More than 1,000 indigenous participants from all regions of the world are expected to attend the fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 May.
The issues of peace and conflict, often relating to indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources and to their rights and distinct identities will be at the forefront of the discussions during this year’s session.
“Since its establishment, the Permanent Forum has expressed great concern over the continuation of conflicts affecting indigenous peoples in different parts of the world,” said Alvaro Pop, the incoming Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “We want to draw attention to the particular challenges faced by indigenous peoples in conflict, and the important contributions that indigenous peoples and their traditions and practices can make to conflict prevention and lasting peace.”
Two interactive panels on 17 May on the special theme, “Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution”, will identify strategies and concrete measures to prevent conflict and secure peace. They will also highlight indigenous participation in peace processes, the contribution of indigenous women, the importance of access to justice and traditional institutions, and the role of indigenous peoples in preventing conflict and securing a just and durable peace.
The Permanent Forum will also deliberate on issues related to indigenous youth, health, education, languages, human rights, economic and social development, environment and culture, as well as the follow-up to the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and how it relates to indigenous peoples, is also expected to feature prominently in discussions on 18 May.
As in the past, there will be dialogues with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — the two other United Nations mechanisms, in addition to the Permanent Forum, specific to indigenous peoples.
The session is opening on Monday, 9 May, at 11 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, with a ceremonial welcome by the traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, Todadaho Sid Hill, followed by a video message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Statements are expected by the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft; the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, Sven Jürgenson; the incoming Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Alvaro Pop; the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo; the Minister of Labour and Social Prevention of Guatemala, Aura Leticia Teleguario; and the Minister of Justice of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Eighty side events — more than ever before — are expected to take place during the two-week session, organized by indigenous peoples’ organizations, United Nations Member States, United Nations entities, other intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. For a full list of side events, please see http://bit.ly/1T0JAT7.
A cultural event with performances by Sara Curruchich, a Maya singer from Guatemala and SlinCraze, a Sami rap artist from Norway will take place on Tuesday, 10 May, starting at 6:15 p.m. in the Visitors’ Lobby of the United Nations.
Globally, there are an estimated 370 million persons belonging to indigenous peoples, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2000. The Forum provides expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the United Nations system through the Economic and Social Council; raises awareness and promotes the integration and coordination of relevant activities within the United Nations System; and disseminates information on indigenous issues.
The Permanent Forum is comprised of 16 independent experts, functioning in their personal capacity. The Economic and Social Council appoints the members, eight of whom are nominated by Governments and eight by indigenous organizations from the different regions of the world. The Forum has gained increasing recognition and impact as the global platform for dialogue, cooperation and concrete action on indigenous peoples, with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the fundamental framework.
Press conferences are scheduled on 9 and 12 May at 1:15 p.m., and on 17 and 19 May at 11:15 a.m. in Room S-237 at United Nations Headquarters. The press conferences, as well as all official sessions (not side events), will be webcast live at webtv.un.org.
Journalists without United Nations press accreditation should seek accreditation through the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, website: www.un.org/en/media/accreditation or tel.: +1 212 963 6934.
For media queries, including interviews, please contact Martina Donlon, tel.: +1 212 963 6816 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org — United Nations Department of Public Information.
To contact the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please contact Julia Raavad, tel.: +1 212 963 5873 or e-mail: email@example.com — United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
For more information on the fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please see www.un.org/indigenous.