PFII: Consultation on participation of indigenous peoples

Joint statement by Ambassador May-Elin Stener at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the process concerning ways to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions on issues affecting them, 18 May 2016.

| Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Thank you Chair,

I make this intervention on behalf of the following countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Sweden, and my own country Norway.

Let me start by expressing thanks to the advisers for the revised draft and the discussion paper. The first round of consultations last week did indeed prove useful and we are glad to see that the process is moving forward as planned with the constructive engagement of all parties.

This consultation process operationalizes previous years' agreements, included in, inter alia, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples as well as last fall's General Assembly resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples, which specifically called for this process to commence.

With this in mind, we want to, first and foremost, reaffirm and underline that it is of utmost importance that Indigenous Peoples' representatives, organisations and institutions have the possibility and space to exercise their right to participate in meetings of all relevant UN bodies on issues affecting them. As issues affecting Indigenous Peoples extend beyond ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, their participatory rights should do so as well.

To ensure effectiveness in Indigenous Peoples' participation, the participatory status of their representatives and institutions should be considered in detail.

We underline the need for Indigenous Peoples to participate as such, and not as NGOs. The already existing categories do not seem to adequately reflect the unique features of Indigenous Peoples. We, therefore, look favourably upon the creation of a new category for Indigenous Peoples.

This position has been elaborated in a number of written contributions, which some of us have already submitted in response to the hearing launched by the Advisors of the President of the General Assembly and we look forward to engaging positively in the process moving forward.

Thank you.