United Nations

A/51/565


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

29 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/565
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 107


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

                Status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for
                            Indigenous Populations

                        Report of the Secretary General


1.   The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations was
established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 40/131 of
13 December 1985, with the purpose of providing financial assistance
to representatives of indigenous communities and organizations who
wish to participate in the deliberations of the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations.  The Working Group, which was established
pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1982/34 of
7 May 1982, is a subsidiary organ of the Subcommission on Prevention
of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and meets annually at
Geneva.  The Group has a twofold mandate:  to review developments
pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights and
fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and to evolve international
standards concerning indigenous rights.  The reports on the Working
Group's thirteenth and fourteenth sessions are issued as documents
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/24 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21.

2.   In its resolution 50/156 of 21 December 1995, the General Assembly
decided that the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous
Populations should also be used to assist representatives of
indigenous communities and organizations authorized to participate in
the deliberations of the open-ended inter-sessional Working Group
established in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution
1995/32 of 3 March 1995.  This Working Group has the sole purpose of
elaborating a draft declaration, considering the draft contained in
the annex to resolution 1994/45 of 26 August 1994 of the Subcommission
on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, entitled
"draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples"
for consideration and adoption by the General Assembly within the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The report on
the first session of the Working Group is issued as document
E/CN.4/1996/84.

3.   The Voluntary Fund is administered by the Secretary-General in
accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United
Nations and other provisions relevant to this Fund. 1/  In this task,
the Secretary-General is advised by a Board of Trustees composed of
five persons with relevant experience on indigenous issues and serving
in their personal capacity.  The members of the Board are appointed by
the Secretary-General for a three-year term, renewable in consultation
with the Chairman of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities.  At least one of the members of the
Board of Trustees shall be a representative of a widely recognized
organization of indigenous peoples.  The report on the first session
of the Board of Trustees was presented to the General Assembly at its
forty-third session, in 1988 (A/42/706).

4.   The Board of Trustees held its eighth session from 24 to
28 April 1995, and its ninth session from 22 to 26 April 1996.  During
both its eighth and ninth sessions, the Board was composed of
Mr. Leif Dunfjeld (Norway), Mr. William Ole Ntimama (Kenya),
Ms. Lois O'Donoghue (Australia), Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
(Philippines) and Mr. Augusto Willemsen-Di'az (Guatemala), who has
served as the Board's Chairman at all of its nine sessions.

5.   The General Assembly, in its resolution 40/131, laid down certain
criteria that beneficiaries of assistance from the Fund must meet. 
The Board of Trustees has developed more detailed elements for
selection criteria, and these criteria are reflected in a
questionnaire sent out with letters informing indigenous peoples about
activities of the Voluntary Fund prior to the meeting of the Board.

6.   In its resolution 40/131, the General Assembly foresaw funding by
means of voluntary contributions from Governments, non-governmental
organizations and other private or public entities.  Between
1 May 1994 and 21 April 1996, in response to requests issued by the
Secretary-General, contributions had been received from the following
Governments:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Donor                  Amount in United States Dollars           Date
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canada                           10 948.91                   6 November 1995

Greece                            5 000.00                  17 May 1994
                                  6 000.00                   4 April 1995

Japan                            20 000.00                  28 October 1994

Netherlands                      37 831.86                   6 November 1995

New Zealand                      19 952.63                  12 June 1995
                                 16 680.00                  12 June 1995

Norway                           76 518.42                  14 November 1994
                                 73 331.76                  12 December 1994

Saint Lucia                         300.00                   1 June 1994
------------------------------------------------------------------------------


7.   In addition, during the same period, contributions were received
from the following non-governmental sources:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Donor                  Amount in United States dollars           Date
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander                  22 033.65                   4 November 1994
Commission                       14 378.00                  14 July 1995

J. Walker                           100.00                   1 March 1995
                                    148.39                  10 March 1995

Mashantucket Pequot               1 000.00                   7 February 1995

Shimin Gaikou Centre              1 500.00                  17 May 1994
                                  1 500.00                   4 April 1995
                                  1 500.00                  14 March 1995
------------------------------------------------------------------------------


8.   At its eighth and ninth sessions, the Board examined requests for
financial assistance for 91 and 171 indigenous representatives,
respectively.  In the light of the funds available, it recommended at
its eighth session the awarding of 53 travel and subsistence grants. 
The 53 beneficiaries came from 31 countries.  At its ninth session, it
recommended the awarding of 22 travel and subsistence grants for
representatives to attend the fourteenth session of the Working Group
on Indigenous Populations.  The beneficiaries came from 17 countries. 
In addition, the Board recommended the awarding of four travel and
subsistence grants for representatives to attend the second session of
the Working Group established in accordance with Commission on Human
Rights resolution 1995/32.  The beneficiaries came from four
countries.

9.   The tenth session of the Board of Trustees is scheduled to be held
from 21 to 25 April 1997.


                                     Notes

     1/  See E/CN.4/Sub.2/1983/20.


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