UNGA Third Committee’s Discussion of Indigenous Issues Opens

18 October 2010: The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) began its discussion of indigenous issues and the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People on 18 October 2010, in New York, US.

In the discussions, a number of speakers highlighted the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples. Belgium, on behalf of the EU, stated that climate change especially affected indigenous peoples by threatening their survival and traditional lifestyles and cultures. Guatemala mentioned climate-induced disasters, explaining that a summer drought in the centre of Guatemala had led to malnutrition, particularly among children, and natural disasters during the rainy season had had an impact on agriculture.

The representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) informed that FAO is planning to host a workshop on gender, indigenous peoples and climate change in early 2011. He explained that the workshop would look at the social dimensions of climate change in agriculture, with a focus on gender issues and indigenous peoples' rights. The representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) underscored the need for indigenous peoples to be an integral part of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, highlighting that they maintain within their lands 80% of the world's diversity. [UN Press Release]