require decisive action at the national and local level with resources and political will that match the ambitions expressed in speeches, he concluded.

In her remarks, Aili Keskitalo, President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway, welcomed the adoption of the Outcome Document as a small but important step for Indigenous Peoples, acknowledging that it recognizes the urgent need to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and their representative institutions are able to participate at the United Nations on issues affecting them. She further noted that Indigenous Peoples can help strengthen societies, by advancing collective rights, and the rights of elders, women, youth, children, and the disabled. “When humankind harnesses the potential of Indigenous Peoples, we will all be more harmonious, more successful, and more just. If there is anything we all in this great hall should learn from these last three years it is that the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Member States, and the United Nations, can be a mutually respectful and beneficial one, when carried out in good faith and the spirit of cooperation,” she concluded.

Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, contributed that it was highly important to underscore not only the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter , but for all parties to be mindful of the pertinent international legal obligations of Member States in relation to all peoples, including Indigenous Peoples. She emphasized the peremptory norms of international law and, in particular, the principle and right to self-determination, as affirmed in the Charter, the International Covenants, the 1970 Friendly Relations Declaration, and the UNDRIP. “Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali underlined in 1993: ‘Human rights [is] the common language of humanity,’” Dr. Sambo Dorough invoked. “The human rights of Indigenous Peoples must not be politicized or otherwise undermined by local, regional and national State interests and agendas. Rather, Indigenous human rights must be respected and recognized by local, regional and national governments.”

The Outcome Document was unanimously adopted during the opening plenary session. Provisions include commitments to:

• “consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their Free, Prior and Informed Consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them, in accordance with the applicable principles of the Declaration,” [paragraph 3] as well as “prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.” [paragraph 20]

• “cooperating with Indigenous Peoples, through their own representative institutions, to develop and implement national action plans, strategies or other measures, where relevant, to achieve the ends of the Declaration.” [paragraph 8]

• “intensifying our efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against discrimination against Indigenous Peoples and individuals, in particular, women, children, youth, older persons and persons with disabilities, by strengthening legal, policy and institutional frameworks.” [paragraph 18]

• “giving due consideration to all the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.”

The Outcome Document further:

• “invite[s] Member States and actively encourage[s] the private sector and other institutions to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the Trust Fund on Indigenous Issues, the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility and the United Nations Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership as a means of respecting and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. [paragraph 38]

• “requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues and Member States, taking into account the views expressed by Indigenous Peoples, to report to the General Assembly at its seventieth session on the implementation of the present outcome document, and to submit at the same session, through the Economic and Social Council, recommendations regarding how to use, modify and improve existing United Nations mechanisms to achieve the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ways to enhance a coherent, system-wide approach to achieving the ends of the Declaration and specific proposals to enable the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and institutions, building on his report on ways and means of promoting participation at the United Nations of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives on the issues affecting them.” [1]

Click here for the webcast of the opening plenary meeting.

Click here for the summary of the opening plenary.

Roundtable discussions

Three roundtable discussions were held: i) UN system action for the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; ii) Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national and local level; and iii) Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources. These discussions brought together Member States, observers and representatives from the UN system, Indigenous Peoples, civil society organizations and national human rights institutions in an interactive format.

Roundtable 1: UN system action for the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Ghazali Ohorella, Representative of the Pacific Indigenous Region and Edita Hrda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic co-chaired the first roundtable. Panellists included Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development; Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and Atencio Lopez, Representative of the Central and South America and the Caribbean Indigenous Region.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz indicated that Indigenous concerns had become a cross-cutting issue in the UN system, and Indigenous Peoples’ interests are multifaceted, ranging from peace and security to human rights and the environment. She urged the UN to take a more coherent approach to addressing the issues that affected them, including human rights violations, to avoid marginalization in the development agenda. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not include Indigenous Peoples, and unless UN actions are better coordinated, Indigenous issues will always fall through the cracks, she stressed. “We need to understand that Indigenous Peoples are among those who have and continue to contribute significantly in terms of saving the earth, by mitigating climate change and strengthening communities who truly believe and practice sustainability, stewardship and harmony with nature, mutual reciprocity and collectivity,” Ms. Tauli-Corpuz explained. “We are contributing solutions to the crises we all face. It will be to the detriment of the earth and the human society if we continue to be excluded in decision-making processes which impact us and our rights get trampled on a daily basis.” Concluding, she made a number of recommendations, including, among others:

• the hiring of dedicated staff for addressing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and issues;

• an increase in dedicated resources in terms of funds to support the work on Indigenous People;

• creating communities of practice in which agencies, programmes and funds come together to discuss coordination and the impacts of implementation of the UNDRIP, ILO Convention 169 and other relevant conventions, programmes of action and policies on Indigenous Peoples.

There was broad consensus during this roundtable session that the UN should respond to the adoption of the Outcome Document by moving the focus from normative discussions on Indigenous Peoples’ issues to action and integration of Indigenous Peoples in the UN’s work at all levels. Participants also stressed the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ full and equal participation in the UN system.

They provided examples of how this could be done, by:

• ensuring Indigenous Peoples’ participation in various decision-making governance structures at local, national, regional and international levels;

• recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ governments and high-level official by providing an adequate UN status;

• and by ensuring that there are UN staff members with Indigenous backgrounds, amongst other recommendations.

Several speakers called for the appointment of an Indigenous senior UN official – at the level of Under-Secretary-General – to oversee the implementation of the UNDRIP and to raise awareness of Indigenous Peoples issues within the UN system and beyond. Many speakers drew attention to the UN system’s work on Indigenous Peoples at the regional and national level, providing examples of how regional and national UN mechanisms, including the Regional Commissions and the UN Country Teams, can ensure that Indigenous Peoples are part of the development and strategizing of programmes and activities in a structured and coherent manner, including in the UN Development Assistance Framework. Recommendations were made for an oversight mechanism for the implementation of the UNDRIP, with some speakers calling for the establishment of a new UN mechanism, while others referred to updating existing ones, and strengthening the work of the UN treaty bodies on Indigenous Peoples’ issues.

Click here for the webcast of Roundtable 1.

Click here for the summary of Roundtable 1.

Click here for the list of speakers.

Roundtable 2: Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national and local level

David Choquehuanca, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bolivia and Joseph Ole Simmel, representative of the African Indigenous Region, co-chaired the second roundtable. Panellists included James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Soyata Maiga, Commissioner, African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

In his remarks, Mr. Anaya said the most difficult obstacle to fully implementing the Indigenous Peoples’ rights was ignorance among the broader societies and political elites in the countries in which Indigenous People lived. That ignorance was often manifested and perpetuated by mainstream media and popular stereotypes, which depicted Indigenous Peoples as relics of the past. He underscored that while the Outcome Document adopted earlier in the day by consensus renewed Member States’ affirmation of the rights enshrined in the UNDRIP, the commitment to implementing those rights must be accompanied by programmes in education and awareness-raising geared towards all of society. Indigenous issues and realities must be mainstreamed into primary and secondary educational systems, he urged. Additionally, the media should be encouraged, and should itself adopt specific programmes, to become educated about Indigenous Peoples in relation to contemporary events. Government authorities should be made aware of the impacts of their functions on Indigenous Peoples, and Indigenous Peoples should be invited to contribute to such educational and awareness-raising efforts in the spirit of reconciliation, partnership and commitment to the human rights of all, as represented in the UNDRIP, Mr. Anaya concluded.

Through their statements, various Member States reaffirmed their support for the UNDRIP, and many speakers welcomed the Outcome Document and highlighted the specific commitments to be taken by States and the UN to strengthen implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national and local levels. Both Member States and Indigenous representatives drew attention to advances at the national level in implementing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the recognition of Indigenous Peoples and their rights in national constitutions, laws, policies and programmes. Specific examples identified included rights to self-determination; autonomy; lands, territories and resources; consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent; Indigenous education and languages; health and traditional medicines; treaty rights; and reconciliation.

Speakers also drew attention to ongoing challenges in the implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples across a range of issues and rights, with several participants referring to the need for ongoing dialogue between governments and Indigenous Peoples. In this regard, the participation of Indigenous Peoples in parliaments and other political bodies was highlighted; however, more remains to be done to strengthen such participation at the national and local levels, participants urged. Member States and Indigenous representatives also referred to the importance of the development of national action plans and policies related to Indigenous Peoples, and noted that the commitment in the Outcome Document is a positive step.

The representative of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations Network of Australia and the National Indigenous Higher Education Consortium highlighted key areas related to access to justice that are necessary in order to move the Outcome Document forward at the national and local level. These include: operating in good faith; applying principles of full disclosure; ensuring that Indigenous Peoples share in the benefits derived from resources taken from their lands, territories, waters and coastal seas; addressing educational disadvantage; and addressing issues related to families and violence. A number of speakers also drew attention to the issue of violence against women and girls, and the need for immediate and concerted action. Recommended actions put forth by the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition and all members of the Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence included convening a high-level conference to examine challenges to the safety of Indigenous women and children, and appointing a Special Rapporteur to focus on the human rights issues of Indigenous women and children, amongst others.

Click here for the summary of Roundtable 2.

Click here for the summary of Roundtable 2 in Spanish.

Roundtable 3: Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources

The third roundtable was co-chaired by Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs of New Zealand and Joan Carling, representative of the Asia Indigenous Region. Mililani Trask, Representative of the Pacific Indigenous Region and Abdon Nababan, Representative of the Asia Indigenous Region were presenters.

Referring to the struggles of the Maori people in New Zealand and a significant loss of their traditional lands, Minister Sharples in his opening remarks noted that sustainable economic development consistent with cultural values is a central pillar for Indigenous Peoples. Member States need to recognize the positive contribution that successful Indigenous economies make to national and regional economies.

Ms. Carling noted that lands, territories and natural resources were at the heart of the collective survival of Indigenous Peoples who were the peoples of the land, even before States were formed. A “tipping point” has now been reached, she stressed, with continuing land dispossession and destruction, and militarization of lands, territories and resources.

During the discussion, participants underscored that Indigenous Peoples have a close relationship with their lands, territories and resources. The representative of the Pacific Caucus stated that the “land didn’t belong to the people, but rather the people belonged to the land.” While Indigenous Peoples’ relationship to their lands, territories and resources are outlined in various articles of the UNDRIP and in various operational paragraphs of the Outcome Document, speakers indicated that there is a lack of recognition of their rights to their lands, territories and resources.

Some States have legally recognized Indigenous Peoples’ collective land rights, sacred sites and heritage areas, participants indicated. There have also been efforts to provide compensation for lands, territories and resources taken from Indigenous Peoples, they identified, and some UN Agencies have implemented programmes aimed at addressing Indigenous Peoples’ sustainable resource management of lands, territories and resources and food resources, enhancement of biodiversity and food security.

Colonization was another issue raised, with speakers explaining that it has affected Indigenous Peoples’ guardianship of their lands, territories and resources, and for many decades these issues have been the primary and urgent concern for Indigenous Peoples. In many instances, national laws allow for the occupation of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources, which has led to forced eviction, land grabbing, concession permits for timber, plantations and mining and other extractive industries, as well as the delineation of national parks and protected areas without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples. Participants detailed that the continuing violation of FPIC in relation to lands, territories and resources is causing more poverty, marginalization and conflicts.

A number of speakers referred to the legal security of lands, territories and resources of Indigenous Peoples as a precondition for achieving sustainable development. This includes the protection of traditional occupations and livelihoods, and sustainable resource management systems. Partnerships are needed between Indigenous Peoples and governments at both the global and national levels. Immediate implementation of FPIC, based on the UNDRIP and the Outcome Document, is imperative, speakers stressed. Finally, there must be compensation and redress for lands illegally taken away from Indigenous Peoples, and regulation of corporations that are violating Indigenous Peoples’ rights on their lands, territories and resources.

Click here for the webcast of Roundtable 3.

Click here for the summary of Roundtable 3.

Panel Discussion: Indigenous priorities for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda

Patricia Balbuena, Vice-Minister for Interculturality of the Ministry of Culture of Peru, and Jannie Lasimbang, representative of the Asia Indigenous Region, co-chaired the panel discussion on “Indigenous priorities for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.” Panellists included Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, DESA; Albert Deterville, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and Saoudata Aboubacrine, representative of the Africa Indigenous Region.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Lasimbang indicated that the Outcome Document would set the context for future work on Indigenous Peoples’ issues, in particular paragraphs 10-17, 20-26, and 34-37 in regards to sustainable development for Indigenous Peoples. She further highlighted operative paragraph 37, which notes the commitment of States to give due consideration to all rights of Indigenous Peoples in the post-2015 development agenda. Noting that Indigenous Peoples comprise 15% of the world’s poor, but just 5% of its total population, she stressed that the post-2015 development agenda must address that situation and their overall well-being; the UNDRIP must be integrated into all of its aspects and commitments made, and the Outcome Document can provide impetus for this.

