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As we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples this 9th of August 2015, we look back into what has been achieved the past years and envisage what can be done for the future. Barely a year ago, in the UN General Assembly convened the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and adopted an Outcome Document by consensus.

 

As the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples I take seriously the commitments made by the States contained in the Outcome Document Paragraph 7 where governments said, "We commit ourselves to taking, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, appropriate measures at the national level, including legislative, policy and administrative measures, to achieve the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to promote awareness of it among all sectors of society, including members of legislatures, the judiciary and the civil service. " States should demonstrate political will and seriousness in the implementation of their commitments and their human rights obligations.

 

Almost 7 years have passed since the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted also by the UN General Assembly. Indigenous peoples demand that the Declaration and the WCIP Outcome Document be properly implemented. In my capacity as the Special Rapporteur, I continue to receive many reports from indigenous peoples on how their rights, enshrined in the UN Declaration and ILO Convention No. 169 are still blatantly violated not only by states but increasingly by private actors like corporations.

 

The assertion of indigenous peoples of their rights and their resistance against incursions into their lands by extractive industries and land grabbers has strengthened. However, systematic violation of their rights ranging from arbitrary arrests, labeling of indigenous organizations, leaders and activists as terrorist organizations as terrorists, torture and extrajudicial killings still continue. Their lack of access to basic social services and the violation of their cultural rights remain appalling. Violence against indigenous women is still pervasive in many countries. Reports show a high representation in jails of indigenous women in countries like Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand and in these same countries, missing and murdered indigenous women is a stark reality. Many indigenous children are not able to finish primary school and indigenous women's access to health care services is still limited. All these will undercut the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted soon.

 

Increasing foreign investments coming into many countries further exacerbate the loss of lands and resources of indigenous peoples and serious environmental destruction of their territories. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples are worsening because of the continuing implementation of neoliberalism and extractivism as well as increasing foreign investments agreed upon in more than 2,700 state-to-state bilateral investment treaties (BITs). Indigenous peoples' right and capacity to pursue their own economic, social and cultural development is still very much challenged.

 

Where lies the hope for indigenous peoples? There is an increasing number of indigenous communities, organizations, institutions and networks which are strengthening their capacities to get the States and corporations to implement the UN Declaration and ILO Convention No. 169. Such efforts include awareness raising on their rights; designing and implementing their own development paths; doing community participatory mapping and resource inventories and developing and using participatory monitoring tools to measure the extent of implementation of the legal instruments and the agreed Sustainable Development Goals; using and transmitting traditional knowledge systems; waging campaigns on various issues and strengthening their own movements at all levels.

 

I urge indigenous peoples to multiply several times over these efforts. They should use more effectively relevant legal instruments and engage actively with the UN mechanisms on indigenous peoples. These include the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and my mandate, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

I urge States to seriously implement the UN Declaration and the ILO Convention No. 169 and the commitments they made in the WCIP Outcome Document. A substantial decrease in violations of the rights of indigenous peoples will lead towards more peaceful indigenous communities and better chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous peoples should be regarded as allies and partners of States and the UN as well as other multilateral bodies in addressing climate change, stopping the erosion of biodiversity, enhancing cultural diversity and achieving the SDGs. The contributions of indigenous peoples in addressing the global ecological and cultural crises cannot and should not be underestimated.

 

I urge the UN bodies, agencies, programs and funds to implement the UN Declaration and their own policies or guidelines on how they will work with indigenous peoples. Coherence and complementation between you all in implementing the Declaration and developing and implementing a System-wide Action Plan on indigenous peoples should be enhanced. The human-rights based approach to development and the UNDG Guidelines on Indigenous Issues should guide you in all the work you do with indigenous peoples.

 

I also urge corporations to adhere to the Guidelines on Business and Human Rights and their own guidelines on free, prior and informed consent.

 

Let us all celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples by demonstrating our collective political will to address the serious implementation gap in relation to the UN Declaration and the ILO Convention No. 169. Long live the indigenous peoples all over the world!

As we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples this 9th of August 2015, we look back into what has been achieved the past years and envisage what can be done for the future. Barely a year ago, in the UN General Assembly convened the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and adopted an Outcome Document by consensus.

 

As the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples I take seriously the commitments made by the States contained in the Outcome Document Paragraph 7 where governments said, "We commit ourselves to taking, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, appropriate measures at the national level, including legislative, policy and administrative measures, to achieve the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to promote awareness of it among all sectors of society, including members of legislatures, the judiciary and the civil service. " States should demonstrate political will and seriousness in the implementation of their commitments and their human rights obligations.

 

Almost 7 years have passed since the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted also by the UN General Assembly. Indigenous peoples demand that the Declaration and the WCIP Outcome Document be properly implemented. In my capacity as the Special Rapporteur, I continue to receive many reports from indigenous peoples on how their rights, enshrined in the UN Declaration and ILO Convention No. 169 are still blatantly violated not only by states but increasingly by private actors like corporations.

 

The assertion of indigenous peoples of their rights and their resistance against incursions into their lands by extractive industries and land grabbers has strengthened. However, systematic violation of their rights ranging from arbitrary arrests, labeling of indigenous organizations, leaders and activists as terrorist organizations as terrorists, torture and extrajudicial killings still continue. Their lack of access to basic social services and the violation of their cultural rights remain appalling. Violence against indigenous women is still pervasive in many countries. Reports show a high representation in jails of indigenous women in countries like Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand and in these same countries, missing and murdered indigenous women is a stark reality. Many indigenous children are not able to finish primary school and indigenous women's access to health care services is still limited. All these will undercut the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted soon.

 

Increasing foreign investments coming into many countries further exacerbate the loss of lands and resources of indigenous peoples and serious environmental destruction of their territories. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples are worsening because of the continuing implementation of neoliberalism and extractivism as well as increasing foreign investments agreed upon in more than 2,700 state-to-state bilateral investment treaties (BITs). Indigenous peoples' right and capacity to pursue their own economic, social and cultural development is still very much challenged.

 

Where lies the hope for indigenous peoples? There is an increasing number of indigenous communities, organizations, institutions and networks which are strengthening their capacities to get the States and corporations to implement the UN Declaration and ILO Convention No. 169. Such efforts include awareness raising on their rights; designing and implementing their own development paths; doing community participatory mapping and resource inventories and developing and using participatory monitoring tools to measure the extent of implementation of the legal instruments and the agreed Sustainable Development Goals; using and transmitting traditional knowledge systems; waging campaigns on various issues and strengthening their own movements at all levels.

 

I urge indigenous peoples to multiply several times over these efforts. They should use more effectively relevant legal instruments and engage actively with the UN mechanisms on indigenous peoples. These include the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and my mandate, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

I urge States to seriously implement the UN Declaration and the ILO Convention No. 169 and the commitments they made in the WCIP Outcome Document. A substantial decrease in violations of the rights of indigenous peoples will lead towards more peaceful indigenous communities and better chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous peoples should be regarded as allies and partners of States and the UN as well as other multilateral bodies in addressing climate change, stopping the erosion of biodiversity, enhancing cultural diversity and achieving the SDGs. The contributions of indigenous peoples in addressing the global ecological and cultural crises cannot and should not be underestimated.

 

I urge the UN bodies, agencies, programs and funds to implement the UN Declaration and their own policies or guidelines on how they will work with indigenous peoples. Coherence and complementation between you all in implementing the Declaration and developing and implementing a System-wide Action Plan on indigenous peoples should be enhanced. The human-rights based approach to development and the UNDG Guidelines on Indigenous Issues should guide you in all the work you do with indigenous peoples.

 

I also urge corporations to adhere to the Guidelines on Business and Human Rights and their own guidelines on free, prior and informed consent.

 

Let us all celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples by demonstrating our collective political will to address the serious implementation gap in relation to the UN Declaration and the ILO Convention No. 169. Long live the indigenous peoples all over the world!

Revised Note from Galina Angarova (Tebtebba Foundation) & Roberto Mukaro Borrero (International Indian Treaty Council) on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG):

 

The following are the direct references to Indigenous Peoples in the final revision of the Outcome Document for the Post2015 Intergovernental Negotiations entitled "Transforming Our World" released on 1 August 2015. Member State delegations came to a consensus and adopted this document on Sunday, 2 August 2015 at 6:25pm. The document will now move to the United Nations General Assembly for final ratification in September 2015.

 

 

In the section entitled "The new Agenda"

 

23. People who are vulnerable must be empowered. Those whose needs are reflected in the Agenda include all children, youth, persons with disabilities (of whom more than 80% live in poverty), people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants. We resolve to take further effective measures and actions, in conformity with international law, to remove obstacles and constraints, strengthen support and meet the special needs of people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism.

 

25. We commit to providing inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training. All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society. We will strive to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, helping our countries to reap the demographic dividend including through safe schools and cohesive communities and families.

 

 

In the section entitled "A call for action to change our world"

 

52. “We the Peoples” are the celebrated opening words of the UN Charter. It is “We the Peoples” who are embarking today on the road to 2030. Our journey will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda. It is an Agenda of the people, by the people, and for the people – and this, we believe, will ensure its success.

 

 

In the chapter on Follow-up and review, section entitled National Level

 

79. We also encourage member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and country-driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes.

 

 

Additionally, IPs remain in:

 

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

 

2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

 

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

 

4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations

New York/Addis Ababa — On the eve of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, UN Women is calling for transformative financing to end gender inequality by 2030. High ambition, backed by stepped-up action to make the right investments, puts that goal within reach for all women and girls.

 

The Financing for Development conference, to be held in Addis Ababa from 13-16 July 2015, will bring together high-level officials from across the world to agree on a set of far-reaching commitments to finance sustainable development, including those linked to official development assistance, trade, debt, taxation and technology, among other issues. The meeting provides a critical opportunity to ensure the centrality of gender equality in the mobilization and allocation of all sources of financing, public and private, domestic and international.

 

Studies show women everywhere need dedicated and consistent investment and resources. To implement gender equality objectives of the post-2015 development agenda, political will and commitment to unprecedented levels of financing – in scale, scope, and quality— and from all sources, are needed.

 

We have an enormous opportunity,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director. “As we look towards the new development agenda, it is clear that its sustainability will be strongest, and most enduring when it is based on equal, financially resilient, and inclusive communities. We have to act now to vastly increase financing, from all sources and at all levels, in line with women’s rights. Now is the time for governments to put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of all discussions, all agreements.”

 

Financing for Development is considered one of three global events in 2015 that could transform the course of development over the next 15 years, and as the first in the series, is expected to set the tone for the other two. They include a September summit to agree on a post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a December summit with an anticipated new deal on climate change.

 

For decades, chronic underinvestment in women’s empowerment has hampered progress on women’s rights and gender equality. Conducted by UN Women, a recent review of progress on implementation of the landmark 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, endorsed at the Fourth World Conference on Women, found advances towards gender equality have been slow and inconsistent, often attributable to financing gaps. In some countries, these gaps are as high as 90 per cent.

 

Earlier in 2015, this financing shortfall was recognized by UN Member States at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, resulting in a Political Declaration pledging to close the gap. The Addis conference, therefore, can be the first major step to move this agenda forward.

 

Beyond increasing the amount of financing, including through official development assistance and domestic resources such as taxation, countries need to adopt public policies that address the root causes and consequences of gender inequality and discrimination in all areas of life. In this regard, women must participate fully in decision-making at all levels, and action should be taken to mainstream gender in national planning and budgeting processes.

 

Furthermore, the private sector must uphold the human rights of women and be held accountable for contributing to progress, such as by empowering women in the workplace. Women’s organizations, integral to the long struggle for equality and having built a cohesive, inclusive movement for gender equality, must also receive significantly more funding to perform their advocacy and mobilization roles.

 

During the Addis Conference UN Women will join UN Member States to launch the Addis Ababa Action Plan on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. This Plan aims to outline key policy and financing priorities to translate the pledges in the Addis Ababa Accord and Action Agenda into prioritized, well-resourced actions for meeting new and existing commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment to in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

 

With the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Women will host a side event called “Financing for Gender Equality—Results and Good Practices.” It will engage ministers, civil society and business representatives to champion high-impact financing success stories. UN Women is also supporting an event hosted by the Ethiopian government on African women’s role in the sustainable development goals.

 

Fostering the active role of civil society in the financing for development processes, UN Women has been collaborating with women's groups and civil society organizations from the global South, so that their priorities can be reflected in the outcomes of the Addis Conference. Before the conference opens, UN Women is supporting the Women’s Forum and the Civil Society Forum to mobilize advocates to continually press for action on gender equality. UN Women’s participation in official proceedings and the Business Forum will stress key messages such as the urgent need to close the funding gap to make post-2015 gender goal a reality.

 

More information on UN Women events and participation at the Conference, click here.

 

Learn more: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/financing-for-gender-equality

Follow the conversation on Twitter @UN_Women, #FFgenderequality, #FFD3

To attend or cover UN Women events at the Financing for Development Conference, media must be accredited. Media Accreditation details available at: http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/news-media/media-accreditation.html

Interviews with senior officials are available, please contact media contacts listed.

 

For more information

In New York, Oisika Chakrabarti, Ph: +1 646 781-4522; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Addis Ababa, Monika Bihlmaier, Ph: +251941615108, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Source: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2015/7/financing-for-development-press-release

Statement on the role of SDGs

30 June 2015, 5:33 am Written by
Published in Latest News

Statement delivered at the high level segment of the HLPF 2015 on "changing approaches to policy making: the role of the SDGs"

Delivered by Galina Angarova, Tebtebba Foundation
30 June 2015, UN, New York

Dear excellencies, representatives of member states, UN agencies, major groups,

My name is Galina Angarova and I am here as the representative of Tebtebba Foundation, an indigenous rights and education center and a Global Organizing Partner for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group to respond on the issue of integration of SDGs on all levels. I consider this to be an extremely important topic and thank the office of the ECOSOC President as well as UN DESA who have given me the opportunity to provide my comments on this issue.

I would like to speak on several points regarding the SDGs integration:

First and foremost, I would like to send a message to everyone who has been and will be engaged in the formulation and the implementation of the SDGs, that it is necessary to check your ideas and aspirations about sustainable development against the reality. It's important to sometimes go from the abstract and conceptual levels to the levels of real people. Sitting in New York and philosophizing what the world should be without really experiencing the world, without knowing what lack of access to appropriate nutrition and clean water and air means, how it feels to be a second class citizen just because you have a different skin color or because you are a woman or because you are underaged.

Imagine that you are a young indigenous woman living in poverty in some rural area without access to education, basic health service and clean water and proper nutrition. The scariest fact is that this is not a hypothetical situation and people face multiple discrimination based on their gender, age, ethnic origin and what not and such situations can only be resolved in a holistic manner. Every action and every program undertaken in the name of sustainable development needs to be assessed and implemented with full integration of social, environmental and economic dimensions. The UN agencies and national governments need to set necessary benchmarks and requirements for their programs that provide full integration of all three dimensions. The projects have to go through some degree of scrutiny that analyzes if these projects are environmentally safe, socially just and economically feasible.

Secondly, I would like to highlight the role of traditional knowledge in the context of SDGs. The Global Sustainable Development Report presented here as a basis of discussion, although very important, presents a one -dimensional view, from the point of view of science. It was mentioned yesterday during one of panels that science should present an integrated voice, but I think we should go even further – create an integrated voice of science and traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples is millennial experiential knowledge based on the intimate relationship with their environment. It can be found in agricultural practices, land management, sustainable water use, engineering, architecture, medicine, food, seed banking, and etc.

I believe that we need to not only support scientific research but promote effective sharing of information, knowledge, and research and combine local, traditional, and western science perspectives. We need to understand linkages b/n climate and land, water and people, biodiversity and traditional livelihoods. We have to use local knowledge and experience to identify strategies that would move us forward to the implementation of SDGs from local to regional, from regional to national, and from national to global levels.

As an indigenous person, I would also like to make one very important point that is true for all native people around the world. There is a lesson to be learned from indigenous peoples cosmovision. For Indigenous Peoples life is hard to dissect into silos, one has to embrace all aspects of life so that human rights becomes inseparable from food security, or climate change from education for example. These are all pieces that here in the Western world we are used to relate to and work on separately, however, in indigenous communities all issues are closely integrated and failure in one aspect of life leads to the collapse of the entire system.

My third point is a reflection on chapter 2 of the Global Sustainable Development Report:

The Indigenous Peoples Major Group supports some of the findings of them scientific community presented in the report which notes that although “the SDGs offered major improvements on the MDGs, it also pointed out the absence of scenario-based pathways towards the SDGs, and noted that “the level of integration is far lower than justified from a science perspective”.

The report recommends 3 solutions for integration within and across SDGs:

The first recommendation is the formulating an overarching goal can help communicating the SDGs to a wider public – to create “a prosperous, high quality life that is equitably shared and sustainable” which highlights the need for new integrated economic metrics of progress beyond GDP and beyond the Human Development Index and other established aggregate indices.

We agree with this approach. Furthermore, we would like to stress the importance of having a universal mission for our mutual endeavor and have a clear understanding why we are doing this. The Indigenous Peoples Major Groups have stressed on numerous occasions that we need to fully integrate the measure of well-being and align SDGs and targets in a way that support human well-being from all three dimensions of SD. This is why, for example, we have from the very beginning opposed a target under poverty eradication 1.1 by 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Most indigenous peoples rely on non-monetary forms of income such as subsistence resources from hunting, gathering, pastoralism, and small scale agriculture and farming, which make up to 90% of IP livelihoods. Our concern is that the monetary measure of poverty can contribute to impoverishing Indigenous Peoples. For example, if a large agro business comes to indigenous territories, removing IP lands and resources, and IP communities are left with nothing but a choice to work for $3 a day for this business. On paper, they are meeting the SDG goal of eradicating poverty. In reality, they are taking away IPs' livelihoods and pushing people into poverty. Thus, the concept and measure of well-being should be the corner stone of SDG implementation.

The second recommendation of the report proposes a way to overcome the silo-ed approach by providing a composite framework to link interdependent targets that span different goals. While SDGs are presented as 17 separate elements, it is clear from the systems approach that goal areas overlap and it would be highly inefficient to pursue implementation on a goal by goal basis. Therefore, it's extremely important to identify trade offs and synergies among different targets as well as potential clashes and inconsistencies that might occur within targets when one target is achieved at the expense of the other. The report itself gives a great example of a potential clash of targets such as achieving economic growth which can lead to increasing pollution which would undermine some of the targets on health, water, and marine resources. We have to carefully examine each of the targets and their interlinkages and approach every decision on implementation having in mind all three dimensions of SD.

For example, we currently have 1.3 billion people around the world with no access to electricity. How are we going to achieve the goal of providing these people with energy without building large infrastructure, further contributing to climate change, displacing and impoverishing indigenous peoples and local communities, and violating human rights. How do we make this right? The only right way is to provide these people with safe, affordable, distributed and decentralized energy coming from renewable resources with all appropriate safeguards and mechanisms in place that check against stringent environmental, social and economic standards.

The third recommendation of the report proposes the development of scenario-based stories (or “narratives”) of alternative pathways toward the SDGs. The report proposes creation of a UN SDG modellers forum to be held in conjunction with the High-level Political Forum. Such a forum could promote exchange of experiences among all interested SDG modellers and with decision-makers, from national to global scale. The only suggestion I would like to add here is that a forum like this should be open not only modellers from the scientific community and policy makers but also other types of knowledge holders such as indigenous peoples who holders of traditional knowledge.

Finally, in relation to modalities, structure, and integrating SDGs and the three dimensions of sustainable development, at national, regional and international levels as well as the role of the HLPF in fostering policy coherence, I would like to point out that it's critical that the HLPF guarantees a meaningful and effective participation of Major Groups and other stakeholders in the implementation of SDGs on all levels. Additionally, Each UN-region should establish mechanisms for peer review, drawing on existing structures. These reviews should be comprehensive and transparent in their coverage of the Sustainable Development agenda - encompassing all SDGs, and their accompanying targets and means of implementation.

Finally, it would be fundamental to strengthen the mandate and the capacity of the HLPF by establishing an appropriate bureau consisting of Member States and representatives of major groups and other stakeholders for their guidance and political support, and a highly-skilled secretariat with enough resources and a clear structure to achieve all ambitions.

In conclusion, I would like to say that our planet is not only the stock pot of natural resources, it is a territory of human lives, cultures and peoples who managed to create and sustain their day-to-day life, own system of management, values which align with their natural environment. The world does not tolerate temporary solutions, people and approach. Investment into human dimension, development of human potential, education, health alongside with economic investment will guarantee long-term, innovative and sustainable development. ##

On Thursday, Pope Francis will issue a highly anticipated encyclical on man, religion and the environment, a text that is expected to influence the outcome of the Paris climate talks in December.

 

We know already what side he is on.

 

During a January visit to typhoon-ravaged villages in the Philippines — my home country — he called on humanity to protect the earth, which he called “a beautiful garden for the human family.” And he captured headlines last year when he called the destruction of South America’s rainforests a “sin.”

 

To the world’s 370 million indigenous people, many of whom live in overlooked and remote corners of the world, the Pope’s words offer hope — regardless of whether they share his spiritual beliefs. As some of the first victims of climate change by virtue of their dependence on the world’s natural resources, these communities are finding themselves on the front lines of the environmental crisis. They are playing David against governments and developers eager to destroy their pristine forests, fields and streams to build mines, dams and agricultural plantations, all in the name of what the Pope calls a “throw-away” economic system.

 

Far too many indigenous activists have become martyrs of this movement. A recent Global Witness report estimated that last year alone, 116 environmental activists died while trying to protect their lands from developers, as well as illegal loggers, drug traffickers and others whose criminal activities destroy our forests. Among these mostly indigenous fighters were seven activists from Argentina, the Pope’s homeland.

 

Ecuador, of course, was host to one of the first and most notorious cases of environmental violence against forest-dwelling indigenous peoples. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, Chevron knowingly dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste and oil into the rivers in the Ecuadorian Amazon, destroying streams, forests and farmlands and inflicting birth defects, cancer and poverty on six indigenous groups living there.

 

These groups fought back with lawsuits in the U.S. and Ecuador, but after more than two decades of protracted court battles, Chevron has failed to concede it did wrong. This case revealed to the world the agonizing difficulty of providing a level playing field to indigenous peoples, who are most vulnerable to climate change, and most vital in finding a way to slow it down. Yet the case hasn’t succeeded in stopping the violence that continues to endanger indigenous peoples.

 

The climate talks in Paris will fail if negotiators don't acknowledge the link between indigenous people and the health of the world’s natural resources.

 

Though often framed by land developers and government officials in some countries as a selfish refusal to embrace modernity and a new way of life, this quest to save indigenous lands and forests is motivated by a profound spiritual belief in the need to protect Mother Earth. Whether the voices come from the indigenous communities of Paraguay’s threated Chaco forests or the First Nations of Canada, I hear the same message on every continent: Forest peoples seek to honor the spirits of our elders and ensure that future generations can preserve their traditions and lifestyle.

 

Their work benefits us all. Curbing the activities of large corporations that grab and destroy our lands means reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Preventing deforestation helps, too: Forests function like the planet’s lungs, filtering and cleaning the air. Studies have shown that the 513 million hectares of forests that indigenous communities protect store 37.7 billion tons of carbon, making indigenous peoples a potent and valuable weapon in global efforts to end climate change.

 

In recent speeches on the climate, the Pope has stressed humanity’s duty “to till the earth and to keep it.” For centuries, indigenous peoples who sustainably manage their forests have embodied this harmonious relationship between people and their natural surroundings. Communities across the globe have successfully “kept” their forests while “tilling” them with the utmost care to secure sustainable income sources, from wild honey and wax to fruits and fish. They take just enough to live and thrive — nothing more.

 

The Pope would certainly agree that indigenous people offer invaluable lessons to a world seeking a sustainable future that eschews what he calls the “plunder” of nature. It’s time for leaders, CEOs and investors who say they care about the environment to finally acknowledge that indigenous people are a major part of the solution to global warming. And governments, on their part, should grant indigenous people strong, unambiguous rights over the land where they live. Researchers have shown that deforestation rates are significantly lower in community-managed forests where rights are strong and reinforced by local and national authorities.

 

The international community should take notice, too: The upcoming climate talks in Paris will fall short of reaching a comprehensive solution if negotiators do not acknowledge this link between indigenous rights and the health of the world’s natural resources.

 

As a member of the Kankana-ey Igorot in the Philippines, I, like the Pope, was deeply touched by the destruction left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. My indigenous brothers and sisters lost their homes, boats and livelihoods, and are recovering from the trauma still. They live simple, sustainable lives, in harmony with the forests, oceans and mountains around them, yet end up bearing the worst effects of climate change. They are not alone. In the Andes of Peru, melting glaciers threaten the lives of the indigenous Quechua, and in the northern stretches of Scandinavia and Finland, Sami herders are seeing reindeer populations drop as the weather warms. And in the Amazon forests of Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia, indigenous peoples are finding their rainforests are drying out.

 

We hope that having a visionary Pope on our side will help the world to realize that it is best for indigenous people, the environment and the rest of humanity when we are free to focus on preserving our collective “beautiful garden” for future generations — instead of fighting for our lives.

 

 

Source: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/6/how-the-pope-gives-hope-to-indigenous-people.html

09 June 2015, Berlin — To mark the historic 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, and its 20th anniversary this year, representatives from politics, the private sector, civil society and academia came together today in Berlin. The event with German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Manuela Schwesig, and the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, was held in the Representation of the State North Rhine-Westphalia in Berlin, hosted by the UN Women National Committee for Germany and attended by high officials and other dignitaries.

 

On the occasion of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 many aspects had been dealt with for the first time in the context of international conferences: Violence against women had never before been described in such detail, as well as the means to overcome it. The need for equal rights to inheritance for girls and boys were also addressed for the first time.

 

Minister Schwesig made it clear that “no country has achieved gender equality entirely– Germany is no exception. Therefore we have to keep alive the spirit of Beijing and, all together, stand up for women’s rights. Gender equality must become a reality for all people.” She pointed out “how important it is for the future of societies to include women and girls equally in economic and political systems, to strengthen their role in conflict areas and to protect them of violence and abuse. The recently passed bill on equal participation of women and men in leadership positions is an important and historic step forward.”

 

Executive Director Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka commented: “Across the world, the Beijing Platform for Action has been the focus for renewed attention to progress and constraints, and never more so than this year. The data gathered through the extensive process of reviews by UN Member States has allowed us to articulate the current achievements and the gaps – and to galvanize governments, the private sector and civil society to do more – reaffirming and expanding their gender equality goals, tackling the deep-seated social norms and discriminatory attitudes that continue to hold back substantive equality, and investing in an inclusive future.”

 

In her welcome address, Karin Nordmeyer, the President of UN Women National Committee Germany, hosting the event, pointed out to those present: “We are here to review the results and achievements of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action during the last 20 years. We are also here to appeal to everybody to intensify their commitment for gender equality globally.” Furthermore, Ms. Nordmeyer stated: “We are living in a world in which women do not participate to their full potential in shaping their societies.”

 

The Berlin event took place as part as part of the global mobilization to spur engagement and action around gender equality as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action turns 20. The Platform for Action is considered to be one of the most comprehensive agreements on the empowerment of women and a blueprint for achieving gender equality. All speakers of the evening underlined this framework, and demanded the need for a concerted push which will not allow any backsliding. Women and girls, boys and men must work together to ensure that gender equality will become an unquestioned matter of fact for future generations by the year 2030.

For more information

 

UN Women National Committee Germany, Silvia Fullenkamp, Tel.: (+49) 228/454934-11, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.unwomen.de

 

Source: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2015/6/press-release-un-women-in-berlin

1 June, 2015- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has adopted and made effective (as of 1 January 2015), new Social and Environmental Standards (SES or Standards). They are accompanied by a revised Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP) and two new compliance and accountability mechanisms: the Stakeholder Response Mechanism and the Social and Environmental Compliance Mechanisms (and "Unit" known as SECU).

 

The SES are anchored by three principles and seven standards. The three principles comprise: Human Rights, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Environmental Sustainability. They apply to all programmes and projects and the seven standards include: (1) Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management; (2) Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; (3) Community Health, Safety and Working Conditions; (4) Cultural Heritage; (5) Displacement and Resettlement; (6) Indigenous Peoples; and (7) Pollution Prevention and Resource Efficiency.

 

In many ways, UNDP deserves applause. Its new documents strived to ensure not only that its standards did not fall below any other safeguards adopted already by international financial institutions, but also to properly expand the concepts of applicable social and environmental safeguards where advances in international law and practice have so warranted.

 

As an agency of the United Nations, the UNDP has centred the SES in respect of the very human rights and environmental standards adopted within the UN system and embraced by its member states. The SES aim to adhere to the (UNDG) Statement of Common Understanding of the Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation and Programming. It is the first safeguard of its kind that expressly affirms that the hosting institution -- here the UNDP -- will refrain from providing support for activities that may contribute to violations of a state’s human rights obligations and the core international human rights treaties.

 

The SES specifically state that "UNDP will not support activities that do not comply with national law and obligations under international law, whichever is the higher standard." The latter is particularly important to indigenous peoples given that all too often the national legal framework does not support indigenous rights, certainly not in a manner consistent with the rights and duties of states under international law. Moreover, Standard 6 related to Indigenous Peoples (the "IP Standard"), expands this required compliance to include all state duties and obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

Also, while a key objective of the SES is to ensure UNDP’s projects do not adversely affect indigenous peoples, the SES go beyond the traditional and all too familiar "do no harm" approach. Together with the SESP, the SES also aim to support governments in efforts to fulfil their obligations under international law. The objective therefore is not just to avoid human rights violations, but to enhance the respect for, and the enjoyment of human rights.

 

While each of the seven standards are relevant to indigenous peoples, it should be noted that the IP Standard recognises indigenous peoples' rights to lands, resources and territories (including respect and support for demarcation and titling). It also ensures against involuntary resettlement, and recognises the requirement that culturally appropriate consultation must be carried out with the objective of achieving agreement and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). The IP Standard specifically prohibits the undertaking of any project activities that may adversely affect the existence, value, use or enjoyment of indigenous lands, resources or territories unless agreement has been achieved through FPIC. The IP Standard further requires the development of an Indigenous Peoples Plan and demands respect and support for state recognition of the legal personality of indigenous peoples consistent with their own norms, values and traditions. The Standard respects and supports indigenous peoples' cultural heritage, intellectual, religious and spiritual property, and recognises the requirement of participatory monitoring and transparency.

 

As with all safeguards, their true test will be in the implementation. While it is believed that those responsible for drafting and advancing the SES at the UNDP headquarters level have the proper intentions to see the SES and SESP implemented in full, much will depend on the capacity and political will of both UNDP staff at the country level and the main project implementing partners: the states themselves. This means that indigenous peoples must familiarise themselves with the content of the Standards and SESP, ensure their application, and insist as required on the full and effective participation of affected indigenous peoples.

 

Source: http://www.forestpeoples.org/topics/safeguard-accountablility-issues/news/2015/05/undp-adopts-new-social-and-environmental-standa

(24 May 2015, DHAKA, Bangladesh) The brutal gang-rape of a woman from a Bangladeshi indigenous group last week has put a spotlight on how the country protects women and minority groups.

 

More than 500 activists gathered in the capital Dhaka on Sunday to demand the government support the victim, arrest the attackers and ensure security for Bangladeshi women, including those from vulnerable indigenous groups.

 

There have not yet been any arrests after the 21-year old woman -- from the Garo ethnicity present in northeastern Bangladesh and India -- was forced into a van by five men and subjected to a more than hour-long attack on Thursday night, when she was returning home from work.

 

"It is really very painful. A girl comes to the capital Dhaka for work but is kidnapped and gang-raped. Three days have gone but police have failed to arrest them," said Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum. "I think the state should take responsibility of the security of its citizens, especially women."

 

"Sometimes people say that indigenous girls do not go to police and do not file any complaints. I think the state and police should come forward spontaneously, without harassing the victim, and expedite the arrest of the criminals," said Drong.

 

Human rights activists complained there is a culture of impunity around rape which, compounded by a male-dominated society, threatens women's safety.

 

Sultana Kamal, the head of legal aid group Ain-o-Shalish Kendra said the rape was a calculated attack.

 

"We demand the security of all women, including indigenous women. I would like to focus on indigenous women especially because they are still in a weak position in their constitutional existence in this independent country," said Kamal. "The perpetrators also think that as they [indigenous women] are a minority, they might not be able to protest. So that’s why we are here to express our solidarity with them and to inform the state that, if the state and its law enforcement agency fail to ensure women's security, they have to give an explanation to us."

 

The Garo Students Union, which represents students from the minority group, demanded immediate action from the government at the rally.

 

Garo activist Tuki Chambugong said: "I think the meaning of raping a girl is raping a society, raping a state. You will notice that in our Garo community, women's rights and their freedom is acknowledged, accepted."

 

"I think, the rape of this Garo girl is actually a rape of the freedom of women in our society," she said.

 

The victims, who filed a case with the police on Friday, said she was not able to identify any of her assailants, though her sister claimed that one of them had a week earlier visited the victim in the shop where she worked.

 

Source: http://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/515835--bangladesh-gang-rape-highlights-minority-vulnerability

UNITED NATIONS, May 11 2015 (IPS) - U.N. member states are meeting throughout the year to finalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The goals are supposed to be universal and aspire to “leave no one behind.”

 

But Indigenous Peoples, who are among the poorest and most marginalised people on earth, are all but invisible in the latest draft of the SDGs. As an indigenous woman and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, I am deeply concerned that almost all references to Indigenous Peoples have been deleted, as we have learned from experience that unless we are explicitly included, we are likely to be excluded.

 

Indigenous Peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion in almost every country they live in. Without specific targets and indicators to measure and report on the realisation of their rights, this inequality is likely to continue in the 15-year implementation of the SDGs.

 

The Millennium Development Goals, which were also supposed to be universal, failed to address Indigenous Peoples’ poverty: Indigenous Peoples still make up just five percent of the global population but account for 15 percent of the world’s poorest people. If the SDGs aim to do any better, and achieve their aspiration to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” they must also address the unique development needs and challenges of Indigenous Peoples.

 

Chief among these is that many Indigenous Peoples do not have legal title to the lands they have lived on for generations. This insecurity has resulted in encroachment by governments and corporations as well as forced evictions of countless communities from their ancestral lands.

 

Because Indigenous Peoples’ lives, livelihoods, cultures, and identities are intrinsically tied to their territory, this loss often deprives them of their income and self-sufficiency, and threatens their very identity and survival.

 

Securing legal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ land rights has other benefits too: it decreases poverty, supports food security, and encourages long-term economic and environmental benefits. But despite progress in some regions, there has been a sharp slowdown in the overall global recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ and communities’ land rights since 2008.

 

The current SDG draft recognises the land rights of individuals (men and women) but does not take into account the estimated 1.5 billion Indigenous Peoples and forest-dwelling and forest-dependent local people who govern 6.8 billion hectares of land through community tenure arrangements.

 

Currently governments only recognise about 513 million hectares of these lands. The SDGs should therefore include an indicator to measure recognition of collective land rights, and reinstate a deleted provision requiring that governments obtain the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples before handing over their lands.

 

This is particularly critical given that “development” for many Indigenous Peoples has been more of a threat than a promise. An analysis of around 73,000 mining, agricultural, and lodging concessions in eight countries revealed that more than 93 percent of these developments involved lands inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

 

Development projects in countries that lack strong safeguards often rob them of their lands and livelihoods—but rarely do they deliver on the promise of shared economic development.

 

In Indonesia, for example, palm oil corporations have engulfed over 59 percent of community forests in West Kalimantan, yet the industry contributes less than two percent to Indonesia’s GDP and has not increased rural employment. Inequality has risen, and Indigenous Peoples’ land rights have been transferred to corporations on a large scale.

 

The consequences of insecure land tenure extend beyond indigenous communities: Indonesia is now the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with almost 80 percent of emissions stemming from deforestation, land use change, and the draining and burning of peatland.

 

On the other hand, deforestation rates are dramatically lower in areas where Indigenous Peoples have legal recognition of their land rights. Despite suffering some of its worst impacts, Indigenous Peoples can actually offer some of the most promising solutions to climate change.

 

Community forest rights in Nepal, for example, improved the health of the forest to the point where it absorbed 180 million tons of carbon. It is no coincidence that traditional indigenous territories overlap to a large degree with biodiversity hotspots.

 

Indigenous Peoples’ natural resource management has sustained some of the world’s most intact ecosystems and holds important lessons for a planet that must change if it is to endure. They bring alternative thinking and perspectives to a development paradigm that has repeatedly put sustainability and human rights on the back burner and favored short-term profits.

 

Because many Indigenous Peoples live in rural areas and are politically and physically distant from the centers of power, it is all too easy for us to become invisible.

 

We fought for the global recognition of our rights in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We had to fight to be called “Indigenous Peoples,” a term that recognises us as peoples with distinct identities and cultures who have the right to self-determination.

 

As they stand now, the SDGs are a step backwards from these achievements. Indigenous Peoples have been all but erased from the development agenda. Include us, so that we can protect our traditions and territories for our children and protect the planet’s biodiversity for all the world’s children. Don’t leave us behind.

 

Edited by Kitty Stapp

 

Source: http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/05/opinion-dont-leave-indigenous-peoples-behind-in-sdgs/