United Nations

A/51/493


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

14 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/493


General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 107


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

         Review of the existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes
            within the United Nations concerning indigenous people

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                               Paragraphs Page

   I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 16    3

  II.  PARTICIPATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE LEGISLATIVE
       BODIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM ..................    17 - 39    6

 III.  MEETINGS ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES ........................    40 - 56   10

  IV.  POLICY GUIDELINES AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES RELATED TO
       INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ....................................    57 - 85   14

   V.  PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS ..............................    86 - 107  19

  VI.  FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ................   108 - 117  25

 VII.  FUTURE ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE   118 - 121  27

VIII.  VIEWS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ...........................   122 - 152  29

  IX.  CONSIDERATION OF A PERMANENT FORUM FOR INDIGENOUS
       PEOPLE WITHIN THE UNITED NATIONS .....................   153 - 160  34

   X.  CONCLUSIONS ..........................................   161 - 166  37

                                    Annexes

 I.   Questionnaire on existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes
      within the United Nations concerning indigenous people ...........   39

II.   Questionnaire on indigenous peoples and United Nations agencies ..   41

III.  Joint indigenous statement made at the fourteenth session of the
      United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held at 
      Geneva from 29 July to 2 August 1996 .............................   43


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995,
recommended that the Secretary-General, drawing on the expertise of the
Commission on Human Rights, as well as the Commission for Sustainable
Development and other relevant bodies, undertake a review, in close
consultation with Governments and taking into account the views of indigenous
people, of the existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the
United Nations concerning indigenous people, and report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-first session.  The Assembly also recommended that the
Commission on Human Rights, drawing on the results of the review and the first
workshop on the possible establishment of a permanent forum, held at
Copenhagen in 1995, consider the convening of a second workshop on the
possible establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people.

2.   In its resolution 1996/41 of 19 April 1996, the Commission on Human
Rights decided to continue its consideration of a second workshop on the
possible establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people at its
fifty-third session.  It requested the Secretary General to have the review
completed and circulated to Governments, relevant intergovernmental
organizations and indigenous organizations for their comments well in advance
of the fifty-first session of the General Assembly.

3.   At its fifty-second session, the Commission on Human Rights also urged
the relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and financial
institutions responsible for the existing relevant mechanisms, procedures and
programmes to facilitate the review.  The Commission further requested that
the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at its fourteenth session give
priority consideration to the possible establishment of a permanent forum for
indigenous people within the United Nations and thereby contribute to the
ongoing review.

4.   At its fourteenth session, held at Geneva from 29 July to 2 August 1996,
the Working Group on Indigenous Populations discussed the proposed permanent
forum for indigenous people.  Under the same agenda item the Working Group
also discussed questions related to the existing mechanisms, procedures and
programmes within the United Nations concerning indigenous people.

5.   The Working Group emphasized the importance of the ongoing review and
expressed the hope that the relevant United Nations bodies and agencies would
facilitate the completion of the review by providing the necessary
information.  It also expressed its appreciation to the Government of Chile
for its offer to host the second workshop on the proposed permanent forum, at
the beginning of 1997.

6.   In its resolution 1996/35 of 29 August 1996, the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities requested the
Secretary-General, in preparing the review, to take into account the views and
opinions on the permanent forum expressed at the fourteenth session of the
Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the information received from
indigenous people and communities as well as from Governments.

7.   The Subcommission also recommended that the Centre for Human Rights,
drawing on the results of the Secretary-General's review of the June 1995
Copenhagen workshop on the possible establishment of a permanent forum for
indigenous people and in accordance with General Assembly resolution 50/157,
organize a second workshop on a permanent forum for indigenous people in early
1997.  In a statement to the fourteenth session of the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations, the Government of Chile offered to host the second
workshop.  The Subcommission welcomed the offer by Chile to host the workshop.

8.   The Subcommission also recommended that the permanent forum be
established in the early part of the International Decade of the World's
Indigenous People and that its mandate include questions relating to all
fields included in the programme of activities for the International Decade.

9.   In accordance with the request contained in resolution 50/157, the
Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights sent a note verbale to
Governments, inviting them to provide any information they considered relevant
for inclusion in the review.  As at 20 September 1996, replies had been
received from four Governments:  Bangladesh, Estonia, Latvia and Uruguay.

10.  The Government of Bangladesh, in a reply dated 9 July 1996, made
reference to General Assembly resolution 50/157 and Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/41 and expressed the view that the question of identifying
indigenous peoples, either through a focused but inclusive definition or by
setting broad criteria, was essential in the context of implementing the
resolutions.  Furthermore, the Government stated that without a common
language concerning the scope of application of envisaged action, the United
Nations ran the risk of failing to include genuine indigenous peoples and of
targeting non-indigenous peoples.

11.  The Government of Estonia, in a reply dated 5 August 1996, expressed
full support for the proposal that priority consideration should be given to
the possible establishment of a permanent forum.  It stated that the
experience of the Working Group on Indigenus Populations and the outcome of
expert seminars indicated that there was a need for such a forum for
indigenous people which could assure, inter alia, that the recommendations and
programmes of action of the United Nations conferences were put into effect.

12.  The Government of Latvia, in a reply dated 22 August 1996, provided
information about the Livs, an indigenous people living in that country.  The
Government of Uruguay, in a letter dated 20 June 1996, stated that it
supported Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/41 and offered to
collaborate in the implementation of the programme of action of the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

13.  On 5 June 1996, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights wrote
to United Nations organizations and specialized agencies and other relevant
United Nations departments and committees as well as interested
intergovernmental organizations, enclosing a questionnaire on existing
mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations concerning
indigenous people (see annex I to the present report).  More than 75 such
bodies were invited to provide information.  As at 20 September 1996, replies
from the following 23 United Nations organs and departments and
intergovernmental organizations had been received:  Committee on the Rights of
the Child, Department of Public Information, Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development, Department for Development Support
and Management Services, Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Non-governmental
Liaison Service, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health
Organization (WHO), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations International Drug Control
Programme (UNDCP), United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat),
Interim Secretariat of the Convention to Combat Desertification, Secretariat
of the Convention on Biological Diversity, International Labour Organization
(ILO), International Court of Justice (ICJ), the World Bank, International
Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

14.  The questionnaire formulated and sent to the United Nations organs,
programmes and agencies covered the following areas:  (a) indigenous
participation in the general or legislative bodies of the organization or
agencies; (b) specific meetings on indigenous issues; (c) research, policy
planning, or internal policy guidelines related to indigenous people;
(d) specific programmes or projects for indigenous people; and (e) future
activities in connection with indigenous people.

15.  On 5 June 1996, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights sent a
letter to indigenous and other relevant organizations, in which they were
invited to provide any relevant information for inclusion in the review.  As
at 20 September 1996, the following five indigenous or other organizations had
replied:  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Azachis - Zapoteca,
International Alliance for the Indigenous Tribal Peoples of the Tropical
Forest, International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs, Society of Pitcairn
Descendants (now renamed the Association of Norfolk Islanders).  The comments
and observations of indigenous and other organizations are referred to in
chapter VIII of the present report.

16.  The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Jose' Ayala Lasso, has
expressed his commitment to the protection and promotion of the rights of
indigenous peoples.  In his statement to the Working Group on Indigenous
Populations on 31 July 1996, he underlined the importance of the draft
declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the programme of
activities for the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.  In
particular, the High Commissioner expressed his support for the proposal to
establish a permanent forum and his hope that it could be achieved in the
short term.  In this connection and in the framework of the International
Decade, the High Commissioner has approved a number of initiatives to promote
information about the draft declaration, including a workshop in the Pacific
region and a planned training course on human rights in cooperation with
UNESCO in Ecuador and Peru.  He has also expressed his support for a second
workshop on the permanent forum.


          II.  PARTICIPATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE LEGISLATIVE
               BODIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM             

17.  Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations provides that the
Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation
with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are concerned with matters
within its competence.  Such arrangements may be made with international
organizations and, where appropriate, with national organizations after
consultation with the Member of the United Nations concerned.

18.  The arrangements made by the Economic and Social Council for
consultation with non-governmental organizations are set out in Council
resolution 1296 (XLIV) of 23 May 1968, revised in its resolution 1996/31 of
25 July 1996, which provides for certain principles to be applied in the
establishment of consultative relations, inter alia:

     (a) The organization shall be concerned with matters falling within the
competence of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies;

     (b) The aims and purposes of the organization shall be in conformity
with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of United Nations;

     (c) The organization shall undertake to support the work of the United
Nations and to promote knowledge of its principles and activities, in
accordance with its own aims and purposes and the nature and scope of its
competence and activities;

     (d) The organization shall be of recognized standing within the
particular field of its competence or of a representative character;

     (e) The organization shall have an established headquarters, with an
executive officer.

19.  In establishing consultative relations with non-governmental
organizations, the Economic and Social Council makes the following
distinctions:

     (a) Organizations in general consultative status, which can be granted
to organizations concerned with most of the activities of the Council and can
demonstrate to its satisfaction that they have made marked and sustained
contributions towards the objectives of the United Nations;

     (b) Organizations in special consultative status, which have special
competence in and are concerned specifically with only a few of the fields of
activity covered by the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies;

     (c) Organizations on the Roster, i.e., those which can make occasional
and useful contributions to the work of the Council or its subsidiary bodies. 
Organizations on the Roster may also include organizations in consultative
status or similar relationship with a specialized agency or a United Nations
body.

20.  Thirteen indigenous peoples' organizations have consultative status with
the Economic and Social Council, eight with special consultative status
category II and five on the Roster.  Five of the 13 organizations are located
in the United States of America, four in Canada, two in Australia, one in
Finland and one in Peru.  These organizations are the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Commission, Four Directions Council, Grand Council of the
Crees (of Quebec), Indian Council of South America, Indian Law Resource
Center, Indigenous World Association, International Indian Treaty Council,
International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development, Inuit
Circumpolar Conference, National Aboriginal and Islander Legal Services
Secretariat, National Indian Youth Council, Saami Council and World Council of
Indigenous Peoples.

21.  The International Labour Organization has a tripartite structure of
Governments, workers and employers.  The ILO indicates that the
representatives of indigenous and tribal peoples can participate in ILO
meetings in two ways:  (a) as representatives of Governments, or of workers'
and employers' organizations; and (b) as representatives of a non-governmental
organization on the ILO Special List of Non-Governmental International
Organizations (see para. 23).

22.  The ILO indicates that indigenous and tribal peoples have attended some
meetings as representatives of Governments, or of workers' and employers'
organizations, including the meetings leading to the adoption of ILO
Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
countries, 1989. 

23.  The International Labour Organization has since 1989 maintained the
Special List of Non-Governmental Organizations, containing names of
organizations admitted for representation at the International Labour
Conference and other ILO meetings.  Apart from employers' and workers'
international organizations and non-governmental organizations in full or
regional consultative status, the ILO has established a special list for
non-governmental organizations whose aims and activities are of interest to
the ILO.

