United Nations

A/50/511


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

5 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 111


PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DECADE OF THE WORLD'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Final report on a comprehensive programme of action for the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People

Report of the Secretary-General


1.   The General  Assembly, in its  resolution 48/163 of  21 December  1993,
requested the Secretary-General to submit a  final report on a comprehensive
programme of action for the International  Decade of the World's  Indigenous
People to the General  Assembly at its fiftieth session.  In its  resolution
49/214  of 23  December 1994,  the  Assembly  invited Governments  to submit
written comments  to the Secretary-General,  by the  end of August  1995, on
the  preliminary  report and  its annexes  (A/49/444),  with  a view  to the
preparation  of a final  comprehensive programme  of action  for the Decade.
In  the same  resolution, the  General  Assembly  recommended that  a second
technical  meeting on  the  planning of  the Decade  be  held prior  to  the
thirteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.

2.    The present  document  contains  a  summary of  the  comments  on  the
SecretaryGeneral's preliminary  report received  from Governments  as at  15
September 1995,  the proposed programme of  action of  the technical meeting
held  in accordance with  General Assembly  resolution 49/214  (annex I) and
the recommendations  of the Working Group  on Indigenous  Populations at its
thirteenth  session  (annex  II).  The  Secretary-General  also  submits   a
proposed calendar of  activities for consideration  by the  General Assembly
(annex III).  The Secretary-General further wishes to draw the attention  of
the  Assembly to  the  report  to be  submitted at  the current  session, in
accordance with paragraph 13  (e) of resolution 49/214,  on progress made at
the  national,  regional  and  international  levels  in  accomplishing  the
objectives of the Decade.





95-30033 (E)   181095/...
*9530033*
COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS

3.   The following Governments provided  information in  response to General
Assembly resolution 49/214:  Brazil, New  Zealand.  The information provided
is summarized below.

Brazil

4.   In a  communication dated  21 February  1995, the Permanent  Mission of
Brazil to the United Nations stated  that, having participated in activities
pertaining  to the International  Year for  the World's  Indigenous People -
1993, the Government considered  that the Year had not met the  expectations
raised among indigenous people and developing  countries in general owing to
the lack  of time  for preparation  and implementation.   The  International
Decade  seemed  an opportunity  to  follow  up  on  the International  Year.
Brazil also  stated that the  results of the  technical meeting  to evaluate
the Year and plan the Decade had not been satisfactory.   In particular, the
main purposes of the  Decade were lost among initiatives of limited scope or
proposals  to  establish  direct  communication  links  between  the  United
Nations  system  and  indigenous communities,  without  due  regard  to  the
legitimate  role  of national  Governments as  the  appropriate channel  for
international cooperation.

5.  Brazil further  stated that one  of the  lessons of the three  technical
meetings was that the format of the meeting itself had been exhausted.   The
increasing  number  of  indigenous participants  showed an  eagerness  to be
heard  at the United  Nations.   However, the  United Nations  system lacked
preparation to cope with  this new form of participation.  Brazil  therefore
welcomed the  decision to request the  Secretary-General to request  written
comments on  the preliminary programme of  activities.   The Government also
believed  that the Working  Group on  Indigenous Populations  could fulfil a
useful  role in  reviewing international  activities undertaken  during  the
Decade  and  receiving   voluntary  information  from  Governments  on   the
implementation  of the goals  of the  Decade in  their respective countries.
The overall  evaluation should  be carried  out by the  Economic and  Social
Council at mid-term and end-term reviews  in accordance with its  resolution
1988/63 of 27 July 1988.

6.   A concern  for Brazil  was the emphasis placed  on the establishment of
direct contacts between indigenous people and United Nations  organizations.
In  the  view  of  the Government,  such  an approach  might  jeopardize the
coordinating  role  of  Governments  in  national  development  and  distort
international  cooperation   for  development.    The   main  role  of   the
Coordinator  should be to coordinate  with other United Nations  bodies.  He
should not bypass the normal channels  of communication with States  Members
of the United Nations.  Governments  will establish national committees  for
the Decade  involving indigenous people and  the Coordinator  for the Decade
should use  diplomatic channels to be  informed of activities  planned.  The
theme  of  the Decade,  "Partnership  in  Action",  should  be construed  as
fostering  the  common  understanding  between  indigenous  people  and  the
national societies of which they  are a part.  The United Nations should  be
asked to mobilize its resources to  provide assistance to countries  through
appropriate channels  for implementing  activities planned  by the  national
committees.   The Government  stated that  the specialized  agencies of  the
United Nations are expected to plan for the Decade and make their  expertise
available to  help achieve  the goals set  out.   It was  encouraged by  the
relevant  resolution  of  the  forty-seventh session  of  the  World  Health
Assembly  and  hoped that  other  agencies  would  follow  this example  and
elaborate plans of action to guide their activities for the Decade.

7.   Brazil  maintains that the  success of  the Decade  will depend  on the
means available  for the implementation  of national development  programmes
directed  at the  improvement  of  living conditions  of indigenous  people.
Mobilization of financial  resources cannot be  restricted to  assist small-
scale projects.   The Government made  reference to  chapters 26  and 33  of
Agenda 21  of the United Nations  Conference on  Environment and Development
and  stated  that  international  financial cooperation  should  be  used to
implement national programmes.  Brazil had  doubts about the attribution  of

annual themes for the  Decade as they could  hamper the development of long-
term programmes.

New Zealand

8.    The  Permanent Mission  of New  Zealand to  the United  Nations, in  a
communication dated 14 September 1995,  stated that it was  pleased with the
progress and  range of proposals made  towards the final  plan of action  in
strengthening  international  cooperation.   The  engagement  of  indigenous
peoples themselves  in the  planning was key.   New  Zealand emphasized  the
importance  of action  by United  Nations  agencies  and believed  that they
should devote  greater commitment and resources  to the  issues and problems
faced by indigenous  people. The Decade,  the Government  stated, is a  time
for  concretely  reinforcing  and  strengthening  programmes  agencies   may
already be running for indigenous people, as well as taking a  fresh look at
how indigenous  people's interests  can be  better reflected  in programming
and  budgeting.   New Zealand  supports  proposals  that agencies  report on
progress,  develop  research  and  data  about  indigenous  people's  living
conditions and establish focal points.  It  also supports the publication of
a suitably designed manual on their  operations and procedures to facilitate
activities in this area.

9.   New  Zealand  looks  forward to  working  regionally with  the  Western
Pacific  Regional  Committee   of  the  World  Health  Organization   (WHO).
Referring  to a suggestion  that regional  instruments to protect indigenous
people might  be developed, the Government  observed that  the primary focus
at the  current stage must  be the draft  United Nations  declaration on the
rights  of indigenous  peoples.  New Zealand  attaches particular importance
to  the establishment of an  indigenous people's unit  within the Centre for
Human Rights, so as to ensure that  an appropriately permanent structure and
adequate resources  are devoted to  these issues.   It  also supports  human
rights training  for indigenous people and  the establishment of  fellowship
programmes to enhance familiarity with the United Nations system.

10.  New  Zealand notes  that careful  thought is  being given  to the  most
effective  and  accountable way  to  administer  the  Decade  Trust Fund  to
encourage  contributions  from Governments  and  others.    So  far, it  has
donated  a seed contribution of $25,000.  New Zealand would welcome periodic
information reports  on disbursements from the  Fund.   Under the Principles
Guiding  New Zealand's Official Development  Assistance Programme, attention
is  given to  the way  the  use of  funds will  safeguard  the  interests of
vulnerable groups  and increase their capacity to contribute to development.
Where relevant, this can include indigenous groups.

11.  New Zealand stated that annual technical  meetings on the Decade should
not be considered necessary  as a matter of course.  All available resources
should be used  in primary issues of importance  to indigenous people.   The
Government noted that the Decade would be  part of the agenda of the Working
Group on Indigenous Populations.  The  Government expressed its support  for
the coordinating  work on  the Decade being  carried out by  the Centre  for
Human Rights and considered it  helpful if the final programme of activities
could clarify  the activities  for which  the Centre  would be  responsible.
New Zealand  attaches  particular value  to  appropriate  publicity for  the
Decade.    The  final programme  of  activities  should  encourage  national
governments  to involve indigenous people in Decade planning, activities and
national  policies affecting  them.  Governments can  be encouraged  to make
progress generally  on the implementation  of human  rights and ratification
of relevant human rights instruments, with  particular focus on areas  where
indigenous people are  most affected.  Finally,  New Zealand noted that  the
suggested  annual  themes  included a  focus  on  "selfgovernment and  self-
determination"  and hoped that  the programme  of action  would not pre-empt
the outcome of intergovernmental consideration of  the draft United  Nations
declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.
ANNEX I

Draft programme of activities for the International Decade of the

World's Indigenous People, as adopted by the Technical Meeting on
the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, Geneva,
20-22 July 1995


A.  Objectives

1.  Taking  into account General Assembly  resolution 48/163 of  21 December
1993,   the  main  objective   of  the   Decade  is   the  strengthening  of
international  cooperation for the  solution of problems faced by indigenous
people in such areas as human  rights, the environment, development, health,
culture and education.

2.    The  specialized agencies  of  the  United  Nations  system  and other
international and  national  agencies, as  well as  communities and  private
enterprises, should  devote special attention  to development activities  of
benefit to indigenous communities.

3.  A  major objective  of the  Decade is education  of indigenous and  non-
indigenous societies  concerning the situation,  cultures, languages, rights
and aspirations  of indigenous  people.   In particular,  efforts should  be
made  to  cooperate  with  the  United   Nations  Decade  for  Human  Rights
Education.

4.   An  objective of  the Decade  is the  promotion  and protection  of the
rights of  indigenous people,  and their  empowerment to  make choices  that
enable  them  to  retain their  cultural  identity  while  participating  in
national,  economic and social  life, with  full respect  for their cultural
values, languages, traditions and forms of social organization.

5.   An objective  of the  Decade is to  further the  implementation of  the
recommendations   pertaining   to  indigenous   people  of   all  high-level
international  conferences,  including  the  United  Nations  Conference  on
Environment and  Development,  the  World  Conference on  Human  Rights,  in
particular  its   recommendation  that   consideration  be   given  to   the
establishment  of a  permanent forum  for  indigenous  people in  the United
Nations  system, the United Nations Conference on Population and Development
and the  World Summit  for Social Development  as well as  all future  high-
level meetings.

6.   An objective of the Decade  is the adoption of the draft United Nations
declaration on the rights of indigenous  peoples and the further development
of  international  standards  as   well  as  national  legislation  for  the
protection  and  promotion  of  the  human   rights  of  indigenous  people,
including effective means of monitoring and guaranteeing those rights.

7.    The  objectives of  the  Decade  should  be  assessed  by quantifiable
outcomes that will improve  the lives of indigenous  people and that  can be
evaluated halfway through the Decade and at its end.


 B.  Activities of the major actors

1.  United Nations observances

8.  A  formal observance each year on  the International Day  of the World's
Indigenous People,  in New  York, Geneva  and  other offices  of the  United
Nations.

9.   Official  observance  of  the  Decade  as  part  of  the  Fourth  World
Conference on  Women, the  United  Nations Conference  on Human  Settlements
(Habitat  II) and other  international conferences  related to  the aims and
themes of the Decade.

10.   Issuance  of a special series  of stamps by the  United Nations Postal
Administration highlighting the goals and themes of the Decade.


2.  Activities of the Coordinator and the Centre for Human Rights

11.  Establish, as  a matter of urgency, an adequately staffed and resourced
indigenous people's unit.

12.    Request  Governments   to  second  qualified  indigenous  people,  in
consultation  with interested  national indigenous  organizations, to assist
in the administration of the International  Decade of the World's Indigenous
People.

13.   Create  a fellowship  programme,  in  collaboration with  the Advisory
Services  of  the  Centre  for  Human  Rights  and  Governments,  to  assist
indigenous people  wishing to gain experience  in the  different branches of
the  Centre for  Human Rights,  and in  other  parts  of the  United Nations
system.   Such fellowships  might be  available for  indigenous research and
other similar activities.

14.  Open  a roster  of indigenous  experts in various  fields who might  be
available  to  assist   United  Nations  agencies,  in  collaboration   with
Governments as appropriate, as partners or consultants.

15.    Create  an  advisory  group  of persons  with  relevant  knowledge of
indigenous  issues,  acting  in  their  personal  capacity,  to  advise  the
Coordinator for  the  Decade  and  United Nations  organizations,  at  their
request.    The  members  of  this  advisory  group  could  include  eminent
indigenous persons,  governmental representatives,  independent experts  and
officials of the specialized agencies.

16.    Consider the  need  to  hold  coordination  meetings of  Governments,
organizations  of  the  United  Nations  system  and   indigenous  and  non-
governmental organizations, as necessary, to consider, examine and  evaluate
Decade activities  and develop  an integrated,  action-oriented strategy  to
advance  the  interests of  indigenous  people.    The  Economic and  Social
Council  should  hold  mid-term  and  end-term  reviews  of  the  Decade  in
accordance with its resolution 1988/63 of 27 July  1988.  The Working  Group
on Indigenous Populations should review international activities  undertaken
during  the  Decade   and  receive  information   from  Governments  on  the
implementation of the goals of the Decade in their respective countries.

 17.  Compile, on  the basis of communications  of the focal  points in  the
United Nations  system, a  regular news-sheet  containing information  about
meetings of interest, major or innovatory  projects, new sources of funding,
policy developments and other news to be widely distributed.

18.  Encourage the development of  partnership projects in association  with
Governments  to  address  specific  regional  or  thematic  issues  bringing
together  Governments,  indigenous  people  and appropriate  United  Nations
agencies.

19.   Establish an  information programme  linking the  Coordinator to focal
points of  the United  Nations system,  national committees  for the  Decade
and,  through appropriate  channels,  indigenous networks;  also  develop  a
database  of indigenous  organizations and  other relevant  information,  in
cooperation with  indigenous people, Governments,  academic institutions and
other relevant bodies.

20.  Organize meetings  on relevant themes of  concern to indigenous  people
with indigenous participation.

21.  Launch a  series of publications on  indigenous issues to inform policy
makers, opinion-formers, students and other interested people.

22.    Develop, in  collaboration with  Governments, training  programmes on
human rights for  indigenous people,  including the preparation of  relevant
training materials, when possible in indigenous languages.

23.  Establish a  board of trustees or  advisory group, including indigenous
people,  to   assist  the  Coordinator  of   the  Voluntary   Fund  for  the
International Decade.

24.  Encourage the development of  projects and programmes, in collaboration
with  Governments, indigenous  people  and the  appropriate  United  Nations
agencies, for support by the Voluntary Fund for the Decade.

25.  Ensure, in coordination with Governments and indigenous  organizations,
the  necessary measures  to guarantee  financing  of  the objectives  of the
Decade.


3.  United Nations public information activities

26.   Produce  and  disseminate  a series  of  posters on  the Decade  using
designs by indigenous artists.

27.   Organize a  lecture series at  United Nations  information centres and
campuses  linked  to   the  United  Nations  University,  using   indigenous
speakers.

28.   Publish in  indigenous languages  the Universal  Declaration of  Human
Rights, international  human rights conventions  and, upon its adoption, the
United Nations  declaration on the rights  of indigenous  peoples.  Consider
the  use of  audiovisual  material for  this  purpose.   Consider  also  the
involvement  of indigenous  experts and  their own  information networks  to
disseminate information about the Decade.

 29.    Prepare,  in  collaboration  with   the  Centre  for  Human  Rights,
information about indigenous people for distribution to the general public.


4.  Operational activities of the United Nations system

30.    Establish focal  points  for  indigenous  issues  in all  appropriate
organizations of the United Nations system.

31.   Adopt programmes  of action for the Decade  in the governing bodies of
specialized agencies  of the United  Nations system  in their own  fields of
competence, in close cooperation with indigenous people.

32.  Urge Governments  to ensure that the programmes and budgets of relevant
intergovernmental  organizations   give  priority   and  devote   sufficient
resources for furthering the  aims of the  Decade, and request that  regular
reports on the action  taken be submitted to the governing body or executive
council of each organization.

33.    Prepare,  publish  and  disseminate  a  manual  containing  practical
information  for indigenous  people  on  the operations  and  procedures  of
United Nations agencies.

