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UN: Permanent Forum discusses the World Conference

May 19 2014
IWGIA/New York

The second week of the UN Permanent Forum started with a discussion on the High Level Plenary Meeting also known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).

The special adviser to the President of the General Assembly of the 68th General Assembly, Crispin Gregoire presented a new roadmap that supposedly will lead the way to the WCIP. The roadmap still leaves many questions unanswered but the main message is that:

The roadmap presented suggests a consultation convened by the President of the General Assembly (PGA) with Member States and indigenous peoples representatives. At the consultation, the PGA will be assisted by two ambassadorial advisers, Costa Rica and Slovenia, as well as two advisers nominated by indigenous peoples. The two indigenous peoples suggested to advice the PGA are Myrna Cunningham from Nicaragua and Les Malezer from Australia. The consultation will provide the PGA with ideas and suggestions for the content of the outcome document.

Following the consultation, the PGA, assisted by the four advisers, will prepare a zero draft document. The draft document will be shared with Member Sates and indigenous peoples for their consideration. This will be followed-up by a second consultation with member states and indigenous peoples. On the basis of these views and with the help of the advisers, the PGA will revise the zero draft document which will serve as the basis for further negotiations.

Regarding the time frame suggested by the PGA, the plan is to hold the first consultation before May 29th. The interactive hearing will be convened in June 2014.

The North America Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus called on the UN Permanent Forum to cancel all support to and preparations for the WCIP. After many weeks of insecurity about the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the organizational process of the WCIP, the roadmap does not propose any substantial changes, the Caucus concluded.

Several indigenous caucuses and Member States, on the other hand, welcomed the PGA’s roadmap. However, as the roadmap has still not been officially distributed, they reserved their comments until they have been able to thoroughly review the proposal. Many indigenous peoples reiterated that they could only accept a proposal that recognizes indigenous peoples' right in all decision making processes that affect them and ensures their full, equal and effective participation. Some indigenous peoples' caucuses also pointed out and expressed disappointment that the roadmap continues to be unclear regarding indigenous peoples' participation in the whole process.

The first part of the session on the World Conference can be seen on the UN webcast below: