Monday, May 23, 2011

Press Release: UN Indigenous Peoples' Partnership

Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Launch of UN Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership, Says It Offers Partners Chance to Bring Expertise under One ‘Umbrella’

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the launch of the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Partnership (UNIPP) in New York today, 20 May:

On behalf of the Secretary-General, it gives me great pleasure to lend our support to the launch of the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Partnership, a joint initiative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Labour Organization [ILO], UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] and UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund].

This initiative brings to life the Permanent Forum’s recommendation that [the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights], ILO and UNDP strengthen their partnership for the promotion and implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights through joint country programmes.  It also demonstrates our commitment to Article 41 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which calls on the entire United Nations system to do its part, including by mobilizing financial cooperation and technical assistance.

This new partnership is meant to serve as a framework to facilitate the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world.  That framework is based on the rights enshrined not only in the Declaration, but also in the ILO Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and other international human rights standards.  UNIPP is, therefore, strongly grounded in principles that align with indigenous peoples’ vision of self-determination, consultation, participation and free, prior and informed consent.

While the United Nations system has been engaging on these issues for many years, UNIPP is an opportunity for United Nations partners to bring their respective expertise under one umbrella, and intensify their efforts to “deliver as one”.  Its primary aim is to create joint United Nations country programmes for indigenous peoples, which are designed in partnership with indigenous communities.

Earlier this week the Secretary-General reminded us of the high stakes involved.  As he told the Permanent Forum, indigenous peoples “continue to lose their lands, their languages, and their resources at an alarming rate”.  The Secretary-General also stressed that our efforts will reap great dividends, not just for indigenous peoples.  “Despite these obstacles”, he said, indigenous people “make an enormous contribution to our world, including through their spiritual relationship with the earth.  By helping indigenous peoples regain their rights, we will also protect our shared environment for the benefit of all.”

I thank the Governments of Denmark and Finland for pledging to support this initiative.  I urge other Member States to come forward in the same way.  Let us all do our utmost to enable this new initiative to turn the Declaration’s principles into reality.

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