24.  The criteria for admission of non-governmental organizations to the
ILO's Special List are that the aims and objectives of the organization
requesting admission should be in harmony with the spirit, aims and principles
of the ILO Constitution and the Declaration of Philadelphia.  The number of
years of existence of the organization, its international membership, the
nature of its international activities and its practical achievements
constitute some of the main criteria for admission to the Special List.  The
fact that a non-governmental organization already is in consultative status
with the Economic and Social Council or any of the specialized agencies of the
United Nations does not imply inclusion in the Special List of the ILO; each
application is judged in accordance with the ILO's criteria.

25.  Any non-governmental organization wishing to participate at the
International Labour Conference has to meet a number of conditions, which must
be verified by certain documents and information.  The organization should:

     (a) Demonstrate the international nature of its composition and
activities by proving that it is represented or has affiliates in a
considerable number of countries and that it is active in those countries;

     (b) Have aims and objectives that are in harmony with the spirit, aims
and principles of the ILO Constitution and the Declaration of Philadelphia;

     (c) Formally express a clearly defined interest, supported by its
statutes and by explicit reference to its own activities, in at least one of
the items on the agenda of the Conference session to which it requests to be
invited;

     (d) Submit its request, in writing, to the Director-General of the
International Labour Office at least one month before the opening of the
session of the Conference.

26.  Four indigenous peoples' organizations are on the International Labour
Organization's Special List of International Non-Governmental Organizations. 
Two of them are located in Canada, one in Finland and one in the United States
of America.  These organizations are Four Directions Council, Indigenous World
Association, Saami Council and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

27.  The Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development has
submitted information which indicates that indigenous people are one of the
nine major groups recognized in Agenda 21, and that their participation in the
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development is encouraged.  As the
Commission is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council,
participation of non-governmental actors at meetings of the Commission
requires consultative status with the Council.

28.  The Executive Board of UNICEF is composed of representatives of Member
States.  Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the
Economic and Social Council are permitted to attend the meetings of the
Executive Board as observers.  Only officials appointed by the States are
entitled to participate in the General Conference and the Executive Board
meetings of UNESCO.  However, indigenous people are free to participate as
observers in programme meetings taking place at UNESCO if they so wish,
though, no specific invitations are forwarded to indigenous organizations or
communities.  UNESCO indicates that numerous indigenous organizations are
already being informed that its regional offices are kept regularly updated
about meetings held at headquarters.

29.  The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements states that indigenous
people attend, participate or contribute to decision-making in Habitat through
the non-governmental organization with which they are involved.

30.  The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity refers
to the rules of procedure for meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention which permit observers from non-governmental organizations,
including indigenous organizations and communities, to attend, participate in
and contribute to meetings held under the Convention.

31.  According to those rules of procedure for the secretariat of the
Convention shall notify any body or agency, whether governmental or
non-governmental, qualified in fields relating to the conservation and
sustainable use of biological diversity, which has informed the secretariat of
its wish to be represented, of meetings of the Conference of the Parties or
its subsidiary bodies so that they may be represented as observers unless at
least one third of the parties present at the meeting object. 
Non-governmental observers at the Conference of the Parties may, upon
invitation of the President, participate without the right to vote in the
proceedings of any meeting in matters of direct concern to the body or agency
they represent unless at least one third of the Parties present at the meeting
object.

32.  Furthermore, the rules of procedure state that the scientific and
technical contribution of non-governmental organizations to the fulfilment of
the mandate of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological
Advice (SBSTTA) is strongly encouraged, in accordance with the relevant
provisions of the Convention and the rules of procedures for meetings of the
Conference of the Parties.  The Executive Secretary drew attention to the
first meeting of SBSTTA in which at least two indigenous organizations took
part, while at least five indigenous organizations attended the meeting of the
Conference of the Parties. 

33.  The formal meetings of the Executive Board of UNDP are public and
non-governmental organizations and individuals can participate as observers. 
Prior to the meeting, a representative of an NGO can be authorized to take the
floor and make a statement.  However, the Executive Board meetings are not
well known to NGOs officially accredited to the United Nations and there is no
pattern of indigenous participation.

34.  The Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child notes that
article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes specific
rights for indigenous children, within the overall framework for the
realization of the rights of the child.  The Committee has included in its
general guidelines regarding the form and content of initial reports issues
relating to indigenous children; the new set of guidelines for periodic
reports currently being drafted will also cover issues relevant to indigenous
children.  Furthermore, in the spirit of article 45 of the Convention, the
Committee cooperates fruitfully with many non-governmental organizations and
other competent bodies which may provide expert advice and submit
documentation.

35.  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Monetary Fund
and the International Court of Justice indicated that their activities did not
directly concern indigenous people.

36.  Finally, it may be noted that in recent years indigenous people have
been invited to make presentations at the highest levels of the United
Nations.  Thus, an indigenous representative was given the opportunity to
address the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held at
Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, the first time that an indigenous person had been
given such an opportunity.  Indigenous people from many regions also spoke at
the plenary of the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna 1993) and at a
special session of the General Assembly at the inaugurations of the
International Year and the International Decade of the World's Indigenous
People.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/157 invites all future
high-level conferences to observe the International Decade.
 
37.  Indigenous people are largely absent from the meetings of the
legislative bodies of the United Nations system.  In part this is because very
few indigenous organizations enjoy consultative status with the Economic and
Social Council, a prerequisite for participation in the majority of United
Nations public meetings.  As noted in the response of UNDP, NGOs generally are
not always aware of the existing opportunities nor perhaps are they in a
position for financial reasons to attend the meetings of the decision-making
bodies in the United Nations system.  As indigenous non-governmental
organizations are far fewer in number and often have less staff and financial
resources than non-indigenous NGOs, they are not necessarily in a position to
follow all relevant meetings. 

38.  Another factor which may be noted is the political, social and cultural
specificity of indigenous people themselves.  Traditionally, indigenous people
do not organize themselves in non-governmental structures, which is a
precondition for achieving consultative status.  In many countries, indigenous
people maintain flourishing governments or administrations of their own, often
pre-dating the Governments of the States in which they live.  It has been
stated by many indigenous people at the sessions of the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations that establishing non-governmental entities is
incompatible with their history of self-government.  This may explain the
reluctance of certain indigenous people to form non-governmental organizations
for the purposes of participating in United Nations meetings.

39.  Furthermore, there are sometimes practical difficulties for indigenous
organizations in complying with the United Nations provisions for consultative
status.  For example, although the aims and purposes of indigenous
organizations may be in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of
the Charter of the United Nations, they cannot always fulfil the United
Nations conditions for consultative status, such as having an established
headquarters with an executive officer, especially in regions where
communities are widely dispersed.


                      III.  MEETINGS ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES

40.  There are few regular scheduled meetings on indigenous issues in the
United Nations system.  As far as can be ascertained, the only established
meetings dealing exclusively with indigenous concerns are the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations and the open-ended inter-sessional Working Group of the
Commission on Human Rights to review the draft United Nations declaration on
the rights of indigenous peoples.

41.  The Working Group on Indigenous Populations established by the Economic
and Social Council in its resolution 1982/34 of 7 May 1982, is a subsidiary
body of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of
Minorities.  The Working Group is authorized to meet annually for up to five
working days to (a) review developments pertaining to the promotion and
protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous
populations; and (b) give special attention to the evolution of standards
concerning the rights of indigenous populations.  The Working Group has met
every year since 1982, except in 1986.  Indigenous people and their
organizations are entitled to attend and take the floor on issues on the
agenda, regardless of whether they have consultative status with the Economic
and Social Council.  The Working Group is attended by approximately 700 people
each year, of whom about half are representatives of indigenous nations,
peoples and communities.

42.  The open-ended inter-sessional Working Group of the Commission on Human
Rights was established by the Commission in its resolution 1995/32 of
3 March 1995 with the sole purpose of elaborating the draft United Nations
declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.  In accordance with a
procedure laid out in the aforementioned resolution, the Working Group is open
to organizations of indigenous people without consultative status in the
Economic and Social Council if they are approved by the Council Committee on
Non-Governmental Organizations.  As of 20 September 1996, 90 indigenous
organizations had been approved by the NGO Committee.  The first session of
the inter-sessional Working Group was held in November 1995.

43.  The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of
Minorities, the parent body of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations,
has a separate item on its agenda entitled "Discrimination against indigenous
peoples".  In 1996, the Commission on Human Rights decided to include on its
agenda a separate item entitled "Indigenous issues".  The General Assembly has
a separate agenda item entitled "International Decade of the World's
Indigenous People".  The only indigenous organizations that can attend these
meetings are those enjoying consultative status with the Economic and Social
Council.

44.  A number of ad hoc consultations with indigenous people are being
developed by other parts of the United Nations system.  The United Nations
Environment Programme/Global Environment Facility Coordination (UNEP/GEF) has
initiated consultations with indigenous and local communities on the ways and
means of implementing article 8 (j) of the United Nations Convention on
Biological Diversity.  UNEP/GEF held one formal meeting at Geneva from
29 to 31 May 1996 focusing on indigenous issues and will convene three
regional consultations during the latter part of 1996 to consider how to
implement article 8 (j) of the Convention.  Indigenous organizations without
consultative status may be invited to participate at those meetings by the
secretariat of UNEP/GEF. 

45.  According to the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development,
the Commission on Sustainable Development has never held a formal meeting
focused on indigenous people.  The Commission on Sustainable Development
covers issues related to indigenous people and the other nine major groups
under the programme "Role and contribution of major groups".  Since 1995, the
meetings of the Commission have included special events that focus on the role
of a particular major group.  So far special events have been organized on the
role of local authorities (1995), and youth, workers and business (1996). 
These special events are organized in collaboration with representatives from
the relevant major groups.  The representatives of the relevant major group
lead the process, with the Commission secretariat providing support and
guidance with help from interested United Nations agencies.

46.  The World Health Organization refers to its programme "Health of the
Indigenous Peoples Initiative in the Region of the Americas", in the meetings
of which indigenous representatives participate.  Indigenous involvement in
the decision-making process is considered to be an essential condition of the
Indigenous Peoples' Health Initiative for the region.  The organization's
purpose is to contribute effectively and efficiently to efforts by the
countries and peoples of the region to bring about an improvement in the
health of indigenous people.  This is accomplished through the identification,
mobilization and integration of appropriate resources, which are used to
activate, promote, support and develop consensus-based and collaborative
processes in the spirit of the Initiative.

47.  UNICEF states that it often organizes or supports activities that aim to
examine discrimination, racism and intolerance in order to facilitate better
understanding of such issues.  In July 1996, UNICEF sponsored an international
workshop in collaboration with the University of Victoria, Canada, on the
rights of indigenous children which focused on creating awareness among
indigenous people about the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The
workshop emphasized the rights of indigenous children to non-discrimination,
to their language, religion and culture pursuant to article 30 of the
Convention.  Participants included indigenous elders, youth and children,
representing First Nations of North America and Latin America, who were joined
by representatives of the Canadian Government, UNICEF, ILO and several
non-governmental organizations.

48.  ILO does not hold regular scheduled meetings specifically on issues
relevant to indigenous and tribal peoples.  Meetings are arranged on an ad hoc
basis as and when the need arises.  ILO participates in United Nations
meetings dealing with indigenous issues including the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations, the Commission on Human Rights and its Subcommission
on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.  Furthermore,
ILO takes part in the annual inter-agency consultations on indigenous issues
held at Geneva.

49.  ILO organizes ad hoc or special meetings in two ways:  (a) within the
framework of the ILO general meetings; and (b) within the framework of ILO
technical cooperation projects.  Ad hoc meetings which are organized within
the framework of the ILO general meetings are organized as and when required. 
The ILO Conference in 1986 decided that a revision of ILO Convention No. 107
on Indigenous and Tribal Populations was required in order to take into
account new developments relating to indigenous and tribal peoples, in
particular to examine the concept of integration, which was no longer a valid
development goal for indigenous and tribal peoples.  This was a result of
calls for such action from indigenous and tribal organizations, a number of
Governments, and other organizations in the United Nations system. 

50.  The process of revising Convention No. 107 resulted in the adoption of
ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
Countries of 1989.  This Convention is the most recent international
instrument relating to indigenous and tribal peoples.  During the drafting
process of Convention No. 169, consultations were held with the
representatives of indigenous and tribal peoples on a regular basis, and the
meetings were attended by a large number of representatives.  Their
participation was facilitated by the Working Group at the ILO Conference and
by the non-governmental organizations on the Special List.

51.  Similarly, there are no specific rules of procedure relating to ad hoc
or special meetings organized within the framework of ILO technical
cooperation projects.  The scope, frequency and subject of such meetings
depend on the project itself.  For instance, a project to promote the rights
of indigenous and tribal peoples which began in 1996 included special
briefings during the fourteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous
Populations to inform participants of the ILO's work in this field and its
relevant standard-setting activities, and to get input from indigenous and
tribal peoples.  Similar briefings will also be held during the fifteenth
session (1997) of the Working Group.  The ILO also reports that a number of
other ILO technical cooperation projects affect indigenous and tribal peoples
more or less directly, and meetings and discussions with project-affected
peoples are almost always a component of these activities.

52.  UNESCO states that meetings on indigenous issues are not being
systematically scheduled, although several consultations have been held since
1991, either at headquarters or within the member States.  Since the
proclamation of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People in
December 1994, UNESCO has organized and hosted meetings of indigenous people
in Paris.  Such meetings were held in February 1995 and June 1996.  The themes
of the meetings generally fall into UNESCO's specific fields of competence: 
culture, education, science and communication.  During the meetings indigenous
representatives are being invited by UNESCO to participate in the plenary
sessions as well as in working groups in order to submit recommendations to
the organization.  UNESCO also states that indigenous participants are being
invited either on the basis of their consultative status with the Economic and
Social Council or on the basis of regular contacts and working relations
between indigenous organizations and the organization's secretariat.

53.  The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) states that it
does not organize regular, scheduled meetings on indigenous issues. 
Indigenous people can attend and participate in meetings as well as be
involved in decision-making through Habitat International Coalition. 

54.  The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity notes
that the Convention does not hold regular meetings on indigenous issues.  As a
legally binding international instrument and not an agency or programme, the
primary purpose of meetings is to review the implementation of the Convention
and to assist parties with implementation.  Issues relating to indigenous
people, particular those relating to their knowledge, innovations and
practices, are addressed under the Convention and form part of the programme
of work of both the Conference of the Parties and the Subsidiary Body on
Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), which both meet
annually.

55.  UNFPA states that it supported the Continental Meeting on Indigenous
Women, held in August 1995 in Ecuador, which was convened by an Ecuadorian
indigenous peoples' organization.

56.  UNDP does not hold regular scheduled meetings on indigenous issues.  Ad
hoc or special meetings or consultations on indigenous issues are organized at
the request of indigenous peoples' organizations or representatives.


            IV.  POLICY GUIDELINES AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES RELATED TO 
                 INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

57.  The United Nations departments, organizations and specialized agencies
were invited to provide information about their internal policy guidelines and
research activities in relation to indigenous peoples.  This was deemed useful
in the light of General Assembly resolutions 48/163 of 21 December 1993,
49/214 of 23 December 1994 and 50/157 relating to the International Decade of
the World's Indigenous People, in which the goal of the Decade is identified
as strengthening international cooperation for the solution of problems faced
by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment,
development, education and health.  The General Assembly also adopts as the
theme of the Decade:  "Indigenous people:  partnership in action".  In this
respect the extent of involvement of indigenous people and their organizations
in the elaboration by the United Nations system of policy guidelines and
research activities may be borne in mind.

58.  Furthermore, in paragraph 34 of the annex to its resolution 50/157
containing the programming of activities for the Decade, the General Assembly
recommends that the United Nations system 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.

59.  In the human rights area, note may be taken of a number of research
activities in relation to indigenous peoples.  The Subcommission on Prevention
of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities undertook a pioneering study of
the problem of discrimination against indigenous populations between 1972 and
1983. 1/  The so-called Martinez Cobo report was based on written information
provided by Governments and indigenous peoples' organizations and through
visits to indigenous communities.  The conclusions and recommendations
continue to be used and referred to in the current activities of the United
Nations system.

60.  The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of
Minorities has two ongoing thematic studies on indigenous people:  the "Study
on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and
indigenous populations" and the "Study on the protection of the heritage of
indigenous people".

61.  In 1989, the Economic and Social Council appointed Subcommission Expert,
Mr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez, as Special Rapporteur for the study treaties,
agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous
populations.  A preliminary report, 2/ and three progress reports 3/ have been
submitted to the Subcommission to date and a final report is due to be
presented at its forty-ninth session in 1997.

62.  In 1992, the Economic and Social Council appointed Subcommission Expert
Ms. Erica-Irene A. Daes as Special Rapporteur with the mandate of undertaking
a study on the protection of the cultural and intellectual property of
indigenous people.  The study, entitled "Study on the protection of the
heritage of indigenous peoples", as well as principles and guidelines for the
protection of the heritage of indigenous people, were submitted to the
Subcommission in 1995.  A supplementary report on the protection of the
heritage of indigenous people was submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the
Subcommission at its forty-eighth session.  In its resolution 1996/31 of
29 August 1996, the Subcommission transmitted the principles and guidelines on
the protection of the heritage of indigenous people to the Commission on Human
Rights for its consideration.  In the course of preparation of both the
above-mentioned studies Governments, specialized agencies, indigenous people,
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations were invited to provide
information and suggestions.

63.  As a matter of practice the views and comments of indigenous people on
numerous questions of relevance have been requested by the Subcommission or
the Commission on Human Rights.  The responses have been incorporated into the
documentation made available for these bodies.  The Working Group on
Indigenous Populations has also accepted written information from indigenous
organizations which is available to the meeting as background documentation. 
At the present time, the Centre for Human Rights has a mailing list of over
400 indigenous organizations which receive relevant documentation at the
request of the legislative bodies.

64.  Reference may also be made to the working methods for the elaboration of
the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples adopted by the
Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  In order to ensure culturally
diverse and geographically broad participation in the drafting of the
declaration, the Working Group received written and oral comments and
suggestions from indigenous organizations regardless of their consultative
status with the Council.  As a result, the draft declaration was elaborated
with the involvement of hundreds of indigenous people, many of whom had no
previous experience of the United Nations.  Furthermore, in order to overcome
the often severe financial difficulties experienced by many indigenous
communities, the General Assembly established the Voluntary Fund for
Indigenous Populations, which provides travel grants and daily allowances to
representatives of indigenous people so that they can attend the Working
Group.  About 250 indigenous people have benefited from the Fund since it
began.

65.  The Working Group has become the principal international forum on
indigenous issues and as such offers a platform for proposals regarding United
Nations policy.  A number of initiatives subsequently taken up by the
legislative bodies, including the General Assembly, have been launched during
the Working Group.  The proposals to proclaim an International Year and later
an International Decade of the World's Indigenous People are examples of such
initiatives.  Indigenous people, through the Working Group, have also
generated research recommendations which have been taken up by the relevant
bodies of the United Nations.  A series of reports prepared by the former
United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations on the impact of
transnational corporations on the lands, environment and human rights of
indigenous peoples in North and South America, Africa and Asia were made at
the request of the Working Group. 4/

66.  The Centre for Human Rights has been requested to organize expert
seminars on themes of relevance to indigenous peoples.  The seminars provide
an opportunity for an exchange of views and practical experiences between
indigenous people, representatives of Governments and intergovernmental
organizations, and other experts.  They are often a valuable source of
research data on specific issues and contribute to the development of United
Nations policy.  Expert seminars have been held on the effects of racism and
racial discrimination on the social and economic relations between indigenous
peoples and States (Geneva, 1989), on schemes of internal self-government for
indigenous peoples (Nuuk, 1991), on practical experience in the realization of
sustainable and environmentally sound self-development of indigenous peoples
(Santiago, 1992), and on practical experiences regarding indigenous land
rights and claims (Whitehorse, 1996).

67.  As a matter of practice, the Centre for Human Rights has invited
indigenous people on the basis of their expertise on the question under
consideration.  By agreement of the participants, the two officers, the
Chairperson and the Rapporteur, are nominated from both the governmental and
indigenous experts present.  Thus, at the expert seminars in Geneva and
Santiago the rapporteurs were indigenous experts and at the seminars in Nuuk
and Whitehorse the Chairpersons were indigenous people.  Finally, where
possible, efforts have been made to provide interpretation in indigenous
languages in order to facilitate the participation of local indigenous
communities.  Interpretation was available in Greenlandic at the seminar in
Nuuk and in Mapudungen at the seminar in Santiago.

68.  ILO has pioneered research and policy guidelines on indigenous people in
the United Nations system.  Since 1926, ILO has been engaged in protection of
the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, arising from its work with bonded
labourers, many of whom were also indigenous and tribal people.  In 1953, it
published "Indigenous peoples:  living and working conditions of aboriginal
populations in independent countries", the first comprehensive study of
indigenous peoples by an international organization.  The Indigenous and
Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 107), the first international instrument
protecting the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, was adopted in 1957. 
ILO states that the fundamental principles of human dignity, freedom of
association and social justice are the basis of ILO policy in all matters,
including those affecting indigenous and tribal peoples.  The organization has
been actively working to improve the economic and social conditions of
indigenous and tribal peoples within the law and policy framework of ILO
instruments such as Conventions No. 107 of 1957 and the revised Indigenous and
Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) of 1989.

69.  ILO states that all of its activities, such as research, publications
and technical cooperation, are as a matter of policy oriented towards the
implementation of ILO standards.  This has the effect of ILO Conventions
themselves functioning as internal guidelines for all ILO activities.

70.  The World Bank adopted a policy on indigenous people in 1982 which was
designed to address issues pertaining to relatively isolated groups and
focused mainly on the protection of land rights and the provision of health
services, in particular in relation to indigenous people who were affected by
World Bank-financed projects.  In 1991, the World Bank issued a revised policy
which extends its own definition of indigenous people to include a much wider
array of groups that maintain cultural and social identities distinct from
those of the national societies where they live, have close attachments to
their ancestral lands, and are susceptible to being disadvantaged in the
development process.

71.  The World Bank issued its revised policy through the adoption of
operational directive OD 4.20 in September 1991.  The directive describes the
Bank's policies and processing procedures for projects that affect indigenous
people.  It sets out basic definitions, policy objectives, guidelines for the
design and implementation of project provisions or components for indigenous
people, and processing and documentation requirements.  The directive provides
policy guidance to ensure that indigenous people benefit from development
projects, and avoid or mitigate potentially adverse effects on indigenous
people caused by World Bank-assisted activities.  Since the release of
OD 4.20, several regional initiatives have been pursued by the Bank in order
to implement its policy pertaining to indigenous people.

72.  The World Bank states that the broad objective of its directive is to
ensure that the development process fosters full respect for the dignity,
human rights and cultural uniqueness of indigenous people.  Furthermore, the
Bank's policy is that the strategies for addressing the issues pertaining to
indigenous people must be based on the informed participation of the
indigenous people themselves.

73.  The World Bank notes that its research and sector work dealing with
indigenous people is growing.  A major focus of this work is in areas of
education and poverty alleviation.  The Bank is also involved in research and
sector work concerning indigenous people relating to popular participation,
management of natural resources and conservation of biological diversity.

74.  The United Nations Environment Programme reports that it recently
undertook a research project, the Global Biodiversity Assessment, with the
objective of reviewing the current state of knowledge regarding the main
issues of biodiversity.  In the process of evaluating biodiversity, the need
to address value systems other than Western technologies was identified. 
Consequently UNEP is now preparing a stand-alone volume of the Global
Biodiversity Assessment entitled "Human values of biodiversity", which will
focus on the traditional, religious and cultural values of biological
diversity.  A wide range of different traditional and religious groups from
all parts of the world are being contacted in order to obtain as wide as
possible range of statements and views.

75.  The United Nations Department of Public Information states that a focal
point for indigenous issues was established prior to the International Year of
the World's Indigenous People to coordinate and promote information activities
concerning the work of the United Nations in this area.  Located in the
Development and Human Rights Section of the Division for Promotion and Public
Services, the ongoing work of the focal point includes the production and
dissemination of print material such as brochures, backgrounders, fact sheets,
features or information kits on the Decade.  The Department of Public
Information also organized press conferences and briefings, seminars, round
tables and other activities to inform the media about the ongoing work.

76.  The Department's focal point on indigenous issues maintains regular
contact with indigenous groups through monthly meetings held in New York with
the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World's Indigenous People. 
Representatives of the Department also participate in annual sessions of the
Working Group on Indigenous Populations, this provides an opportunity to
maintain direct contact with indigenous representatives and to obtain
information which is more difficult to get otherwise.

77.  WHO states that its policy guidelines in terms of programmes designed to
reduce inequities in health and health care include indigenous people.
Collaborative programmes targeting indigenous groups have been achieving
consistently good results.

78.  UNICEF states that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is its
basic framework and guide for programmes, advocacy and policies.  UNICEF
expresses its commitment to ensuring respect for the rights of all children,
including indigenous children, without discrimination of any kind. 
Furthermore UNICEF, guided by the Convention, strives to establish children's
rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour
towards children.

79.  In 1993, UNESCO established a focal point unit within its culture sector
working on indigenous issues.  Indigenous people are among those being
considered as a priority for UNESCO's action since then.  The policy priority
is to earmark funds for action-oriented activities emanating from the
indigenous people concerned.  Special attention is given to activities which
aim at enhancing the capabilities of indigenous people.  UNESCO's efforts
through programme implementation are centred on the training of human
resources in fields of vital importance for their development, such as access
to mother-tongue education, revitalization of components of their cultural
heritage, development of traditional skills relating to the protection and use
of natural resources, promotion of crafts and encouraging systematic
mechanisms of dialogue with member States.  UNESCO's policy in the area of
indigenous issues is a long-term task based on regular and progressive
consultation with indigenous partners.

80.  The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
has issued guidelines on people-oriented planning, in which it is stressed
that in all planning it is essential to take account of those for whom the
services are intended, to involve the beneficiaries and to make use of the
resources already existing within the different communities.  These guidelines
are also applied in the planning of assistance and protection activities for
indigenous people.

81.  UNHCR makes reference to the case of Guatemala when it illustrates how
the organization deals with indigenous refugees.  The vast majority of the
refugees from Guatemala in Mexico were indigenous people.  UNHCR programmes
were designed to meet their specific needs.  For instance, UNHCR trained
indigenous persons as teachers so they could, in turn, teach the refugees in
their own language, and thus preserve their culture and identity in exile. 
When these refugees returned, the Government of Guatemala agreed to make land
available for them, and UNHCR supported their self-organization.

82.  The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has drafted a
policy document on the housing needs of indigenous people, focusing mainly on
land and basic services.  Furthermore, indigenous people are involved in
research and policy planning on issues of concern through links with
indigenous organizations.

83.  The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
states that the Convention is an international legal instrument, not an agency
or programme implementing body.  The Convention does not undertake any
activities with indigenous people.  However, the Convention Secretariat has,
on the instructions of the Conference of the Parties, called for submissions
on various matters from, inter alia, indigenous organizations as a
contribution to research and the preparation of policy recommendations for
consideration by the parties.

84.  UNDP has prepared guidelines for support to indigenous peoples in draft
form.  The guidelines are due to be revised and will be submitted to the
Executive Board towards the end of 1996.  Upon official adoption of the
guidelines, they will integrated into UNDP operational guidelines.  The
guidelines are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1986
Declaration on the Right to Development, the 1993 Vienna Declaration and ILO
Convention No. 169.

85.  UNDP notes that there is no formal mechanism for indigenous
participation in policy planning on issues of concern to it.  The extent to
which indigenous people are involved in UNDP-initiated research depends on the
context of specific programmes and projects.  In general, the sustainable
human development framework is based on local stakeholder participation at all
stages of the programme and project cycle.


V.  PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS

86.  In resolution 50/157, the General Assembly adopted a comprehensive
programme of activities for the Decade and recommended that the specialized
agencies of the United Nations system and other international and national
agencies devote special attention to development activities of benefit to
indigenous communities.  It also encouraged the governing bodies of
specialized agencies to adopt programmes of action for the International
Decade of the World's Indigenous People in their own fields of competence, in
close cooperation with indigenous people.  The Assembly also emphasized the
importance of consultation and cooperation with indigenous people in planning
and implementing the programme of activities for the International Decade.

87.  The International Labour Organization has a number of projects for
indigenous and tribal peoples including the following:

     (a) Project on the Promotion on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples.  This is a two-year technical cooperation project (1996-1997) aimed
at promoting the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples within the framework
of relevant ILO standards, in particular ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous
and Tribal Peoples, 1989.  The project is managed by two persons of indigenous
origin.  The project has two aims:  (i) to increase awareness of ILO's work in
the field of indigenous and tribal peoples rights, and (ii) to enable these
peoples to improve the promotion of their rights within the context of ILO
standards.  The major geographical areas of concentration will be South and
South-East Asia and southern Africa.  Activities envisaged include training
seminars and workshops, and the publication of issue papers, basic information
on the ILO and Convention No. 169, and other informational materials;

     (b) INDISCO programme (Inter-regional Programme to Support Self-Reliance
of Indigenous and Tribal Communities through Cooperatives and other Self-Help
Organizations).  INDISCO is specially developed to assist indigenous and
tribal peoples.  It currently has 17 pilot projects in Asia and Central
America.  In the context of these projects, it holds national, regional and
interregional technical consultation meetings on an annual basis, with the
representatives of the partner indigenous and tribal communities, local NGOs
and other development partners.  Within the framework of the INDISCO project,
the partner indigenous and tribal groups decide on planning and implementing
the projects.  As for research, usually indigenous and tribal researchers
participate in data collection, baseline surveys at the grassroots level.  At
the pilot project level, partner communities primarily decide on the work
plans, implementation arrangements, selection of staff and non-governmental
organizations, and the INDISCO Programme assists them to implement the
community-level projects;

     (c) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples:  Poverty Alleviation and
Democratization.  Geographically the project covers Guatemala and the
Philippines.  In Guatemala the major aim of the project is to train indigenous
organizations and support groups to enable them to participate meaningfully in
follow-up activities to the Agreement on Identity and Indigenous Rights signed
by the Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG)
in March 1995.  In the Philippines, the project seeks to stimulate a policy
dialogue between the Government, indigenous and tribal peoples and other
social groups on various issues, ranging from land and natural resource rights
to social policies and mechanisms for effective participation in governance
and decision-making;

     (d) Community-based Environmental Impact Assessment (CEIA):  Partnering
with Indigenous Peoples, Philippines.  This ILO project is a contribution to
the consolidation of indigenous and tribal peoples' territories.  This project
seeks to institutionalize a CEIA in support of local and national initiatives
affecting the lands and the well-being of their communities.  It aims to
encourage a shift from expert-owned and expert-driven environmental impact
assessments to more community-based and participatory environmental impact
assessment, which build upon indigenous and tribal peoples' traditional
methods and techniques;

     (e) Diagnosis of Condition of Indigenous Communities in the Peruvian
Amazon.  This is an action-oriented research programme on the socio-economic
profile and legal protection of the 63 indigenous groups inhabiting the
Peruvian Amazon.  The research seeks to identify and devise, in consultation
with the peoples concerned, the sources of social tensions and conflict in the
region and ways to overcome them.

88.  UNFPA supports two projects for indigenous people in Bolivia.  One
project covers activities for indigenous organizations, on gender and
reproductive health, and provides training on gender perspectives and
reproductive health to indigenous leaders from different regions.  The other
project in Bolivia is a population education project.  The aim is to develop a
culturally sensitive approach to sexuality to ensure that educational reform
is culturally sound.  UNFPA is also addressing the high incident of female
infanticide among tribal people in the Tamil Nadu area of India and family
welfare activities among the tribal population of Gujarat.

89.  WHO has a special programme targeting indigenous people and communities. 
The overall objective for WHO's Programme on Substance Abuse - Indigenous
Peoples and Substance Use Project is to promote the healthy development of
indigenous people and communities through the prevention and minimization of
individual, family and community problems related to psychoactive substances. 
Many indigenous communities are exposed to non-indigenous psychoactive
substances and new ways of using traditional substances.  Without any
tradition of such use, and with the traditional system of social control often
unable to tackle the introduction of new substances, many communities and
their cultures are under threat.

90.  In February 1995, the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Social
Welfare Strategies Related to the Prevention of the Abuse of Alcohol and Other
Licit Substances and Juvenile Delinquency Among Indigenous or Aboriginal
People recommended that WHO take an active role in responding to the problem
of substance use among indigenous people worldwide.  WHO is identified as the
most appropriate agency to provide technical assistance to Governments and
indigenous communities in the formulation and implementation of national and
local alcohol- and other drug-related strategic plans for indigenous people. 
Three indigenous professionals form the core group of the WHO Indigenous
Project Team.  It is envisaged that the Project Team will work within an
indigenous framework to develop processes and tools that will assist
indigenous communities in determining and managing issues relating to
psychoactive substances within their communities.  There is also a project
advisory group, composed of indigenous as well as non-indigenous individuals,
to provide comments and guidance on the relevant questions to the project.

91.  WHO refers to a joint indigenous health initiative between WHO and the
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) entitled "Health of the Indigenous
Peoples Initiative PAHO/WHO 1995-1998".  PAHO/WHO have adopted a plan of
action for promoting the initiative in the countries of the Western
hemisphere.  The Plan of Action is to be implemented in all countries of the
region, in cooperation with indigenous people, through PAHO/WHO country
offices working closely with ministries of health and indigenous
representatives.

92.  Since the release of its operational directive OD 4.20, the World Bank
has been pursuing several regional initiatives in order to implement its
policy on indigenous people.  In the Latin America and Caribbean region, a
number of recently prepared natural resource management projects contain
special Amerindian land components which take into account the legal and other
provisions in the Operational Directive.  In the Asia and Pacific regions,
much of the work has been focused on improving the performance of the World
Bank and its borrowers in the critical area of resettlement planning and in
incorporating the concerns of indigenous people into forestry management and
conservation projects.  In the African region, the focus has been on
generating greater awareness of the role indigenous people's knowledge systems
and institutions can play in the development process.  In the Middle East and
North Africa region, the focus is on natural resource management and rural
development planning in desert areas.  In Europe and the Central Asia region,
the projects inter alia focus on indigenous people affected by oil and other
extractive industry developments.

93.  The United Nations Environment Programme states that it is presently
developing a programme for the purpose of implementing article 8 (j) of the
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, with the full participation
of indigenous and local communities in the planning and subsequent
implementation and evaluation of any projects that are identified and funded.

94.  The United Nations Department of Public Information launches multi-media
information programmes on specific themes.  Information on the role of the
United Nations and its activities is also disseminated through radio and
television programmes.  These are produced regularly by national radio and
television stations around the world.  United Nations Radio recently produced
a four-part series on indigenous issues in English and Spanish, which was
distributed to 600 English-speaking and 500 Spanish-speaking radio stations
around the world.  The Department also states that United Nations Radio will
continue to produce programmes on indigenous people in various other
languages.  Furthermore, radio documentaries on indigenous people will be
produced throughout the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People,
as part of the regular 15 minute weekly radio series that the DPI produces in
15 languages.

95.  UNICEF states that, in accordance with article 32 of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, it supports a number of country-specific programmes
which address child labour.  These include programmes on education, health,
street children, national legislation and sexual exploitation of children. 
UNICEF also supports a broad range of country programmes which benefit
directly and indirectly indigenous children and women, such as PROANDES (Basic
Services Programme for the Andean Subregion), which covers five countries
(Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela).  In some of the countries
some basic services programmes are primarily directed at indigenous people.

96.  The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service, through its
information outreach (newsletter and other vehicles), regularly covers
information relating to indigenous people and their concerns.  Furthermore, on
many occasions it has funded indigenous participation in different World
Summits and other major United Nations conferences.  The Service also provides
briefing and orientation training sessions and materials to non-governmental
organizations and indigenous organizations attending United Nations meetings.

97.  The United Nations International Drug Control Programme states that some
of its projects benefit indigenous people, although the issue of indigenous
people is peripheral to its Programme.  UNDCP published a booklet on
Indigenous People and Drug Abuse on the occasion of the International Year of
the World's Indigenous People in 1993.

98.  The Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development states that the
secretariat of the Commission on Sustainable Development does not undertake
project implementation.  Its programme is based on Agenda 21, which includes
and emphasizes issues that are of importance to indigenous people.

99.  The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has some
indigenous projects, such as training workshops and other programmes aimed at
capacity-building.  Programmes which focus on capacity-building through
enabling indigenous people to use their own ideas and materials in the
construction of community dwellings are mentioned as an example.

100. UNESCO states that, within its Focal Point Unit for the Implementation
of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, a variety of
activities are being carried out pertaining to indigenous people.  A
cooperation agreement between UNESCO and the Fund for Development of
Indigenous People in Latin America and the Caribbean (La Paz) was signed at
the 149th session of UNESCO's Executive Board, with the view to reinforcing
inter-institutional partnership to support projects presented by indigenous
people at a regional level.

101. UNESCO also supported the establishment of an Indigenous Training
Institute in Belize benefiting from the indigenous North/South experience of
partnership between the Inuits of Canada and the Maya and Garifuna people. 
UNESCO, in collaboration with the National University of Colombia, launched in
1995 a project entitled "Los Baudosen~os", highlighting the value of cultural
diversity through the peaceful inter-ethnic cohabitation developed between
Afro-Colombian peasants and the indigenous Emberas.  UNESCO supported and
organized, together with the Association of Indigenous Writers in Mexico, the
first regional workshop of indigenous writers in Tlaxcala in December 1995,
with the aim of developing an interest in indigenous languages and consolidate
a regional network of indigenous writers and promote the preservation and
diffusion of traditional languages.

102. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Development Support and
Management Services refers to several ongoing projects and programmes related
to indigenous people which, inter alia, include the following:

     (a) Highland Integrated Rural Development Pilot Project (Lao People's
Democratic Republic).  The basic objective of the project is to contribute to
the progressive elimination of opium cultivation by the Hmong ethnic group in
a remote area through the introduction of sustainable social and economic
development processes;

     (b) Master Plan for the Development of Isolated Communities (Indonesia).
The aim of the project is to assist the Indonesian Government in drafting a
plan for the development of isolated communities which have mostly indigenous
people.  The plan will design the strategic framework for intervention in
favour of isolated communities by the public sector, civil society, and the
international community;

     (c) Policy Consultations on Sustainable Development (Papua New Guinea).
The project consisted of an inter-agency mission by the Department for
Development Support and Management Services, FAO, UNIDO, and UNESCO to provide
an integrated package of policy advice to the Government on:  (i) integrating
environment and development at all levels of the decision-making process;
(ii) an integrated approach to the management of renewable and non-renewable
natural resources; (iii) strengthening mechanisms for effective indigenous
people's participation in decision-making; (iv) capacity-building for
villages, communities, and grass-root non-governmental organizations.

103. UNDP identified numerous programmes and projects providing direct
support to indigenous people, including the following:

     (a) In April 1993, an informal consultation with indigenous
representatives on the protection and promotion of indigenous knowledge;

     (b) In Colombia, a project to assist in management capacity of
indigenous people and workshop on land tenure and natural resource management;

     (c) In Honduras, a project with indigenous groups to develop legal
instruments, technical resources and human capacities in ecologically fragile
areas;

     (d) In Nicaragua, support for the Inter-American Indigenous Congress;

     (e) In Guatemala, support for various indigenous projects and
self-diagnosis as basis for a national plan;

     (f) A regional programme in South-East Asia aimed at poverty reduction
and participation among highland peoples in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet
Nam;

     (g) Assistance to the Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity Network in
developing the Indigenous Knowledge Programme.

104. OECD states that while its Development Assistance Committee has not
conducted any special work on indigenous people in recent years, its
"Development cooperation guidelines on participatory development and good
governance" do focus attention on minorities and indigenous peoples, notably
in connection with human rights.  Committee members have agreed to contribute
through technical assistance to relevant institutions.  The Guidelines
encourage Committee members to ensure that aid projects have no adverse
effects on the human rights of local and indigenous populations and to assist
the ability of vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, to formulate
and organize their preferences and interests, claim their rights and obtain
redress for their grievances.

105. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) states that it is
concerned with indigenous people in its member States, although no specific
programmes are under way.

106. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human
Rights, in the framework of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous
People, is currently supporting a joint human rights training project with
UNESCO for indigenous people in Ecuador and Peru.  It has also established an
indigenous fellowship programme by which indigenous people can receive
training and practical experience in human rights at the Centre.  In September
1996, the Centre sponsored and contributed to the Indigenous Peoples of the
Pacific Workshop on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, held in Fiji.

107. Mention may also be made to the annual informal inter-agency
consultations on indigenous peoples of the United Nations system in which the
staff responsible for projects and programmes relating to indigenous peoples
meet to exchange information and improve cooperation.  The inter-agency
consultations have been held since 1991, at the Centre for Human Rights or the
International Labour Office.  The last consultation was held prior to the
fourteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.


                  VI.  FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

108. The information available indicates, that in general, funding for
indigenous programmes and projects or for other activities specifically
related to indigenous people is rarely available from the various United
Nations bodies.  However, there are two United Nations voluntary funds
administered by the Centre for Human Rights specifically designated for
indigenous people.  The Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations is a travel
fund established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 40/131 of 13 December
1985.  The initial purpose of the Fund was to provide financial assistance to
representatives of indigenous communities and organizations who wish to attend
the meetings of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  In its
resolution 50/156 of 21 December 1995, the General Assembly decided that the
Fund should also be used to assist indigenous representatives to participate
in the Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights established in
accordance with Commission resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995 to elaborate
further a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.  The
Voluntary Fund is administered by the Secretary-General, who is advised by a
Board of Trustees composed of five persons with relevant experience on
indigenous issues serving in their personal capacity.  The Members of the
Board are appointed by the Secretary-General for a three-year renewable term. 
Currently, four of the five members are indigenous persons.

109. In its resolution 48/163 of 21 December 1993, the General Assembly
authorized the Secretary-General to establish the Voluntary Fund for the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.  The Secretary-General
receives and administers voluntary contributions from Governments,
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, private institutions and
individuals for the purpose of funding projects and programmes during the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.  The objectives of the
Voluntary Fund for the Decade are to support the programme of activities
adopted by the General Assembly and to provide assistance to projects and
programmes advancing the goal of the Decade.  The Assistant Secretary-General
for Human Rights is appointed as Coordinator for the Decade.  In its
resolution 50/157, the General Assembly authorized the Centre for Human Rights
to create an advisory group of persons with relevant knowledge of indigenous
issues, acting in their personal capacity, to advise the Coordinator and
United Nations organizations, at their request.  The Advisory Group is now
composed of the members of the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for
Indigenous Populations and the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations, together with one representative from UNDP and
observers from some donor countries (at present Canada, Denmark and Japan).

110. The Advisory Group has identified six main project areas as targets for
the activities of the Voluntary Fund for the Decade:  (a) the programme of
activities and objectives of the Decade as well as the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action as they relate to indigenous people; (b) indigenous
organizational structures and procedures and their strengthening through
education, training and institution and capacity-building, bearing in mind the
need to respect their relevant traditions; (c) education and training in human
and indigenous rights; (d) information about indigenous people and the
International Decade; (e) communications and exchange between the United
Nations system and indigenous people and between indigenous people; and (f)
fund-raising initiatives in furtherance of the objectives of the Decade.

111. The Advisory Group has adopted the following criteria (guidelines) for
selection of projects:  (a) projects should be of direct benefit to indigenous
people; (b) projects should be prepared by or in full consultation with
indigenous people; (c) projects shall take into account gender balance;
(d) particular consideration will be given to projects from underdeveloped
areas in different regions; and (e) projects will be approved in relevant
areas including in particular those relating to the promotion, protection and
implementation of human and indigenous rights.

112. Funds are also available from the Global Environment Facility
Coordination (GEF), a joint international effort between UNDP, UNEP and the
World Bank, to help solve global environmental problems.  These are general
funds and are not earmarked for any specific group, including indigenous
people.  The GEF provides new and additional grants and funding to meet the
incremental costs of measures to achieve global environmental benefits in four
focal areas:  (a) the protection of biological diversity, (b) the reduction of
greenhouse gases, (c) the protection of international waters, and (d) the
protection of the ozone layer.  The incremental costs of activities concerning
land degradation, primarily desertification and deforestation, as they relate
to the four mentioned focal areas are also eligible for funding.

113. Funds are also available for indigenous communities and organizations
within the framework of the Global Environment Facility.  Coordination for
projects aiming to contribute to the implementation of article 8 (j) of the
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls upon each
contracting party to respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and
practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles
relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

114. The Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility
Coordination, administered by UNDP, provides grants directly to
non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and local
communities for projects within the GEF focal areas.

115. The Small Grants Programme of the World Bank, established in 1983 as
part of its participation in the International Year for the World's Indigenous
People, has since 1992 committed itself to supporting small initiatives on
development-related issues proposed by and of interest to indigenous
organizations, especially in developing countries.  The World Bank indicates
that it intends to continue to give priority to these types of activities
during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People and that it
will be actively soliciting proposals.

116. ILO states that the funds available for indigenous people are within the
framework of its technical cooperation projects.  The project on the rights of
indigenous and tribal people is funded by Danida.  The INDISCO programme is
funded by various donors, including Danida, the Netherlands Government, CIDA,
Agfund, the Rabobank Foundation, the United Nations Volunteers and UNDP. 
These funds are used to finance pilot projects' activities.  Each pilot
project has a revolving loan fund which receives, every year, regular
contributions from the INDISCO general allocation and directly from some
donors.

117. UNICEF states that some of its funds are specifically assigned to
working with indigenous communities.  In some countries, indigenous people
make up the majority of the population, meaning that UNICEF funds allocated
for that particular country are generally used for the benefit of indigenous
children.


         VII.  FUTURE ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

118. The programme of activities of the International Decade of the World's
Indigenous People focuses on activities to be undertaken by the major actors:
(a) the United Nations system (information as well as operational activities),
(b) regional organizations, (c) Member States, (d) indigenous organizations
and (e) non-governmental organizations and other interested parties, including
education establishments, the media and business.  The General Assembly
recommends, inter alia, that:

     (a) All appropriate organizations of the United Nations system should
establish focal points for indigenous issues; 

     (b) The governing bodies of specialized agencies of the United Nations
system should adopt programmes of action for the Decade in their own fields of
competence; 

     (c) The United Nations system should prepare, publish and disseminate a
manual containing practical information for indigenous people on its
operations and procedures;

     (d) The United Nations system should develop research on the
socio-economic conditions of indigenous people, in collaboration with
indigenous organizations and other appropriate partners, with the view to
publishing regular reports in order to contribute to the solution of problems
faced by indigenous people;

     (e) Inter-agency consultations should be held on a regular basis, in
order to exchange views and develop strategies on the programme of action for
the Decade;

     (f) Special attention should be given to improving the extent and
effectiveness of the participation of indigenous people in planning and
implementing the activities of the Decade, including through the recruitment,
where appropriate, of indigenous nationals of Member States;

     (g) The recommendations pertaining to indigenous people of all
high-level international conferences, including the World Conference on Human
Rights, in particular its recommendations that consideration be given to the
establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people within the United
Nations system, should be implemented.

119. Some of the recommendations contained in General Assembly resolution
50/157 and its annex are currently being implemented by the United Nations
system as part of its overall effort to enhance the involvement of indigenous
people in its work and strengthen specific programmes and projects.

120. The Centre for Human Rights has since 1992 included indigenous people
among its staff and as consultants where appropriate.  This continues to be
the practice.  Several United Nations organizations have also examined ways of
involving indigenous people on their staff.  ILO, although it does not have a
hiring policy regarding indigenous and tribal peoples, refers to the Project
to Promote Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Rights, which is staffed and run by
two indigenous and tribal persons.  Other ILO technical cooperation projects
also include indigenous and tribal persons within their staff and are
formulated, implemented and evaluated with the involvement of the people
affected.  WHO also notes that indigenous people are involved in the policy
planning and managerial process of its activities.  Habitat states that
indigenous people are not on the staff as a matter of policy; however, they
are involved in field work at the level of consultation.  It plans to involve
indigenous people in future activities through projects focusing on land
management and provision of basic services as well as those aimed at
implementing the Habitat Agenda as adopted by the Habitat II Conference,
particularly areas relating to the rights of indigenous people.  The
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has
approved the creation of the post of programme officer dealing with indigenous
knowledge in the Convention Secretariat.  Suitably qualified indigenous
candidates will be encouraged to apply.

121. As far as future activities are concerned, some United Nations
organizations indicated possible areas of action.  The Division for
Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development states that efforts are under way to
mobilize and catalyse indigenous organizations to prepare a special event for
the Commission on Sustainable Development.  The Secretariat of the Convention
on Biological Diversity indicates that future meetings of the organs of the
Convention are likely to dedicate considerable effort over the medium term to
consideration of those provisions of the Convention that concern indigenous
and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles.  The Convention
Secretariat draws attention to the fact that the Convention is the first
legally binding international agreement to provide for the equitable sharing
of the benefits arising from the utilization of the knowledge, innovations and
practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional
lifestyles.  UNDP has indicated that it plans to strengthen its focal point
and develop a programme for support to indigenous peoples.  The proposals are
due to be submitted to the UNDP Proposal Appraisal Committee.


                       VIII.  VIEWS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

122. As indicated in paragraph 15 of the present report, five responses were
received from indigenous organizations to the letter of the Assistant
Secretary-General for Human Rights concerning existing procedures, mechanisms
and programmes of the United Nations system.  In addition, the International
Alliance for the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest and the
International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), in cooperation
with the indigenous people attending the fourteenth session of the Working
Group on Indigenous Populations, submitted a report containing data based on a
questionnaire (see annex II) distributed to indigenous people on this
question.

123. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) indicated
in its reply that it supports the proposal to establish a permanent forum,
calling for such a forum to have a strong operational focus and a framework
for concerted implementation of indigenous rights.  It also supports the
maintenance of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations which, in its view,
should be used as a resource for United Nations agencies.  The Working Group
is valued since it has less formal accreditation requirements, a greater
practice of equality among the parties and a readiness to hear indigenous
groups without consultative status.  ATSIC also made recommendations about the
possible placement, membership and agenda of the proposed permanent forum.

124. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
refers to three issues.  He notes the shortcomings of the existing human
rights standards for indigenous people and stresses the importance of the
elaboration of the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples which
would contribute to the comprehensive protection of indigenous rights.  As far
as existing forums open to indigenous people are concerned, the Commissioner
observes that indigenous problems are of a unique and complex nature.  The
issues of concern to indigenous people are interrelated and inseparable and
cannot be addressed under an agenda item of a body dealing with a wide range
of human rights matters.  The Commissioner notes the efforts being made by
United Nations agencies to ensure that indigenous people are not excluded from
its activities but insists that their direct involvement in a wide range of
forums is necessary.

125. Azachis - Zapoteca states that the work of the United Nations is almost
completely unknown to its people; it also alleges that the organizations
benefiting from United Nations support are mainly those with no direct daily
contact with indigenous communities.

126. The Association of Norfolk Islanders observes that the activities of the
United Nations are not well known.  The organization also recognizes the
usefulness of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations but notes that there
is little time and latitude to raise issues of concern to indigenous peoples.

127. The study undertaken by the International Alliance of Indigenous and
Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest in cooperation with the International
Work Group on Indigenous Affairs was conducted during the fourteenth session
of the Working Group and included a questionnaire which elicited 73 written
responses, some individually and some on behalf of delegations.  More than 100
people were included in the survey.  The team also conducted 15 in-depth
interviews in order to get detailed views from participants about specific
United Nations agencies and their idea about future developments.  The survey
produced written and oral responses from individuals and delegations covering
well over half of the total 232 indigenous participants at the Working Group
session, reflecting their geographical diversity and a broad range of
experience of the United Nations system.

128. In view of the comprehensive nature of the aforementioned survey, it is
deemed useful to quote at length from its findings.  In examining the general
awareness of the United Nations system of indigenous people, the survey notes
that only 13 of the 73 indigenous people interviewed demonstrated knowledge of
all the 16 United Nations agencies mentioned in the questionnaire.  However,
almost everyone who answered the questionnaire knew of the Commission on Human
Rights, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, ILO, WHO and UNESCO.  The
conclusion drawn by the survey is that most United Nations agencies are not
effective at informing indigenous peoples about their existence, their work
and their activities concerning indigenous peoples.

129. The survey also looked at indigenous involvement in the activities of
the United Nations system.  A recurring problem identified in most of the
responses from indigenous participants is that indigenous people were rarely
approached by the United Nations or its agencies, but that they had to
investigate the system themselves and make initial contact.  Thus, most
indigenous awareness of the United Nations and its agencies is not, on the
whole, the result of specific work by the United Nations but the result of
initiatives by indigenous people themselves.

130. United Nations agencies were criticized for not consulting sufficiently
with indigenous people and creating poorly formulated action plans.  Several
references were made to the poor quality of staff members who are ignorant of,
or even hostile to, indigenous people.  Many indigenous participants
complained that the United Nations and its agencies did not try to reach out
to regions and indigenous local communities, which means that the majority of
indigenous people have little idea of what is taking place internationally.

131. Some indigenous participants expressed the view that, whereas some
information is available at most United Nations meetings, the preparation and
follow-up by United Nations agencies is poor.  Often reports are not
distributed to participants at meetings and they never hear of the results of
their deliberations.

132. The Working Group on Indigenous Populations was considered by the
majority of indigenous participants as a successful United Nations initiative.

Many indigenous participants also remarked on the significance of having
indigenous members on the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary
Fund for Indigenous Populations.

133. The survey also included detailed interviews in which observations were
made on specific United Nations agencies and bodies.  A summary of some of the
comments is contained in the following paragraphs.

134. Convention on Biological Diversity.  Respondents criticized the minimal
participation of indigenous people in the drafting of the Convention.  It was
also stated that increased indigenous participation in Convention-related
meetings was essential for the credibility of the Convention.

135. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Several respondents
had comments on the High Commissioner.  Whereas his presence at the meeting of
the Working Group on Indigenous Populations was viewed as positive, there was
concern that in his report to the Commission on Human Rights on the
restructuring of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights the question of
indigenous people was not included, even though the Working Group is the
largest meeting under the Commission.

136. Commission on Human Rights.  Most of the criticisms of the Commission
were directed at the participation procedure by which only non-governmental
organizations in consultation with the Economic and Social Council could
participate.  Some indigenous representatives expressed the view that their
interventions and attendance too often became symbolic activities and that the
meeting did not consider their complaints adequately.  The inclusion of a
separate indigenous item (entitled "Indigenous issues") in the agenda of the
Commission was welcomed.  Furthermore, the staff at the Centre for Human
Rights was said to respond regularly to and answer letters from indigenous
organizations, unlike several other United Nations agencies.

137. Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of
Minorities. The criticisms of the Subcommission were also mainly directed at
its participation procedure, which was seen as an obstacle for indigenous
organizations since consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
was required.

138. Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  The Working Group was strongly
supported for its participation procedures, which allow indigenous people,
organizations and communities to participate regardless of consultative status
with the Economic and Social Council.  The Working Group had been successfully
following up initiatives raised by indigenous peoples, such as the Treaty
Study, International Indigenous Day, the International Year (1993), the Decade
(1995-2004) and the permanent forum.  Furthermore, it was said that the
Working Group was aware of indigenous people's concerns, unlike several other
United Nations bodies and organs.  However, participants also felt that the
Working Group allowed Governments more time to speak than indigenous
participants.  Some people interviewed said that they found the Working Group
members intimidating and that indigenous people were too frequently cut off
during their speeches.

139. Inter-sessional open-ended Working Group of the Commission on Human
Rights. Many felt that the process of accreditation was demeaning, although in
practice a large number of indigenous organizations were able to attend the
first session of the Working Group.  Those who had attended commented on the
receptivity of the Chairperson-Rapporteur, Mr. Jose^ Urrutia (Peru), and saw
his continuing fair approach as a key to its success.

140. Commission on Sustainable Development.  It was remarked that
participation procedures at the Conference on Sustainable Development were
more flexible than at the Commission on Human Rights, and that indigenous
people could make presentations and lobby; however, there was still a lack of
information and dissemination of material, which was overly oriented to Agenda
21.

141. FAO.  Some expressed the view that FAO had a low appreciation of
indigenous issues and that indigenous questions were too often dissolved into
the concerns of farmers.  It was further observed that FAO, Governments and
non-governmental organizations did not understand the complementary nature of
indigenous and farmers' rights.

142. ILO.  Many indigenous representatives were of the opinion that
indigenous participation in the ILO structure could be improved.  For instance
many considered that the participation of indigenous people in the revision of
ILO Convention No. 107 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples had been inadequate. 
Several mentioned that the structure of the organization was very bureaucratic
and that it was extremely difficult to get cases heard at the Committee on
Standards.  While some said that ratification of Convention No. 169 on
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples was necessary in certain parts of the world,
others said Convention No. 169 was too weak on indigenous rights issues.  Many
also sought information on the applicability for indigenous people of other
ILO Conventions.  Some expressed the view that the INDISCO programme did not
take into account the wishes of the local people and that the programme agenda
was inflexible and imposed its own criteria too much.

143. UNDP.  Several indigenous participants commented that they had written
to UNDP several times without receiving any reply.  Some indigenous
representatives expressed concern about UNDP's support for mining activities
on indigenous lands, while others said that the organization was not
transparent enough.  Some indigenous participants said that the UNDP did not
work in developed countries, and that it was bypassing indigenous people
living in poverty in the North.

144. UNEP.  It was stated that indigenous communities found gaining access to
UNEP's Small Grant Programme difficult, inter alia, owing to lack of
information about the programme.  Some of the criticisms of UNEP were directed
at it because it was said not to be talking sufficiently to indigenous people
from the North.

145. UNESCO.  Some indigenous representatives said that UNESCO's programmes
relevant to indigenous people were little known among indigenous people. 
UNESCO was given credit for not approving the Human Genome Project.

146. UNHCR.  Whereas several indigenous representatives commented that the
UNHCR had helped them or people they had known as refugees, others said that
the UNHCR bureaucracy had ignored many indigenous refugees.

147. UNICEF.  Very few respondents were aware of UNICEF's work based on the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Some referred to UNICEF's programme
activities, and said that these were too often designed and implemented
according to government procedures rather than responding to local needs.

148. WHO.  Some indigenous representatives said that there had recently been
progress within the WHO system in favour of indigenous issues.  It was also
said that there has been an opening in certain international meetings where
indigenous medicine has been recognized as a significant factor in world
health.

149. WIPO.  WIPO was criticized by indigenous representatives.  It was said
that WIPO only appeared interested in the Eurocentric, Western framework of
intellectual property rights, where knowledge was treated as a commodity for
exchange.  The importance of protecting indigenous peoples' cultural property
was emphasized.

150. World Bank.  Some indigenous representatives said that the World Bank
occasionally encouraged indigenous people to come to some of its meetings, and
that the Bank has provided space for indigenous input into its Operational
Directive on Indigenous Peoples.  Most of the concerns of indigenous people
related to how World Bank projects affected indigenous people, inter alia, in
the hydro-electric, mining, thermal and migration sectors.

151. The specific comments mentioned above about the United Nations agencies
and bodies reinforce the general comments made by indigenous representatives. 
In spite of some positive experiences, indigenous representatives generally
experience a lack of information, of participation, of consultation and of
communication.  Indigenous representatives consider that the United Nations
institutions are closed entities dominated by Governments and unaccountable
experts while they feel that their local needs are not addressed.

152. Almost all of the responses to the questionnaire made suggestions as to
the way in which the United Nations system can improve indigenous people's
involvement in its activities:

     (a) Participation.  Indigenous representatives emphasize the need for a
better access for indigenous people to the United Nations system, so that they
can participate at all levels of the United Nations regardless of consultative
status with the Economic and Social Council.  Indigenous people want to be
fully consulted before agencies plan activities which concern them.  They also
state that they should be involved in decision-making processes.  It was also
suggested that indigenous people should be included in all meetings, policy
consultations and monitoring and implementation activities which affect them
and that more indigenous people should be employed within the United Nations,
following the positive example of ILO, the Centre for Human Rights and the
Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity;

     (b) Information.  It was said that the United Nations must make a
special effort to ensure that documentation and information reaches indigenous
people and the national societies;

     (c) Training.  It was suggested that the United Nations should
strengthen its activities to support the training and education of indigenous
people in their areas of competence;

     (d) Regional and local activities.  Indigenous representatives
emphasized the necessity of having regional and local indigenous
consultations;

     (e) Coordination.  There are several areas where it was suggested that
coordination could be improved:

     (i) Indigenous people's networks need to be strengthened.  This will
         facilitate indigenous processes for decision-making and empower
         their presence within the United Nations system.  Indigenous
         preparatory meetings were singled out as particularly important in
         the United Nations context;

    (ii) There is a great need for indigenous people and Governments to meet
         on a regular basis to have a dialogue on planning and implementation
         of United Nations activities and international provisions for
         indigenous people;

   (iii) There needs to be greater coordination between United Nations
         agencies and indigenous people.  This could take the form of regular
         meetings between indigenous representatives and the relevant
         agencies and by establishing indigenous desks in the respective
         agencies. Decentralized United Nations agency offices in each
         country were also mentioned as a possible way of improving the
         cooperation between United Nations agencies and indigenous people;
     
    (iv) Coordination between United Nations agencies was said to be the key
         element in any attempt to improve the situation in favour of
         indigenous people, in order to work out a coherent overall strategy
         for promoting the cause of indigenous people.  A focal point body
         within the United Nations, possibly a permanent forum, was suggested
         as a way for different agencies working with indigenous questions to
         coordinate their activities with Governments and indigenous people.


           IX.  CONSIDERATION OF A PERMANENT FORUM FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
                WITHIN THE UNITED NATIONS

153. At its fourteenth session, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations
considered the question concerning the establishment of a permanent forum for
indigenous people within the United Nations system, which is reflected in
paragraphs 109 to 121 of its report. 5/  In its resolution 1996/35 of
29 August 1996, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities requested the Secretary-General, in preparing his
review of existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes concerning indigenous
people, to take into account the views and opinions on the permanent forum
expressed at the fourteenth session of the Working Group and the information
received from indigenous people and communities, as well as from Governments. 
For this reason, it is considered useful to include a summary of the
discussions of the Working Group in the present report.

154. A number of Governments stated that they considered the establishment of
a permanent forum to be a high-priority issue and that the establishment of
the permanent forum should take place as soon as possible.  It was said that
the forum should have a broad mandate and that it should extend beyond a
narrow human rights focus to include issues such as economic, social,
cultural, political, civil, educational and developmental issues as well as
play a role in the coordination of all relevant United Nations activities.  It
was said that the forum should be placed at a high level within the United
Nations; some indicated that it should be at the level of the Economic and
Social Council.

155. The representatives of indigenous people attending the Indigenous
Peoples' Preparatory Meeting for the Working Group on Indigenous Populations
presented a joint statement on the question of the establishment of the
Permanent Forum (see annex III).  It states, inter alia, that the permanent
forum should not be a replacement for the Working Group on Indigenous
Populations and that it should be established at the highest level of the
United Nations, as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council or the
General Assembly.  Furthermore, that it is essential that indigenous people
have similar access to the forum as they have to the Working Group.  The
statement also focuses on the role of the specialized agencies, that they
should play an active part in the deliberations of the forum, and report to
the forum on their activities of special interest to indigenous people.

156. Indigenous representatives said that the permanent forum should be
established at the highest possible level within the United Nations system, at
the minimum as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council.  Some
indigenous representatives indicated that a future permanent forum could be
established as a functional commission.  It was also said that the forum could
be called the "United Nations Commission on the Status of Indigenous Peoples".

157. Governments as well as indigenous representatives were of the opinion
that the permanent forum should not duplicate the work of the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations.  It was also said that the Working Group should
continue its work and that the forum should not be seen as an alternative to
the Working Group.

158. Some indigenous representatives elaborated on the question of the
composition of the permanent forum.  It was emphasized that the forum should
consist of an equal number of members from Governments and indigenous people
on the basis of equal geographical distribution.  Some indigenous
representatives were of the opinion that independent experts could be
additional members of the forum.

159. Indigenous people as well as many Governments welcomed the initiative of
the Government of Chile to host the second workshop on the possible
establishment of a permanent forum in 1997.  The Secretary-General's review of
existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes and the planned second workshop
were identified as essential elements in the process pertaining to the
establishment of a permanent forum.

