UN Permanent Forum Packed With Issues, Side Events
From climate change to food sovereignty, sacred sites to reproductive justice, a “divine comedy pageant” called “Don’t Feed the Indians” and much, much more, the 13th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues promises two weeks of event-filled days.
The Permanent Forum will be held at the U.N. in New York May 12-23. The annual event usually draws more than 2,000 representatives of Indigenous Peoples and nations from around the world.
The special theme this year focuses on the principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration), which was adopted by the General Assembly almost seven years ago on September 13, 2007.
“Good governance is premised on the recognition of indigenous forms of autonomy, self-governance and ancestral authorities, as well as of customary governance systems and land tenure systems over lands, territories and natural resources. It encompasses the right to fully and effectively participate in decision-making that impacts Indigenous Peoples’ rights, lives, communities, lands, territories and resources,” a U.N. media release on the Permanent Forum says.
The Permanent Forum events unfold along two tracks – the official forum itself and dozens of “side events” hosted by organizations.
The 13th session will open on Monday, today, ceremonial indigenous music from New Zealand, a ceremonial welcome by the traditional chief of the Onondaga Nation Todadaho Sid Hill and speeches by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President of the General Assembly John Ashe and other dignitaries and a discussion of the special theme.
Highlights of the formal session include a half-day discussion on the Indigenous Peoples in the Asian region, who comprise two-thirds of the world’s Indigenous Peoples; a discussion on the preparations for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, a high-level plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to be convened on September 22-23, 2014 at U.N. Headquarters in New York; a discussion on the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 22, 2004; a discussion on Indigenous Peoples’ sexual health and reproductive rights; and a follow up on the priority themes of indigenous youth and children. There will also be a discussion and active involvement in preparing post-2015 development agenda, including the designing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to ensure that Indigenous Peoples concerns are reflected and their rights protected.
There will also be discussions on the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, on best practices for resolving land disputes and on an optional protocol to the U.N. Declaration. The full “Program of Work” is available here.
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