Thursday, May 19, 2011

More than 1300 meet at Permanent Forum

 More than 1300 to meet at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous People to review progress

New York, May 16: More than 1 300 delegates are expected to attend the tenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) at UN Headquarters in New York from 16 to 27 May 2011.  This year’s Permanent Forum will be especially significant, since it is the Permanent Forum’s review year. It will focus on the implementation of UNPFII recommendations on:
 i) economic and social development,
ii) the environment, and
iii) free, prior and informed consent.

At its previous nine sessions, the Permanent Forum made 131 recommendations related to Economic and Social Development, 127 on the Environment and 35 related to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The Forum has received appraisal on the implementation of about half of these recommendations.

The Permanent Forum will engage with Member States, United Nations agencies and civil society. These delegates will include the UN, intergovernmental organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs), NGOs and academia.

During the second week of the session, the Permanent Forum will hold an in-depth dialogue with UNICEF. The main purpose of the in-depth dialogue is to obtain a better understanding of the functions of UNICEF and also to consider some of the challenges and opportunities faced by United Nations agencies in discharging their mandates, especially those related to indigenous peoples. This dialogue includes brief presentations from high level representative of UNICEF as well as regional coordinators.

The special regional focus of the Permanent Forum will be on indigenous peoples of the Central and South America and the Caribbean region. Other special features include:
  • a discussion on the Permanent Forum’s mission to Colombia;
  • a half-day discussion on the right to water and indigenous peoples
·       discussions on studies completed this year by the UNPFII (during the second week of the session). 

The permanent Forum expects some 30 UN and other inter-governmental organizations and about 60 governments. In addition, the opening ceremony will be addressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, Ms. Kimberly Teehee, White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs  Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator.

Human Rights
The Forum has invited the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to have a dialogue during the first week of the Forum. Members of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chairperson of the Forum will also participate.

Other highlights of the session

  • Discussion on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples which will take place during the second week of the session.
  • Discussion on Rio +20, again during the second week of the session.
  • Follow up recommendations and action on the various studies that will be presented during the Forum.

Cultural exhibition on indigenous peoples and water
During the Permanent Forum Session, there will also be an indigenous exhibition at the UN, which aims to present the ways in which water is tied to indigenous peoples’ spiritual, cultural, political and economic systems. The exhibition includes photographs from a number of internationally recognized artists such as Wayne Quilliam, one of Australia’s most respected indigenous photographic artists. Wayne is the first indigenous photographer to headline the International Photo Biennale and has created and curated more than 100 exhibitions throughout the world. Other such artists whose works will be on display include Ina Hume (Bangladesh), David Hernandez Palmar (Venezuela), Brian Adams (USA), and Troy Donovan Hunter (Canada).

For journalists without United Nations press accreditation, please refer to the website of the Media and Accreditation Liaison Unit for details:, or call +1 212 963 6934.

For media queries, including interviews with United Nations officials and indigenous representatives, please contact Newton Kanhema, tel: +1 212 963 5602 e-mail: , United Nations Department of Public Information

For the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues, please contact either Broddi Sigurdarson tel: +1 917 367 2106, or Sonia Smallacombe +1 917 367 5066,, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

For more information on the tenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please see: