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UN and Indigenous Peoples Call for Indigenous Perspectives in Post-2015 Development Agenda

Unpfii29 August 2013: On International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, indigenous leaders and UN representatives called for indigenous perspectives to be reflected in public decision making, including discussions of the post-2015 development agenda.

This year's International Day theme was “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.” A special programme of activities took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US. At the opening, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the post-2015 development agenda should incorporate the rights, perspectives and needs of indigenous peoples.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Shamshad Akhtar, on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, called for a stronger level of commitment to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), highlighted the PFII's concept of “development with culture and identity.” He stressed the need to address injustices of the past, especially in the post-colonial context of nation building, calling for greater efforts in Africa.

Many organizations made statements commemorating the International Day. Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO), highlighted the organization's work to prevent violence against indigenous women and children. He noted that 2014 would be the 25th anniversary of the ILO Indigenous and Tribal People's Convention.

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said global sustainability must build on local foundations reflecting the views and needs of local communities, including indigenous peoples. She highlighted UNESCO's leadership of inter-agency work to include indigenous knowledge in the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The International Foundation for Agricultural Development (IFAD) highlighted its work on scaling up local strategies for sustainable development, called “learning routes,” including recent fieldwork in the Mekong region with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

The International Land Coalition (ILC) affirmed the role of indigenous peoples as custodians of land, water and biodiversity, and highlighted the 2013 Antigua Declaration, which expressed concern over land grabbing and criminalization of customary forms of land and resource use.

Other organizations that made statements included the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples in December 1994, and it has been celebrated yearly since then. [PFII Webpage with links] [Programme for International Day]