Excellencies, Distinguished Members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Distinguished Elders and representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, Ladies and gentlemen,
Five years ago, the United Nations took a historic step with the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This landmark achievement was the product of your hard work -- a unique partnership between indigenous peoples, Governments and many others working with and beyond the UN system.
And as we all know, our work is not done.
Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable members of our human family.
Their way of life is often under threat.
Yet, indigenous peoples possess great repositories of knowledge and experience in sustainably managing their environment.
As we look ahead to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, let us recommit to nurturing this invaluable heritage.
Let us work towards a successful World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014.
And let us strengthen our partnerships so that the rights enshrined in the Declaration become a reality in the daily lives of all indigenous peoples around the world.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with you to make this happen.