Dialogue Between Nations

25 May 2007

Press Release
Department of Public Information
News and Media Division
New York


Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Sixth Session
16th & 17th Meetings (AM & PM)



Urges General Assembly Adoption of Indigenous Rights Declaration;
Approves Texts on Anti-Poverty Goals, Human Rights, Urban Migration

Expressing the strong belief that indigenous peoples’ right to access and manage communal lands and natural resources was central to their collective survival, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recommended today that Governments adopt, in relevant national legislation, the principle of “free, prior and informed consent” of indigenous peoples regarding potential development projects or other activities carried out on their lands.

“It is […] clear that most local and national indigenous peoples’ movements have emerged from struggles against policies and actions that have undermined and discriminated against their customary land tenure and resource-management systems, expropriated their lands, extracted their resources without their consent and led to their displacement and dispossession from their territories,” the Forum stated in one of eight sets of draft recommendations and three draft decisions approved by consensus at the close of its sixth session.

The Permanent Forum, a 16-member subcommittee of the Economic and Social Council, is mandated chiefly to provide expert advice on indigenous issues to the Council and the United Nations system; raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of activities relating to indigenous issues with the United Nations system; and prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.

Permanent Forum Chairperson Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the Philippines acknowledged that, while the issues associated with indigenous lands and natural resources were complex, representatives of tribal and native peoples and their groups during the past two weeks had shown they were not victims; they had not come to new York to complain; rather, they could come together and had presented sound advice to Governments and intergovernmental organizations about how to meet their needs for survival.

In the text focusing on the session’s theme, “territories, lands and natural resources” (document E/C.19/2007/L.2), approved as orally amended, the Permanent Forum strongly urged the General Assembly adopt during its sixty-first session the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the fate of which remains unclear some six months after it was approved by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. Talks on the Declaration have sputtered in New York, in the wake of initial opposition from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A package of amendments floated earlier this week by the Africa Group was roundly rejected by indigenous groups as “unacceptable and inconsistent with international human rights law”.

Reiterating relevant articles of the Declaration, the Forum recognized the fundamental importance of indigenous peoples’ security of land use and access, and the importance of land rights for broader processes of poverty reduction, good governance and conflict prevention and resolution, stressing that indigenous peoples are entitled to effectively participate in drafting policies and laws related to resources management and development processes (article 14). Further, indigenous peoples have a central role in decision-making and implementation of lands and resources-related projects, [and] such projects shall not be implemented without [their] free, prior and informed consent (article 28).


UN Webcast Archives
24 May 07
Press Conference

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and Wilton Littlechild, Member of the Permanent Forum, brief on the outcome and recommendations of the Forum's current session.

  Webcast: Archived Video - English: 32 minutes


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Wilton Littlechild

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Wilton Littlechild


With native and tribal peoples sounding the alarm from the front lines -- especially those dependent directly on natural resources threatened by global warming –- the head of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today announced that the 16-member expert group’s 2008 session would examine the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples.

Recognizing that lands, territories and natural resources –- the theme of this year’s sixth session of the Permanent Forum -- were crucial issues for indigenous peoples and were closely linked to the global warming debate, Chairperson Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said the special theme of the seventh session would be “Climate change and stewardship role of indigenous peoples: bio-cultural diversity, livelihoods and new challenges”.



Intro 2007 | Distinct Cultures Erode | Collective Survival | Recognition of Indigenous Rights | Anti-Poverty Goals
Extinction | Asia | Data Collection | Implementation | Climate Change | Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Kari-Oca Revisited

Nations to Nations Legend

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