Dear participants, including members of the Board of Trustees for the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to this side-event.
For more than 30 years, the Voluntary Fund has worked to promote the voices of indigenous peoples in the UN. The Fund has benefited indigenous peoples in all regions.
Just last month, the UN Human Rights Council passed a consensus resolution calling on the need for greater recognition of environmental human rights defenders. The resolution recognizes that indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to violence and killings, linked to their strong engagement for sustainable development approaches.
The participation of indigenous peoples, in the Human Rights Council, UPR hearings and other UN bodies and processes, play an important role in building a common understanding at the UN on the challenges that indigenous peoples face.
Norway is therefore a strong supporter of the ongoing efforts under the leadership of the President of the General Assembly, to ensure greater participation from indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them.
To this end, we have also for a long time been one of the major contributors to the Voluntary Fund.
It is a concern that while the mandate and scope of the fund has broadened significantly over the years, the funding base has not broadened to the same extent. We therefore take this opportunity to encourage all member states to join and support this important mechanism. I would like to note that this is one instance where even a small contribution, could make a big difference.
With these few words, let me again just say welcome to you all. I look forward to hearing more about the experiences of the fund.