34.   Develop  research  on  the  socio-economic  conditions  of  indigenous
people,   in   collaboration  with   indigenous   organizations   and  other
appropriate partners,  with a view to publishing regular reports in order to
contribute to  the solution of problems  faced by  indigenous people, taking
into  account  paragraph 6.26  of  the  Programme  of Action  of  the United
Nations Conference on Population and Development. a/

35.    Encourage   Governments  to  establish  appropriate  mechanisms   and
practices  to ensure the  participation of  indigenous people  in the design
and implementation of national and regional programmes of concern to them.

36.    Hold regular  inter-agency consultations  with indigenous  people, in
collaboration with Governments,  to exchange views and develop strategies on
the programme of action for the Decade.

37.     Hold  consultations  with  Governments  to  examine,  with  national
committees and  development agencies,  possibilities of  cooperation in  the
activities of the Decade.

38.   Develop  training materials  for  indigenous  people on  human rights,
including  the  translation  of  the  main  international  instruments  into
different indigenous languages, and  give them wide  distribution.  Consider
the possibility  of  using radio  programmes  in  order  to gain  access  to
indigenous communities not having written languages.

39.   Prepare a  database on national  legislation on matters  of particular
relevance to indigenous people.

 40.  Hold  consultations of all interested parties  on the themes of  human
rights, development,  the environment,  health and  education, and  culture,
with a view to elaborating programmes in these areas.


5.  Activities of regional organizations

41.   Implement existing and  develop new regional  programmes of action  to
promote and support the objectives of the Decade.

42.   Hold regional  meetings on  indigenous issues  with existing  regional
organizations with  a view to  strengthening coordination, taking  advantage
of the machinery of  the United Nations system and promoting the direct  and
active  participation of  indigenous  people  of the  different  regions  in
collaboration  with   Governments.     The  Working   Group  on   Indigenous
Populations  could  consider  the  possibility of  holding  its  sessions in
conjunction with these meetings.

43.   Develop  training  courses  and technical  assistance  programmes  for
indigenous  people   in  areas  such   as  project  design  and  management,
environment,  health and  education.   Promote  the  exchange of  skills and
experiences of indigenous people from different regions.

44.   Make funds available  at the regional  level to activities  benefiting
indigenous people.

45.   Encourage regional organizations to  draw up  regional instruments for
the promotion and protection of indigenous people  in the framework of their
own structures, and promote existing regional instruments.


6.  Activities of Member States

46.  Establish national committees for the Decade  or similar mechanisms, to
include indigenous  people, all  relevant departments  and other  interested
parties  duly convened by  Governments, to  mobilize public  support for the
various activities connected with the Decade.

47.  Intensify coordination and communication  at the national level between
relevant  ministries,  agencies  and  regional  and  local  authorities   by
establishing  focal  points   or  other  mechanisms  for  coordination   and
dissemination of information.

48.  Use part of the resources of  existing programmes and of  international
assistance for activities of direct benefit  to indigenous people and, where
possible, provide additional funds for specific activities.

49.  Develop, in  collaboration with indigenous  communities, national plans
for the Decade, including main objectives  and targets, fixing  quantitative
outcomes  and  taking into  account  the  need  for  resources and  possible
sources of financing.

 50.  Provide adequate resources for indigenous institutions,  organizations

and communities to develop  their own plans  and actions according to  their
own priorities.

51.   Adopt measures,  in cooperation  with indigenous  people, to  increase
knowledge among the  non-indigenous population, starting at the  elementary-
school level,  concerning  the history,  traditions, culture  and rights  of
indigenous  people, with special  emphasis on  the education  of teachers at
all levels, and adopt measures to restore indigenous place names.

52.   Consider ratification  and implementation  of ILO  Convention 169  and
other international and  regional instruments in close consultation with the
indigenous organizations of each country.

53.   Legally recognize  the existence,  identity and  rights of  indigenous
people through  constitutional  reforms and  the  adoption  of new  laws  to
improve  their  legal status  and  guarantee  their  territorial,  economic,
social, cultural, political and civil rights.

54.  Implement chapter 26  of Agenda 21 of the  United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development  and the  relevant provisions of the  Convention
on Biological Diversity,  the Vienna  Declaration and  Programme of  Action,
the Programme  of Action of the  United Nations Conference on Population and
Development,  the  Programme  of  Action  of  the  World  Summit  for Social
Development  as  well  as  the  relevant  provisions  of  future  high-level
conferences.


