The advisers for consultations on indigenous peoples' participation at the UN have released the third compilation of views on the topic.
The text is based on consultations held in March, April and May 2016, and will be the basis for a meeting on 30 June 2016.
The third draft reflects on: suggested categories and venues of participation; participation modalities; method of accreditation; additional relevant factors for indigenous peoples' representative institutions to qualify for a new category of participation; and comments on resources with respect to enhanced participation.
27 May 2016: The advisers for consultations on indigenous peoples’ participation at the UN have released the third compilation of views on the topic. The text is based on consultations held in March, April and May 2016, and will be the basis for a meeting on 30 June 2016. The third draft reflects on: suggested categories and venues of participation; participation modalities; method of accreditation; additional relevant factors for indigenous peoples’ representative institutions to qualify for a new category of participation; and comments on resources with respect to enhanced participation.
The document compiles views expressed in electronic consultations, existing UN reports and responses to questionnaires on indigenous’ peoples participation in the UN and good practices within the UN, two consultative meetings with Member States and indigenous peoples, and a meeting with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII).
The advisers for the consultations were appointed by UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft in February 2016. They are: Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland; Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana; James Anaya, indigenous peoples’ representatives for the North American region; and Claire Winfield Ngamihi Charters, indigenous peoples’ representative for the Pacific region.
On suggested categories of participation, the draft observes there is considerable, but not uniform, support for a separate category of participation in the UN. It finds that current procedures and practices do not “naturally or sufficiently accommodate the participation of indigenous peoples as indigenous peoples” in UN bodies. The draft observes a convergence of views that indigenous peoples’ participation should not fall below that of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accredited NGOs, nor undermine existing unique procedures on the participation of indigenous peoples’ organizations and individuals in the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the PFII.
The draft states that the UNGA has the authority to grant a new and unique category for indigenous peoples’ participation in the UNGA. Some expressed the view that indigenous peoples are not States, and should not be accorded “permanent observer status,” with others expressing concern about practical implications of “enlarging” the UNGA to include indigenous peoples’ organizations as observers. Others suggested practical measures for managing such participation, such as a set number of speaking spots.
On venues for participation, the draft reflects different views, with some expressing reluctance to permit indigenous peoples’ participation in the UNGA while many others favor indigenous peoples’ participation in all UN meetings and processes. Some suggested that unique forms of participation for indigenous peoples should first be established in ECOSOC, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and subsidiary bodies. The UNGA “may recommend that the UN as a whole, including all associated entities and processes, enhance participation of indigenous peoples,” according to the draft, which states such a recommendation is anticipated to be influential. The draft highlights suggests that clearer, stricter rules and procedures regulating indigenous peoples’ participation would likely result in agreement on enhanced levels of indigenous institutions’ participation in high-level UN bodies like the UNGA.
On participation modalities, some suggest indigenous peoples’ participation should be consistent with that of UNGA observer status, including the right to speak, but not the right to reply, take initiatives or vote. Some suggested improved participation in ECOSOC, the HRC and subsidiary bodies, including the right to disseminate written material.
On method of accreditation, most recommend creating a new body to accredit indigenous peoples for a new category of participation, with a range of suggestions on the composition of such a body. The draft observes a need for clarity on the type of institution eligible for accreditation, with some recommending confining it to governance institutions, others disagreeing, and support for the view that state recognition should not be a prerequisite for eligibility for accreditation. Some said a clear accreditation process could increase willingness to enhance indigenous peoples’ participation in the UN.
On additional relevant factors, the draft observes a convergence of views that qualification for a new category of participation should center on indigenous peoples representative institutions, with divergent views on whether to define indigenous peoples’ institutions. It notes considerable agreement that indigenous peoples and their representative institutions need to be distinguished from NGOs. The text also cites questions about organizations representing individuals not resident in indigenous territories.
A number of participants requested more information on the financial implications of proposals to enhance indigenous peoples’ participation at the UN.
The draft also summarizes existing practices within the UN regarding indigenous peoples’ participation. It discusses observer status at the UNGA, ECOSOC and HRC accreditation and ad hoc participation in specific UN committees and meetings. It also notes unique existing procedures to facilitate participation by indigenous peoples in the UN.
Face-to-face consultations with Member States and indigenous peoples’ representatives, based on the document prepared by the advisers, are scheduled to convene on 30 June 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The outcome of the consultations will provide the basis for a draft resolution to be finalized and adopted by the UNGA during its 71st session. [Publication: Draft Three] [Consultative Process Website] [IISD RS Story on Second Compilation of Views]