160. The research on indigenous perceptions of the United Nations system
carried out during the fourteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous
Populations shows that a majority of the respondents considered the
establishment of a permanent forum as an essential means for solving many of
the difficulties identified in the relationship between indigenous people and
the United Nations system.  Of those questioned, only two opposed the idea of
a forum because they were sceptical that it would work, while 15 wanted more
information before offering an opinion.  Many of the indigenous respondents
provided detailed ideas on the permanent forum, which could be classified
under several headings:

     (a) Position within the United Nations.  These indigenous respondents
want the forum placed as high as possible within the United Nations system. 
Opinions fell into two areas.  Some favoured placing the forum directly under
the General Assembly and an equal number considered a body under the Economic
and Social Council to be appropriate.  No one suggested placing the forum
lower than these levels;

     (b) Indigenous participation.  The respondents were of the opinion that
participation should be on the basis of open access for all indigenous people,
and that the organization of the forum should be based on the principle of
freedom of speech.  Those attending the forum should be clearly representative
of indigenous people and from all continents;

     (c) Structure.  The respondents identified two possible structures.  One
suggestion was as an independent agency similar to the United Nations Centre
against Apartheid.  Another suggestion was that of a "United Nations
Commission on the Status of Indigenous Peoples".  It was said that the forum
should consist of representatives of Governments, indigenous people and
specialized agencies and a smaller focal group of indigenous, governmental and
expert members. Several respondents felt that the focal group should not be
too big, and maybe not more than 12 members.  It was also said that the forum
might be centred in one place, such as Geneva or New York, but it must have
the means to provide regular regional meetings.  There was also a suggestion
that a "High Commissioner for Indigenous People" should be established;

     (d) Mandate.  Respondents emphasized that a forum should have a broad
mandate covering not only human rights questions, but sustainable development,
the environment, education, health, culture and any other matters pertaining
to indigenous people.  It would provide coordination between United Nations
agencies and bodies and information and access to them.  Furthermore, it was
said that the forum should monitor the implementation of international
instruments relating to indigenous people; and that it should carry out fact-
finding missions, organize expert meetings, make recommendations and decisions
as well as plan and instigate discussion on indigenous questions;

     (e) Funding.  Respondents were of the opinion that funding should come
from the ordinary United Nations budget;

     (f) Role of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  There was
concern from almost all the respondents that the permanent forum should not
jeopardize the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  They expressed
satisfaction with the work of the Working Group and emphasized that the forum
should not be seen as an alternative body.


                                X.  CONCLUSIONS

161. The generally positive response by organizations and departments of the
United Nations system to the request for information made by the Assistant
Secretary-General for Human Rights indicates a growing interest and concern
for indigenous issues.  It is clear also that the activities of some
intergovernmental organizations have more direct relevance to indigenous
people than others.  However, there is a noticeable difference in the level of
activity even among United Nations bodies whose mandates have a bearing on
indigenous people's concerns.

162. For practical and historical reasons, the United Nations Centre for
Human Rights and the International Labour Office have had greatest direct
contact with indigenous organizations.  In particular, the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations, established in 1982, has served as a principal entry
point into the United Nations as a whole for indigenous people.  It has also
developed a relatively open procedure for participation.  It is appreciated by
indigenous people for these reasons.

163. As will be recalled, the proposal to undertake a review of existing
mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations relating to
indigenous people was first made by the Workshop on a possible permanent forum
for indigenous people, held at Copenhagen in June 1995.  The context of that
recommendation was the sense that there was not sufficient information
available about the current activities of the United Nations system on this
question and that before a decision could be taken to further deepen the
discussions on a possible permanent forum, such a review should be completed.

164. What emerges from the review is both encouraging and troubling.  On the
positive side, it may be suggested that the efforts by the United Nations and
certain of its organs, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities and the Commission on Human Rights in particular, and
initiatives by the General Assembly itself, namely the decisions to proclaim
an International Year for the World's Indigenous People and now an
International Decade, have contributed to the generation of widespread public
interest in the issue of indigenous people, renewed national commitment to
improving the conditions of these peoples, and international initiatives to
support these activities.

165. On the other hand, there are apparent lacunae and inconsistencies within
the United Nations system on this issue.  For example, there are no
internationally accepted guidelines on the rights of indigenous peoples,
although ILO Convention No. 169 is used as reference by certain United Nations
bodies and is a framework for governmental policy in the 10 countries which
have ratified it to date.  The draft declaration currently being reviewed by
the Commission on Human Rights will become the universal standard only when it
is adopted by the General Assembly.  Only the World Bank has elaborated
operational guidelines on indigenous peoples.  Nonetheless, among the United
Nations agencies, as has been noted, there are wide divergences in approach
and level of involvement.  Note should also be taken of the declaration and
programmes of action of recent high-level conferences that indicate, sometimes
in detail, directions that could be taken by the international system and
Governments.  These high-level conferences include the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development and in particular its Agenda 21,
chapter 26, "Recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and
their communities", the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action; the
International Conference on Population and Development; the World Summit for
Social Development (Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action); the
Fourth World Conference on Women (Platform of Action and Beijing Declaration)
and Habitat II. More particularly, the different United Nations organizations
relate to indigenous people in quite distinct ways.  Some United Nations
meetings, even those dealing directly with indigenous matters, offer
relatively open participation, while others are almost completely closed off
to indigenous organizations.  Above all, there are virtually no mechanisms in
the United Nations organizations which give the nominated representative of
indigenous organizations or peoples an opportunity to provide expert advice or
take part in decision-making.  In most instances referred to in the report,
United Nations agencies select from their own list of indigenous organizations
or experts.  One of the few examples of indigenous involvement in
decision-making is the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous
Populations, in which indigenous people, acting in their individual capacity,
make recommendations on disbursements of funds.

166. The fact that there are now a number indigenous-related programmes and
projects being implemented and planned by United Nations agencies only
underlines the striking absence of a mechanism to ensure regular exchange of
information among the concerned and interested parties - Governments, the
United Nations system and indigenous people - on an ongoing basis. 
Furthermore, at a time of financial stringency, it might be prudent to
consider measures which help to avoid duplication and strengthen cooperation
and consistency of approach.  In particular, it might be seen as particularly
important, both from a human rights perspective and for cost-effectiveness to
establish procedures that help to avoid projects and programmes in indigenous
areas which are unwelcome by the supposed beneficiaries.  In this respect it
is fitting to recall the commitment of the General Assembly to the principle
of full and effective involvement of indigenous people in the planning,
implementation and evaluation of projects affecting them.  The information
provided by the United Nations agencies does not indicate that adequate
procedures are already in place to accommodate the General Assembly's
recommendation.


                                     Notes

     1/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1986/7 and Add.1-4.

     2/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/33.

     3/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/32, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/27 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/23.

     4/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/49, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/54 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/40.

     5/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21.


                                    ANNEX I

        Questionnaire on existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes
            within the United Nations concerning indigenous people


     The following questionnaire on existing mechanisms, procedures and
programmes within the United Nations concerning indigenous people was sent to
United Nations departments, organs, programmes and agencies as well as other
relevant intergovernmental organizations:

General meetings

     Are indigenous people able to attend, participate or contribute to
decision-making in any of the general or legislative bodies of your
organization?

     How can they participate, if they do so?

     How many actually participate?

Meetings on indigenous issues

     Does your organization hold regular scheduled meetings on indigenous
issues?

     How often are they held?  When?

     On what basis can indigenous representatives attend?  Can they
participate? Are they involved in the decision-making process in any way?

     How are indigenous people informed about these meetings?

     Does your organization hold any ad hoc or special meetings or
consultations on indigenous issues?  How often?  On what themes?  Are they
open to all indigenous representatives or a selected group?  How is the
selection made?

Research, policy planning, guidelines related to indigenous people

     Does your organization have any internal policy guidelines regarding its
activities with indigenous people? 

     What is the experience of your organization in implementing these policy
guidelines?

     How are indigenous people involved in research or policy planning on
issues concerning them?

     As a matter of hiring policy, are any indigenous people on the staff or
involved in indigenous matters as consultants?

Programmes and projects

     Does your organization have any specific programmes or projects for
indigenous people?

     How are indigenous people involved in the planning, implementation and
evaluation of such programmes or projects in the field?

     Are any special funds available for indigenous people and projects?  How
are the funds publicised?  How are they disbursed?  What role do indigenous
representatives have in the disbursement of these funds?

Future activities in connection with indigenous people

     What plans do you have for future involvement of indigenous people in
your activities?

     Do you have any other comments you wish to make?


                                   ANNEX II

        Questionnaire on indigenous peoples and United Nations agencies

     The following questionnaire was distributed to indigenous
representatives at the fourteenth session of the United Nations Working Group
on Indigenous Populations, held at Geneva from 29 July to 2 August 1996:

Agencies covered:

Commission on Human Rights

Commission on Sustainable Development

Convention on Biological Diversity

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Intersessional open-ended Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights

International Labour Organization (ILO)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

World Bank

Questions:

     Do you want to be identified for the purpose of this questionnaire, if
yes, how?

     1.  Have you heard of any of these agencies?

     2.  Have you had dealings with any of these agencies or do you know
anyone who has been involved with these organs?

     3.  What dealings did you have with them?

         (a)   General meetings

         (b)   Meetings on indigenous issues

         (c)   Research, policy planning and guidelines

         (d)   Programmes and projects

     4.  What were the results of these contacts?

     5.  How can the involvement of indigenous peoples in United Nations
         agencies be improved?

     6.  In the light of your experiences, what are your ideas about a
         permanent forum?

     7.  Have you previously attended the United Nations Working Group on
         Indigenous Populations?


                                   ANNEX III

         Joint indigenous statement made at the fourteenth session of the
         United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held at
                     Geneva from 29 July to 2 August 1996


     "Statement by the Indigenous Caucus which reached consensus at the
Indigenous Peoples' Preparatory Meeting on Saturday, 27 July 1996, at the
World Council of Churches.

     1.  In resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995, the General Assembly
reiterates the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous peoples to be
one of the main objectives of the Decade.  We welcome this commitment of the
General Assembly, and expect to see more concrete results on this issue after
the fifty-first session of the General Assembly.

     2.  The permanent forum should not be a replacement for the Working
Group on Indigenous Peoples.  This forum must have the necessary mandate and
resources to meet these obligations.

     3.  The permanent forum should be provided at the highest level of the
United Nations, either at the Economic and Social Council or the General
Assembly.

     4.  The United Nations process for indigenous peoples is cumbersome and
highly technical and currently operates to exclude indigenous peoples from the
United Nations.

     5.  The permanent forum should be an open access to indigenous nations
and peoples.  The Indigenous Caucus does not support exclusiveness and
inflexibility, but rather inclusiveness and flexibility similar to that which
obtains at the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples.  This should also apply to
any future workshops on the permanent forum that have been recommended in
document E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/5.

     6.  In conclusion, we emphasize that it is also crucial that specialized
agencies play an active part in the forum's deliberations, and that they
report to the forum on their activities of special interest to indigenous
peoples.


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