Mr. Wu said development had often led to the destruction of Indigenous Peoples’ political, economic, social, cultural, educational and knowledge systems. The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues had focused two of its sessions on the Millennium Development Goals and had made numerous recommendations to States, the UN system and others to ensure the goals responded to Indigenous Peoples’ specific concerns. Drawing on the lessons of the MDGs, the post-2015 development agenda must be bold and bridge the gaps in the Millennium targets to ensure inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, underpinned by sufficient data, he concluded.

Mr. Deterville said the post-2015 development agenda must include fulfillment of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, noting that during the seventh session of the Expert Mechanism in July 2014, the expert session held a panel discussion on the need for FPIC from Indigenous Peoples to be included in the post-2015 agenda. The rights of Indigenous Peoples to education, particularly their rights to integrate their own educational perspectives, culture and knowledge, must also be integrated.

A representative of the International Indian Treaty Council referred to the removal of references to Indigenous Peoples and their priorities in the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These included references to culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development; provisions to safeguard rights to land and resources; food sovereignty; treaty rights; and Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Indigenous Peoples, she stressed, were included in only two paragraphs pertaining to food security and education in the final OWG Outcome Document, while the core issues of rights to land and resources, self-determination and FPIC were watered down or eliminated. She welcomed the adoption of the WCIP Outcome Document as a commitment to rectify these omissions going forward.

A number of key points were raised during the panel discussion:

• It is essential to secure the adequate inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the post-2015 agenda; the rights enshrined in UNDRIP should be the basis for their inclusion.

• Indigenous Peoples should participate actively in the development of programmes and the implementation of the post-2015 agenda, both at the national and international level.

• Specific indicators on Indigenous Peoples should be included in the post-2015 agenda; they should not simply be included in the list of vulnerable groups.

• In order to achieve sustainable development, it is imperative to be respectful of Indigenous Peoples’ development according to their own aspirations, and the need to be respectful of their cultures and identities.

• It is very important to recognize the rights to land, territories and resources, to self-determination, and to Free, Prior and Informed Consent as some of the main pillars to achieve sustainable development for Indigenous Peoples.

• The post-2015 agenda should reflect what Member States have agreed in the WCIP Outcome Document, including the need to respect Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge to sustain the environment and combat climate change.

• Participation of Indigenous youth, women, and persons with disabilities should be guaranteed in any process related to development.

• A human rights-based approach to development should be incorporated in the post-2015 development agenda.

• There is a need to develop specific indicators on Indigenous Peoples’ well-being in the post-2105 development agenda.

A final point raised was that there can be no sustainable development if Indigenous Peoples’ rights are not included.

Click here for the webcast of the Panel Discussion.

Click here for the summary of the Panel Discussion.

Closing Plenary

In his closing remarks, the President of the General Assembly Mr. Sam Kutesa highlighted the inclusive nature of discussions undertaken by Indigenous Peoples of the world and Member States over the two days of the WCIP. The adoption by the General Assembly of the Outcome Document signifies a new chapter in the on-going dialogue and engagement between Indigenous Peoples and Member States, he observed, and will serve as a guiding document going forward, building on the commitments the international community previously made in the foundation document, the UNDRIP.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted that Indigenous Peoples and Member States have together identified important priorities and necessary actions on land, resources, justice systems, education, health and development. He stated that human rights are at the core of these efforts, and elaborated, “The future we want values and preserves diversity. The future we want requires more equitable and sustainable use of the world’s resources. We need to make peace with nature. The future we want is one where all Indigenous Peoples realize their human rights.” This would require determination, tenacity, political will, appropriate legal framework, and human and institutional capacities, Mr. Eliasson concluded.

Setareki Macanawai, Chairperson Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network Global Disability Caucus (IPWDGN) cited that Indigenous persons with disabilities face multiple discrimination and barriers to participate in society, including access to development programmes and funds, education, employment, health care, communication and transportation services. In addition, they are overrepresented among those living in absolute poverty, and continue to exist as one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. He drew attention to operative paragraphs 9, 10 and 18 of the Outcome Document that refer to Indigenous persons with disabilities. “The development of the rights of Indigenous person with disabilities means that decisions are not taken without our full consultation and participation through our representative organizations. This development must also be in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” he asserted. “In the new development agenda, in the new world that we are building, Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities must be included. To ensure this and to guarantee that they are not left behind yet again, the future development goals, targets and indicators must be inclusive of Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities,” Mr. Macanawai concluded.

The WCIP ended with a closing prayer from Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs, New Zealand.

Click here for the webcast of the closing plenary.

More information

Click here for the programme.

For background documents, click here.

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