United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the launch of a plan to realize the full rights of indigenous peoples who are increasingly being drawn into conflicts over their lands and resources.

“I am pleased to send greetings to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,” Mr. Ban said via video message at the opening of the forum’s 15th session, held in the UN General Assembly Hall in New York. “I welcome your focus on conflict, peace and resolution.”

More than 1,000 indigenous participants from all regions of the world are expected to attend the annual two-week Forum, this year held from 9 to 20 May. The issues of peace and conflict, often relating to indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources, and to their rights and distinct identities, will be at the forefront of this year’s discussions.

“Lasting peace requires that indigenous peoples have access to cultural, social and economic justice,” the UN chief highlighted. “The 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples called on the United Nations to ensure a coherent approach. In response, we have developed a System-Wide Action Plan, which we will launch today,” he said.

Noting that it is essential for the global community work as one to realize the full rights of indigenous peoples, Mr. Ban commended the President of the General Assembly for beginning consultations on the further participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations.

“Member States are beginning implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendia Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on climate change,” the Secretary-General underlined. “We must ensure that indigenous peoples, including women, participate and benefit.”

Following a ceremonial welcome by the traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, Todadaho Sid Hill, today’s opening session of the Forum is also set to feature remarks from Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and the Vice-President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Sven Jürgenson.

Via UN News Centre