Participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN

On 8 September 2017 the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/71/321 entitled Enhancing the Participation of Indigenous Peoples’ Representatives and Institutions in Meetings of Relevant United Nations Bodies on Issues Affecting Them.

This resolution is a result of a process that began with a commitment by Member States, during the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014, to consider the participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations. The process continues based on decisions made by the General Assembly its resolution A/RES/71/321.

A summary of the process can be found in the letter from the Advisers of the President of the General Assembly dated 11 September 2017.


President of the General Assembly Informal Interactive Hearing with Indigenous Peoples

On Tuesday 17 April, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber, the President of the General Assembly conducted the first of three (2018, 2019, 2020) informal interactive hearings on the enhanced participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations. This hearing was requested by the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/71/321 and was open to indigenous participants accredited to attend the 2018 session of the Permanent Forum.


Background

In the Outcome Document of the 2014 high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Members States committed to consider ways to enable the participation of indigenous peoples in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them.

Following up on this commitment, the General Assembly through a resolution requested to the President of the 70th session of the General Assembly (i) to conduct consultations with Member States, indigenous peoples, and existing relevant UN mechanisms on the possible measures to enable the participation of indigenous peoples at the UN; (ii) to prepare a compilation of the views presented during the consultations, including good practices within the UN regarding indigenous peoples’ participation, which will form the basis for a draft text to be finalized and adopted by the General Assembly during its seventy-first session.

The President of the 70th session of the General Assembly appointed two Advisors from Member States and two Advisors from indigenous peoples:

  • H.E. Mr. Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland
  • H.E. Mrs. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana,
  • Dr. Claire Winfield Ngamihi Charters of the Pacific Region
  • Dr. James Anaya of the North America Region

On 8 July 2016, the President of the 70th General Assembly circulated the compilation of the views expressed during the consultations, including concrete recommendations on the way forward, which were subsequently issued document A/70/990.

On 28 September 2016, the President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, reconfirmed the appointment of the Advisors to assist him with the consultation process.

Following the briefing of the PGA’s Advisers on the process of the participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN on 3 October 2016, the following indicative roadmap and approach to the consultation process was elaborated, taking into account the views of Member States and Indigenous Peoples representatives:

  • 14 and 15 December 2016
  • 30 January to 1 February 2017
  • 27 and 28 February 2017
  • The weeks of the Permanent Forum, Wednesday 26 April 2017, and Wednesday 3 May 2017 .

After these discussions a draft resolution would be finalized and adopted by the General Assembly as set out in General Assembly resolution A/RES70/232.

As a result of these consultations, the President of the General Assembly transmitted a letter containing the Draft Resolution on Enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them (10 August 2017)

For more information on the current consultations process, please refer to “Process under the PGA 71 – Sept 2016 – Sept 2017” below.