7.  Activities of indigenous organizations

55.    Establish  an  information  network  which   can  be  linked  to  the
Coordinator  and  facilitate  communications   between  the  United  Nations
system, relevant governmental departments and indigenous communities.

56.  Indigenous  organizations and international indigenous networks  should
develop  information  for local  communities  concerning  the  goals of  the
Decade and the activities of the United Nations.

57.    Establish   and  support  indigenous  schools  and   university-level
institutions  and collaborate  with the  relevant United  Nations  agencies;
participate in the revision of  school texts and the  contents of programmes
of study  in  order to  eliminate  discriminatory  content and  promote  the
development of  indigenous cultures  and, where  appropriate, in  indigenous
languages  and  scripts;  develop  indigenous  curricula  for  schools   and
research institutions.

58.  Create documentation centres, archives  and in situ museums  concerning
indigenous people, their  cultures, laws, beliefs  and values, with material
that could  be used  to inform and  educate non-indigenous  people on  these
matters. Indigenous  people should participate  on a  preferential basis  in
the administration of these centres.

59.   Establish and  promote networks  of indigenous  journalists and launch
indigenous periodicals at the regional and international levels.
  60.   Indigenous people  may transmit  to Governments,  the United Nations
and  its specialized  agencies  and regional  organizations  the  programmes
concerning their priority rights.


8.  Activities of non-governmental organizations and other
     interested parties, including education establishments,
the media and business                           

61.  Cooperate with indigenous organizations,  communities and people in the
planning of activities for the Decade.

62.   Non-governmental organizations working  with indigenous people  should

involve indigenous people in their activities.

63.  Create radio  and television centres in  indigenous regions to  provide
information on  the  problems and  proposals  of  indigenous people  and  to
improve communications between indigenous communities.

64.   Promote  indigenous cultures  through  the  publication of  books, the
production of  compact discs, and the  organization of  various artistic and
cultural events which enhance knowledge of  and serve to develop  indigenous
cultures and establish indigenous cultural and documentation centres.

65.  Involve different  social and cultural groups in the activities planned
for the Decade.


Notes

  a/  Report of the International  Conference on Population and Development,
Cairo, 5-13 September 1994, chap. I, resolution 1, annex, chap. VI.D.
ANNEX II

Recommendations regarding the programme of activities of the
Decade of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at its
thirteenth session


171.    The Working  Group decided  to endorse  the programme  of activities
elaborated by the Technical Meeting.   It further recommended the  inclusion
in  the final  programme of  activities of  the Decade  of the holding  of a
world  conference on indigenous  peoples and  an expert  meeting on problems
arising  from nuclear testing  and dumping  on indigenous  lands, within the
framework of the Decade.

172.   The Working Group decided to  recommend that the members of the Board
of Trustees of the  Voluntary Fund for  the Decade  be appointed as soon  as
possible   to  consider   projects  submitted   by  indigenous   and   other
organizations during the International Decade.
ANNEX III

Proposed calendar of activities to be undertaken by the Coordinator
and the Centre for Human Rights for 1996 to 1999


1996

1.Regional workshops on health and indigenous people.

2.Expert meeting on health and indigenous people.

3.Publication of manual on the United Nations system and indigenous people.

4.Preliminary report  on socio-economic data  on indigenous people  compiled
by the United Nations system.


1997

1.Regional workshops on education and indigenous people.

2.Expert meeting on education and indigenous people.

3.Publication  of  book on  environment  and  sustainable  development:   an
indigenous perspective.

4.Preparation of training materials on human rights for indigenous people.

1998

1.Regional workshops on indigenous economic self-development.

2.Expert meeting on economic development and indigenous people.

3.Final  report  of  socio-economic  data  compiled  by  the United  Nations
system.

4.Publication  of training handbook for indigenous people on project design,
management and evaluation.


1999

1.Regional training workshops on human rights and indigenous people.

2.Expert meeting on human rights and indigenous people.

3.Publication on indigenous health:  concerns, approaches and perspectives.

4.Mid-term review of programme of activities of the Decade.


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