In preparation for the 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Secretariat has issued notes reviewing the progress on commitments enshrined in: the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, respectively.
The year 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of UNDRIP's adoption.
8 February 2017: The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) has reported on progress toward fully implementing indigenous peoples’ rights, ten years since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007. The reports find that while governments have made some progress, concrete action often lags behind legal recognition.
In preparation for the 16th session of the PFII, which convenes in New York, US, from 24 April to 4 May 2017, the Secretariat has issued notes reviewing the progress on commitments enshrined in: UNDRIP; and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, respectively. On implementation of UNDRIP, the Secretariat note (E/C.19/2017/4) highlights increased recognition of the Declaration by countries. All four countries that initially voted against adopting UNDRIP (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US) have changed their position. Those that abstained from voting (Colombia, Samoa and Ukraine) also since then expressed support. Some countries have made constitutional reforms to enable better representation of indigenous peoples and recognition of their collective rights. However, the definition of the term “indigenous people” continues to be contentious, and land rights issues persist in many countries.
On implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Secretariat note (E/C.19/2017/5) identifies six direct references to indigenous peoples in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. Issues especially relevant to indigenous peoples are reflected in SDGs 1, 2, 4 and 5, including through the following targets: land rights (targets 1.4 and 5.b); equal rights to economic resources (target 1.4); equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources and traditional knowledge (target 2.5); the promotion of resilient and sustainable agricultural practices (target 2.3); maintenance of seed diversity (target 2.5); and equal access to all levels of education (target 4.5). Many other targets relate to human rights in general, and are also relevant. However, the Secretariat notes that the 2030 Agenda does not reflect some important priorities for indigenous peoples, including the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the right to self-determined development.
The previous session of PFII, in 2016, called for: data disaggregation; participation of indigenous peoples in developing national action plans for implementing the 2030 Agenda; and participation of indigenous peoples in follow-up and review. Related to these aims, the Secretariat note recommends including “indigenous identifiers” in official statistics, such through questions on language, geography or self-identification. It also urges governments to establish or revitalize permanent consultation mechanisms that will enable indigenous participation.
In July 2017, the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will review progress on implementing SDGs 1 (ending poverty), 2 (ending hunger), 3 (health), 5 (gender equality), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 14 (oceans), all of which, the PFII notes, are relevant to indigenous peoples’ wellbeing.
The PFII is an advisory body to the UN Ecoomic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established in 2000. It meets annually to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. [Tenth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Measures Taken to Implement the Declaration] [Update on Indigenous peoples and the 2030 Agenda] [PFII 16]