United Nations

A/RES/49/214


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

23 December 1994

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                 A/RES/49/214
                                                 94th plenary meeting
                                                 23 December 1994
 
       49/214. International Decade of the World's Indigenous People
 
     The General Assembly,
 
     Bearing in mind that one of the purposes of the United Nations, as set
forth in the Charter, is the achievement of international cooperation in
solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or
humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex,
language or religion,
 
     Recognizing the value and diversity of the cultures and the forms of
social organization of the world's indigenous people,
 
     Recalling its resolution 48/163 of 21 December 1993, by which it
proclaimed the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People,
commencing on 10 December 1994,
 
     Conscious of the need to improve the economic, social and cultural
situation of the indigenous people, with full respect for their
distinctiveness and their own initiatives,
 
     Reaffirming that the goal of the Decade is to strengthen international
cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such
areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health,
 
     Recalling that, beginning in the first year of the Decade, one day of
every year shall be observed as the International Day of Indigenous People,
 
     Welcoming the recommendation of the Working Group on Indigenous
Populations of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights that the
International Day be observed every year on 9 August, that date being the
anniversary of the first day of the meeting of the Working Group in 1982,
 
     Also welcoming the appointment of the Assistant Secretary-General for
Human Rights as Coordinator for the Decade,
 
     Recognizing the importance of considering the establishment of a
permanent forum for indigenous people within the United Nations system in the
framework of the Decade, and recalling that the Commission on Human Rights, in
its resolution 1994/28 of 4 March 1994, requested the Working Group to give
priority consideration to the possible establishment of a permanent forum for
indigenous people,
 
     Recalling its request to the Coordinator to coordinate the programme of
activities for the Decade in full collaboration and consultation with
Governments, competent bodies, the International Labour Organization and other
specialized agencies, and indigenous and non-governmental organizations,
 
     Recalling also its request to specialized agencies, regional commissions
and other organizations of the United Nations system to consider with
Governments and in partnership with indigenous people how they can contribute
to the success of the Decade, and welcoming recommendations received in this
regard,
 
     Recognizing the importance of consultation and cooperation with
indigenous people in planning and implementing the programme of activities for
the Decade, the need for adequate financial support from the international
community, including support from within the United Nations and the
specialized agencies, and the need for adequate coordination and communication
channels,
 
     Recalling its invitation to indigenous organizations and other
non-governmental organizations to consider the contributions they can make to
the success of the Decade, with a view to presenting them to the Working Group
on Indigenous Populations,
 
     Taking note of Economic and Social Council decision 1992/255 of 20 July
1992, in which the Council requested United Nations bodies and specialized
agencies to ensure that all technical assistance financed or provided by them
was compatible with international instruments and standards applicable to
indigenous people, and encouraged efforts to promote coordination in this
field and greater participation of indigenous people in the planning and
implementation of projects affecting them,
 
     Convinced that the development of indigenous people within their
countries will contribute to the socio-economic, cultural and environmental
advancement of all the countries of the world,
 
     Recognizing that indigenous people can and should be able through
appropriate mechanisms to make their distinct contributions to humanity,
 
     Mindful of the relevant recommendations of the World Conference on Human
Rights, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the
International Conference on Population and Development, in particular chapter
26 of Agenda 21 on recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people
and their communities,
 
     Welcoming the proposal for an Indigenous Youth Cultural Olympics to be
held at Manila in 1995, in conjunction with the Decade and the fiftieth
anniversary of the United Nations,
 
     Determined to promote the enjoyment of the rights of indigenous people
and the full development of their distinct cultures and communities,
 
     1.  Takes note of the preliminary report of the Secretary-General of 28
September 1994 on a comprehensive programme of action for the International
Decade of the World's Indigenous People and the annexes to that report;
 
     2.  Decides to adopt the short-term programme of activities for 1995
contained in annex II to the report of the Secretary-General, and invites the
Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-first session, to consider the
short-term programme with a view to adjusting or supplementing it if required;
 
     3.  Invites Governments to submit written comments to the
Secretary-General, by the end of August 1995, on the preliminary report and
its annexes, with a view to the preparation of a final comprehensive programme
of action for the Decade, to be submitted by the Secretary-General to the
General Assembly at its fiftieth session;
 
     4.  Decides that the Decade will have an operational focus to implement
its goals and that its theme will be "Indigenous people:  partnership in
action"; 
 
     5.  Encourages the Commission on Human Rights to consider the draft
United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, contained in
the annex to resolution 1994/45 of 26 August 1994 of the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, with the
participation of representatives of indigenous people, on the basis of and in
accordance with appropriate procedures to be determined by the Commission,
with a view to achieving the adoption of a draft declaration by the General
Assembly within the Decade;
 
     6.  Recognizes the importance of considering the establishment of a
permanent forum for indigenous people within the United Nations during the
Decade, as recommended in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,
adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights at Vienna in June 1993, and
requests the Commission on Human Rights to make recommendations in this
regard;
 
     7.  Recognizes the importance of strengthening the human and
institutional capacity of indigenous people to develop their own solutions to
their problems, and for these purposes recommends that the United Nations
University consider the possibility of sponsoring, in each region, one or more
institutions of higher education as centres of excellence and the diffusion of
expertise, and invites the Commission on Human Rights to recommend appropriate
means of implementation;
 
     8.  Decides that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People
shall be observed every year during the Decade on 9 August, requests the
Secretary-General to support the observance of the Day, from within existing
budgetary resources, and encourages Governments to observe the Day at the
national level;
 
     9.  Expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by the Goodwill
Ambassador, Rigoberta Mench? Tum, and expresses the hope that she will
continue to play an important role in promoting the Decade;
 
     10. Recommends that special attention be given to improving the extent
and effectiveness of the participation of indigenous people in planning and
implementing the activities for the Decade, including through the recruitment,
where appropriate, by relevant United Nations bodies and specialized agencies
of staff from among indigenous nationals of Member States, consistent with
Article 101 of the Charter of the United Nations, within existing resources,
and through consultation with Governments at the national, regional and
international levels;
 
     11. Recommends for this purpose that a second technical meeting on the
planning of the Decade be convened immediately prior to the thirteenth session
of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, to be supported from within
existing budgetary resources, and urges Governments, United Nations bodies,
specialized agencies and, in particular, indigenous people's organizations to
participate actively in that meeting, in accordance with agreed procedures;
 
     12. Decides to consider at a later session the convening of meetings for
planning and review purposes at appropriate intervals during the Decade, and
urges Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and, in
particular, indigenous people's organizations to participate actively in such
meetings;
 
     13. Recommends that the Secretary-General:
 
     (a) Establish, during the first quarter of 1995, the Voluntary Fund for
the Decade and include that Fund in the annual Pledging Conference for
Development Activities held at United Nations Headquarters;
 
     (b) Request United Nations representatives in countries where there are
indigenous people to promote, through the appropriate channels, greater
participation of indigenous people in the planning and implementation of
projects affecting them;
 
     (c) Urge relevant United Nations conferences convened during the Decade
to promote and facilitate to the extent possible, and as appropriate, the
effective input of the views of indigenous people;
 
     (d) Ensure that information about the programme of activities for the
Decade and opportunities for indigenous people to participate in those
activities is disseminated in all countries and to the greatest possible
extent in indigenous languages, to be financed from within existing budgetary
resources;
 
     (e) Report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session on progress
made at the national, regional and international levels in accomplishing these
objectives;
 
     14. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to
take into account the special concerns of indigenous people and the goals of
the Decade in the fulfilment of his functions;
 
     15. Requests the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, bearing in
mind the contribution that indigenous people have the capacity to make, to
establish a unit within the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat to
support its activities related to indigenous people, in particular to plan,
coordinate and implement activities for the Decade;
 
     16. Invites the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights to consider
the appointment of a fund-raiser who could develop new sources of funding for
the Decade;
 
     17. Requests the Administrative Committee on Coordination, through its
inter- agency process, to consult and coordinate on the Decade, with a view to
assisting the Coordinator of the Decade to fulfil his function, and to report
on activities of the United Nations system in relation to the Decade to the
General Assembly in each year of the Decade;
 
     18. Invites United Nations financial and development institutions,
operational programmes and specialized agencies, in accordance with the
existing procedures of their governing bodies:
 
     (a) To give increased priority and resources to improving the conditions
of indigenous people, with particular emphasis on the needs of those people in
developing countries, including by the preparation of specific programmes of
action for the implementation of the goals of the Decade, within their areas
of competence;
 
     (b) To launch special projects, through appropriate channels and in
collaboration with indigenous people, for strengthening their community-level
initiatives, and to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise among
indigenous people and other relevant experts;
 
     (c) To designate focal points for coordination with the Centre for Human
Rights of activities related to the Decade;
 
     19. Encourages Governments to support the Decade by:
 
     (a) Contributing to the United Nations Trust Fund for the Decade;
 
     (b) Preparing relevant programmes, plans and reports in relation to the
Decade, in consultation with indigenous people;
 
     (c) Seeking means, in consultation with indigenous people, of giving
indigenous people greater responsibility for their own affairs and an
effective voice in decisions on matters which affect them;
 
     (d) Establishing national committees or other mechanisms involving
indigenous people to ensure that the objectives and activities of the Decade
are planned and implemented on the basis of full partnership with indigenous
people;
 
     20. Also encourages Governments to consider contributing, as appropriate,
to the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the
Caribbean, in support of the achievement of the goals of the Decade;
 
     21. Appeals to Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations to support the Decade by identifying resources for activities
designed to implement the goals of the Decade, in cooperation with indigenous
people;
 
     22. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fiftieth session
the item entitled "Programme of activities of the International Decade of the
World's Indigenous People".