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Rio+20: Statement by the Indigenous Peoples' Major Group during Interactive Dialogue Session

Indigenous Peoples begin by reaffirming our 5 main messages which are of upmost importance in the outcomes of Rio + 20, and which are directly relevant to the issues under discussion today:

1) the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; 2) Culture as the essential pillar of Sustainable Development; 3) recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples’ Traditional Knowledge linked to right to livelihood for Indigenous Peoples; 4) rights to land and Natural resources of Indigenous Peoples; and 5) full and effective participation in discussions and decision-making on all levels. Regarding the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development within the United Nations system, the structures, bodies and processes which are put into place must ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and all members of civil society. Consultative processes must be reinforced to ensure and strengthen the participation of Indigenous Peoples and civil society as vital participants with essential input and perspectives to provide to these decisions. Full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, major groups and civil society as a whole was a major underpinning of the decisions made at the First Earth Summit 20 years ago, and must not be rolled back at this time. In fact, this commitment should be strengthened towards a full role in decision making. Full and effective participation is now the minimum standard for the UN system as established in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Green Economy policies must promote and build upon the best examples of diverse local economies and “good living”. Traditional occupations and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples need to be fully recognized and valued as essential in managing ecosystems and providing meaningful work for our communities. How can the necessary safeguards be put in place to ensure our rights, the protection of our traditional knowledge and our free prior and informed consent in the development of all proposals, plans and policies? Regarding the Sustainable Development Goals, this process must respect the traditional knowledge, livelihoods, rights and food sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and include the input and participation of Indigenous Peoples in their planning, and implementation on all levels and strengthen the inclusion of culture as an important dimension of sustainable development. We support the proposals to initiate an inter-governmental process to define these goals that would ensure our full participation in the framing and monitoring of these goals. We consider this to be a core issue for discussion and development at the upcoming UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. We continue to reiterate the importance of culture as one of the four pillars of Sustainable Development and in all decisions made at Rio + 20 and in the follow up decisions of sustainable development goals, food security and food sovereignty, and all aspects of the development of sustainable life ways. Thank you.

Tags: Climate action


IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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