Presentation to the WCIP Interactive Dialogue June 17-18, 2014

By | 18 June, 2014


Presentation from the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

to the WCIP Interactive Dialogue

June 17-18, 2014, UN Headquarters New York

Question: What are indigenous peoples priorities/visions for sustainable development and how these priorities/visions be included in the national development planning as well as the international Post-2015 Development Agenda?


Thank you Madame Moderator for allowing me to speak on this very important topic.

This is a key issue for all indigenous peoples and I believe our contributions to the processes determining what development should be in the 21st century and beyond will spell whether humanity can survive this century or not. Many environmentalists and some indigenous peoples speak about saving the earth but I think the earth can take care of itself. It is human beings who are in big trouble and we are among these.

In my earlier life before I became the SRRIP, I was very much engaged as an indigenous representative of my networks and organizations in the sustainable development processes of the UN. I was in Rio in 1992, where the indigenous peoples’ caucus worked hard to get Chapter 26 of the Agenda 21 on the Role of Indigenous Peoples and their communities in Sustainable Development. I witnessed the most unfortunate development when the UN announced that its efforts to develop a Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations failed and the existence of the UN Commission on TNCs and the Center for TNCs ended. I will talk more about the issue of transnational corporations on development and indigenous peoples later.

Fast forward 2014, we now find ourselves in the midst of the present efforts of the international community to develop the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This will be the global development agenda until 2030. Tebtebba, my organization, International Indian Treaty Council and Indigenous Information Network are the co-organizing partners for the Indigenous Peoples at the Open-ended Working on SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda processes. We are trying our best to bring indigenous peoples issues into the outcome documents of these processes.
Today, I will briefly share what I think were achieved and not achieved , and what can be possibly achieved in the OWG-SDG and Post-2015 Development Agenda. But the second part of my presentation will be to highlight the key issues which I hope we will be able to get the support of States within the WCIP and also in the Post-2015 Development Agenda processes.

First I would like to reiterate that the 9 points in the Alta Outcome Document under Theme 4, which is “Indigenous peoples’ priorities for development with free, prior and informed consent” have been the basis for the advocacy work we have been doing in the Working Group on SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Many of these are consistent with what have been identified in the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document of the OWG-SDG. My colleague Galina Angarova who is based here in New York to take part in these processes will speak later from the floor on the latest developments. Below is the list of Proposed Sustainable Development Goals to be attained by 2030

1. End poverty and reduce inequality in all their dimensions everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and adequate nutrition for all, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Attain healthy life for all at all ages
4. Provide equitable and inclusive quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all
5. Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere
6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world
7. Ensure access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable modern energy services for all
8. Promote strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, infrastructure, full employment and decent work for all
9. Promote inclusive sustainable industrialization
10. Build inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and human settlements
11 Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns and actions to address climate change
12 Attain conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas
13. Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems and halt all biodiversity loss
14. Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, and strengthen the rule of law, effective and capable institutions
15. Strengthen and enhance the means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development

What we got in this list and the goals and targets are the following;

1. Proposed goal 2 on food security – target 2.9 – achieve by 2030 protection and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, including through enhanced use and application of indigenous practices and local and traditional knowledge, and through agricultural research and development related to agro-biodiversity and diversity of food;

2. Proposed goal 4 on education – target 4.6 – by 2030 ensure that people in vulnerable situations and marginalized people including persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples have access to inclusive education, skills development and vocational training aligned with labour market needs;

3. Proposed goal 9 on sustainable industrialization – target 9.10 – promote indigenous technology development and the growth of domestic innovation in developing countries

4. Proposed goal 10 on inequality – target 10.5 – empower and promote the social and economic inclusion of the poor, the marginalized and people in vulnerable situations, including indigenous peoples, women, minorities, migrants, persons with disabilities, older persons, children and youth

5. Proposed goal 15 on biodiversity – target 15.10 – ensure free prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities in decision making and natural resources management, and promote the use of their traditional knowledge

The Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group ( IPMG) response paper to this zero draft was presented before the morning hearings on June 17, yesterday.

This included the following points:

On Proposed Goal 1:

The IPMG strongly urged the co-chairs and member states to reconsider target 1.1 ( by 2030, eradicate extreme poverty by bringing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to zero) and focus on a measure of well-being rather than on income alone. In addition, in relation to poverty eradication, we would like to highlight that Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately reflected among the very poor. This relates to lack of recognition of our land rights. We are urge amendment to target 1.5 with inclusion of “individual and collective rights” to land, property and other productive resources.

On Proposed Goal 3:
The IMPG would like to reiterate the importance of our traditional health practices and reinstate the target on “dissemination of medical and public health knowledge, including traditional knowledge,” which was in the document of the OWG10. We would like to point out that the goal on health in its current version is geared towards dealing with existing public health issues and lacks targets on preventive measures. We can not underestimate the role of knowledge dissemination and education, therefore, we are again recommending the reinsertion of the previous target.

On Proposed Goal 4:
We welcome the inclusion of target 4.6. However, one of the most important aspects in education for Indigenous Peoples is culture and this should be better reflected in the text. Therefore, the IMPG is asking to amend the target by including the words “access to inclusive and culturally appropriate education, skills development and vocational training” and we are also asking to eliminate the words” aligned with labor market needs”.

On Proposed Goal 8.:
We are generally supportive of these newly formulated targets and we are happy to see the target 8.14 (promote formalization of informal sector activities and employment). However, it’s important to 1) clarify the “informal activities and employment” and 2) the target should not only to promote, but officially recognize traditional occupations as forms of employment. With this we propose to amend target the following way: “to officially recognize traditional occupations as forms of employment of Indigenous Peoples’ and other communities’ as essential to their well-being and livelihoods”

On Proposed Goal 9:
The IPMG would like to ask for clarification on target 9.10 – “promote indigenous technology development and the growth of domestic innovation in developing countries.” It is not quite clear whether the word “indigenous” used here refers to local technologies or to indigenous traditional knowledge. The difference is quite significant and we request an amendment to the target: “promote indigenous technology based on traditional knowledge and the growth of domestic innovation in developing countries.

On Proposed Goal 15:
We welcome inclusion of the target requiring governments, business and corporations to recognize and adhere to principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). However, we noticed that the target to “ensure inclusion of indigenous and local communities in decision making, and promote traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples” has been eliminated from the focus area 15. We propose incorporating some of language of the eliminated target to the target on FPIC as decision-making and FPIC are closely related.

High Level Political Forum (HLPF)

The IMPG has been working with DESA and other Major Groups to prepare for the HLPF to be held June 30-July 9 in New York. Unfortunately, the process lacks transparency. The agenda is still not approved by the ECOSOC President therefore it’s not yet being distributed to Major Groups and other stakeholders. The draft agenda was “secretly” shared with us by DESA. Two thirds of the HLPF draft agenda is dedicated to presentations from the representatives of Business and Industry and the Major Groups did not have any input drafting it. From the “secretly” shared draft we saw that there were only two slots allocated to IP speakers.

Substantial issues on Sustainable Development and Priorities at National and Global Levels


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