Tuesday, June 17, 2014

PGA Informal Consultations June 3, 2014 Summary of Inputs

Informal consultations on the proposed outcome document for the 2014 World Conference on indigenous Peoples (the World Conference)

Convened by the President of the General Assembly, with member states and indigenous Peoples - 3rd June 2014, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Purpose of the informal consultations 

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) held informal consultations to receive substantive inputs from member states and indigenous representatives on a proposed zero- draft outcome document for the World Conference. The PGA will prepare this document with the assistance of the Permanent Representatives of Costa Rica and Slovenia and two indigenous representatives, Dr Mira Cunningham and Mr Les Malezer. A further interactive hearing will be held on 17-18 June 2014. 

Summary of inputs on the zero-draft outcome document 

The Alta outcome document, agreed by consensus among indigenous peoples in Alta Norway in June 2013, was cited by a number of speakers (from both member states and indigenous peoples) as a potential starting point for the World Conference outcome document. There were no specific objections raised to this during the consultations.

The Alta document contains four key themes:
a) Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories, resources, oceans and waters.
b) UN system action for the implementation of the rights of indigenous Peoples.
c) Implementation of the Rights of indigenous Peoples.
d) Indigenous Peoples’ priorities for Development with free, prior and informed consent.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) was highlighted by many speakers. The importance of implementing the Declaration and that it should function as a starting point (on which to build further) for the Conference outcome document was also noted. There was not, however, full consensus on these points.

 Some speakers made reference to other documents that indigenous peoples have prepared in their preparations for the World Conference, including regional outcome documents as well as the 2013 Lima Declaration of the World Conference of indigenous Women.

Flowing from the discussion on the documents mentioned above the following are some of the central themes that were raised during the consultation.

•          Access to justice.

•          Implementation of the right to free, prior and informed consent.

•          The role of the UN system:

o   Review, enhance mandates/composition of existing “indigenous” UN mandates, including the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the Inter Agency Support Group on Indigenous issues;

o   Increased mandate for higher level engagement of UN system; and

o   Establish new high level position (Under Secretary General/Special Envoy).

•          Lands, territories and natural resources:

o   Establish/strengthen mechanisms that protect rights of indigenous peoples at the national level.

•          Indigenous peoples and the post 2015 development agenda:

o   Poverty, health, inequality;

o   Focus on indigenous peoples in developed and developing countries; and

o   Contribution of indigenous peoples to the overall development agenda.

•          Recognition of the specific status of indigenous peoples at UN fora:

o   Permanent observer status, with the Arctic Council referred to as a model;

o   Indigenous peoples are recognized as nations in many countries with specific status as indigenous peoples, while at the international level, they are often perceived as NGOs.

•          Violence against indigenous women and girls.

•          Protection/promotion of indigenous culture, languages, artefacts, cultural sites.

•          Mechanisms for the implementation of the Declaration at national and international levels.

•          Third Decade of the World’s indigenous Peoples:

o   Emphasize implementation of the Declaration.

•          Indigenous peoples’ governments, institutions and authorities.

•          Implementation of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Procedural matters and indigenous peoples participation 

Some concerns were raised about the importance of maintaining the inter-governmental nature of the General Assembly. Others emphasized the importance of including indigenous peoples in such an important meeting that directly affects them and emphasised the timely announcement of future consultations to allow for indigenous participation from all regions.

The PGA reiterated that his proposed roadmap for consultations is not contrary to and will not violate the intergovernmental nature of the General Assembly, while allowing the effective participation of indigenous peoples through informal consultations.

Denmark announced that a Nordic preparatory meeting with States and indigenous peoples was scheduled for the following week. The Chairs of EMRIP and UNPFII both pledged their support for the World Conference and encouraged Member States to take advantage of this opportunity to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples.