World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held at the UN Headquarters in September 2014

Nilson Tuwe Huni Kuĩ, an indigenous leader from the Western Amazon in Brazil, delivers an invocation. 14 February 2013Indigenous peoples from around the world today issued a common position for the high-level plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, also known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held at New York Headquarters from 22 to 23 September 2014.

The “Alta Outcome Document” is a set of recommendations adopted by the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway.  Indigenous peoples from the seven regions of the world — Asia; Africa; North America; Central and South America and the Caribbean; Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; the Arctic; and the Pacific, as well as the Indigenous Women and Youth Caucuses — gathered in Alta at a global meeting organized by the Saami Parliament of Norway.

“This is a crucial step leading up to the World Conference,” said Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  “By formulating a common position, indigenous peoples have given their voices added strength and relevance in the dialogues that will make up the World Conference.”

Around 600 delegates and observers attended the preparatory conference, including members of the Permanent Forum, led by Mr. Sena, the Expert Mechanism and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Also present were Luis Alfonso de Alba, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations in New York, and John B. Henriksen, international representative of the Saami Parliament, both of whom were appointed by the President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly to conduct consultations with Member States on his behalf.

The delegates identified, as concrete recommendations for inclusion in the final outcome document of the World Conference, four overarching themes that capture their priorities:  indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources; United Nations action for the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples; implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples; and indigenous peoples’ priorities for development, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

The Permanent Forum, at its recently concluded twelfth session (20-31 May) at Headquarters, conducted a day-long discussion on the World Conference, reaffirming the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the normative framework for the World Conference, and reiterating as fundamental the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in that event.

For more information on the preparatory meeting in Alta, Norway, please see www.wcip2014.org, or the website of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, at http://social.un.org/index/IndigenousPeoples.aspx.

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