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About Major Groups : Indigenous Peoples

Special Day:
Special Day of Indigenous Peoples at CSD-8
New York, 24 April - 5 May 2000

Following is information about activities that focused on the role and contribution of Indigenous People to sustainable development during the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The “Day of Indigenous People” is not a particular day but consists of special events taking place during the two week meeting of the CSD, held from April 24th to May 5th 2000, in New York.

Panel I: Trade and Indigenous People

Wednesday 26 April 2000
7.15 - 9.00 pm, Conference Room 1
(Coinciding with the High Level Segment)

The panel focused on exploring the links between Indigenous People, trade and land rights. Questions addressed the TRIPs review, local food security and food production and their impact on Indigenous People rights and ability to save and reuse seeds and benefit from their knowledge.

Ms. Vicky Tauli Corpus, Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (the Philippines) moderated this Panel. Speakers were drawn from New Zealand, the Saami Council, the Masai people, the Amazonian Region, Guatemala, Russian Federation and addressed issues such as TRIPs/APEC, fisheries management and allocation, agriculture and food security, regional trade (Mercosur and Andean pact), oil and gas development, and forests.


Panel II: Lessons Learned from Innovative and meaningful participatory mechanisms

Monday 1st May 2000
6.15 - 7.45, Conference Room 1

The panel focused on participatory mechanisms that include Indigenous People in the making of sustainable development policies, by taking stock of achievements and obstacles encountered by indigenous people in their work for sustainable development. The panel presented lessons learned from innovative participatory processes and explored how these lessons make indigenous peoples’ participation in sustainable development more effective. Specific questions addressed included: how does governance relate to successful participatory models? How does participation affect land rights? How does participation work at the international level and how does it affect the intergovernmental processes? How can the work of the CSD benefit form these consultative mechanisms?

Ms. Carol Kalafatic, International Indian Treaty Council (US) moderateed this Panel. Speakers were drawn from the Arctic Council, Nigeria, the Philippines, Costa Rica, OAS, the Amerindian Peoples Association, and addressed regional experiences, the International/intergovernmental processes, the National Councils for Sustainable Development experiences.

Panel III: Traditional Knowledge

Tuesday 2 May 2000
1.15 - 2.45 pm, Conference Room 1

The panel focused on questions such as: What is the link with Article 8j of the Convention on Biodiversity?1/ Why is traditional knowledge important for sustainable development? Who are the decision makers and which are the conditions posed? What is the link between Indigenous People land rights and traditional knowledge? What is the relationship between traditional knowledge/ Intellectual property rights and TRIPs? How do Traditional knowledge and Multifunctionality of Traditional Agriculture relate?

Mr. Alejandro Argumedo, Indigenous Peoples’ Biodiversity Network (Peru) moderated this Panel. Speakers were drawn form Kenya, Ecuador, Thailand, Great Lakes Region, Nepal.

During the three Panels, speakers made 7 to 10 minutes presentations, leaving time for Question and Answer from the audience.

Learning Centre

The Learning Centre is a room made available throughout the CSD Session to promote sustainable development education by a range of actors including young people and students, NGOs, educators and governments). A dedicated area within the Learning Centre was allocated to material submitted by Indigenous People organizations, for display and/or distribution. Materials included: Videos, books, studies, brochures, newsletters and other materials that can help educate CSD participants about indigenous people and their views, contributions, concerns, proposals and perspectives on sustainable development. The videos were screened during a daily "Video Hour".

Organising Partners

The Day of Indigenous People at CSD8 was organized through a Steering Group composed of representatives of indigenous peoples’ network organizations as well as representatives of UNCHR-NY and CSD Secretariat.

  • International Indian Treaty Council
    Ms. Carol Kalafatic
    Email: iitcak(at)
    Tel: (212) 682 3633
  • International Indigenous Biodiversity Network
    Mr. Alejandro Argumedo
    Email: ipbn(at)
    Tel: (+51) 84 - 245 021
  • International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests
    Mr. Max Ooft
    Email: ooftmax(at) or ooftmax(at)
    Tel./ Fax (+597) 499 139
  • Inuit Circumpolar Conference
    Mr. Terry Fenge
    Email: tuktu(at) or iccenv2(at)
    Tel. (613) 563 2642
  • Asian Indigenous Women’s Network
    Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz
    Email: vco(at)
    Tel. (63) 74- 442 5347
  • UNCHR-NY Liaison Office
  • CSD Secretariat

(1) Article 8j: "Subject to its national legislation, 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 and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices").