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20140127-conferencia-indigenasBy Dalí Angel (*)

The United Nations General Assembly is one of the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organs of the United Nations, composed of 193 Member States. The General Assembly has an ordinary session each year from September to December.

On 21 December 2010, the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/65/198 decided to organize a high-level plenary meeting in 2014, named World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which was agreed to be held on September 22 and 23 at the UN headquarters in New York City. The resolution mentions the extreme disadvantage typically found in indigenous peoples populations, which is reflected in a number of social and economic indicators, and by the barriers that prevent them from fully enjoying their rights. It resumes various indigenous peoples resolutions and the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (2005-2014), the first World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (2010), the Final Document of the 2005 World Summit and the outcome document of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, among others. The main objective of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is to exchange views and best practices on the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples, including compliance with the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Prior to the World Conference, indigenous peoples around the world (Africa, Pacific, Russia, Asia, