As part of an intergovernmental process on enabling indigenous peoples' participation at the UN, online consultations have been conducted with representatives of indigenous peoples and UN Member States, and the advisers for the process have released a compilation of views submitted.
The online consultations took place in March and April 2016, with a focus on what measures are needed to enable indigenous peoples' participation in UN processes affecting them.
In-person consultations are expected to take place during the upcoming 15th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII).
27 April 2016: As part of an intergovernmental process on enabling indigenous peoples’ participation at the UN, online consultations have been conducted with representatives of indigenous peoples and UN Member States, and the advisers for the process have released a compilation of views submitted. The online consultations took place in March and April 2016, with a focus on what measures are needed to enable indigenous peoples’ participation in UN processes affecting them. In-person consultations are expected to take place during the upcoming 15th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII).
A 2015 report of the UN Secretary-General, titled ‘Progress made on the implementation of the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ (A/70/84-E/2015/76), had outlined matters to be considered in a consultation process, including: what procedures would make the participation of Indigenous peoples’ representatives meaningful and effective; criteria for determining the eligibility of Indigenous peoples’ representatives for accreditation; and the nature and membership of the body to determine their eligibility for accreditation.
The road map of the consultation process was announced on 7 March 2016, by the four advisers appointed by UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft: 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.
Many of those who submitted their views to the online consultation process agreed that existing procedures do not adequately enable Indigenous peoples to be represented in relevant UN bodies. The report notes converging views that Indigenous peoples are not NGOs, and a new category for participation should be considered, in which the focus should be on Indigenous governing institutions. Suggested forms of Indigenous participation included permanent observer status in relevant UN processes, and co-facilitation of consultations and negotiations specifically focused on Indigenous issues.
According to views expressed in the online consultation, some favor enhanced participation of Indigenous peoples’ representatives in all relevant UN meetings and bodies, not only Indigenous-specific mechanisms. Some suggested making greater efforts to inform Indigenous people about existing possibilities to participate in the UN, including through the use of information technologies. Most proposals recommended establishing a new body consisting of Indigenous peoples’ representatives as well as UN Member States to oversee accreditation, with some asserting that the group should have a balance of Member State and Indigenous representatives.
Face-to-face consultations with Member States and Indigenous peoples’ representatives, based on the document prepared by the advisers, are scheduled to convene on 11 May and 18 May 2016, during PFII 15. 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.
The 15th session of the PFII takes place at UN Headquarters in New York, US from 9-20 May 2016, on the theme of ‘Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution.’ Based on recommendations from the 14th session, this session will limit the number of recommendations to be adopted, and recommendations are expected to be time-bound and actionable, with specific targets. A half-day closed meeting will take place, during which the PFII will hold separate dialogues with Indigenous peoples’ organizations, UN entities, and Member States. [Publication: Draft one of the compilation of views on enabling Indigenous peoples’ participation in the UN] [Overview of Consultation Process on Participation of Indigenous Peoples at UN] [PFII 15] [PFII Document on Changes to Take Place During 15th Session] [IISD RS Story on Consultation Road Map and Initial Views]