Advisers Issue Updated Elements Paper on Indigenous Participation
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Advisers to the UNGA President issued an updated version of an ‘elements paper’ on options for enabling the participation of Indigenous peoples’ representives and institutions at relevant UN meeitngs.

The paper addresses Indigenous peoples’ attendance or observance of UN meetings, and selection of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives at such meetings.

The next consultations on the matter will convene from 27-28 February 2017.

16 February 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) President, Peter Thomson, circulated an updated version of an elements paper on options for enabling the participation of Indigenous peoples’ represenatives and institutions at relevant UN meetings. The paper provides the basis for consultations that will take place from 27-28 February 2017.

The upcoming consultations will include both bilateral meetings between Member States and Indigenous Peoples’ representations, as well as plenary discussions on: current practices and venues for participation; participation modalities; selection mechanisms; and selection criteria. The elements paper lays out several options for Indigenous peoples’ attendance or observance of UN meetings, and for selection of Indigenous peoples’ representatives at such meetings. For example, selection of Indigenous representatives to UN meetings could be undertaken by a committee comprised of equal numbers of Indigenous peoples’ representatives and Member States, or of equal numbers of experts appointed by Indigenous peoples and Member States, based on regional representation from the seven indigenous socio-cultural regions, or by Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, among other possibilities. The paper also outlines approaches that may be used to recognize Indigenous peoples, including self-identification, state recognition, and objective assessment of factors such as history of colonization, exercise of collective rights, and occupation of ancestral lands.

The advisers encourage Member States to continue consulting with Indigenous Peoples in their regions.

The four advisers to the UNGA President on this process note that in updating the paper, they “attempted to include a variety of proposals” received during the consultation process to date, while also “narrowing down possible options within the mandate of the General Assembly.” They note that some of the proposals presented in the paper have “considerable support,” but support is not uniform. The advisers encourage Member States to continue consulting with Indigenous Peoples in their regions.

A series of four consultations is underway. The first meeting took place from 14-15 December 2016, and the second from 30 January-1 February 2017. Following the third consultation on 27-28 February, the advisers will aim to produce a draft text, and the fourth round will take place sometime during the 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), in late April or early May 2017.

The process for establishing Indigenous peoples’ participation in relevant UN mechanisms was requested by the UNGA in resolution 70/232, which calls for a draft text to be finalized and adopted by the UNGA during its 71st session. [Updated Elements Paper and Letter from Advisers] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on December 2016 Consultation] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on January 2017 Consultation] [DESA Webpage on Consultation Process]


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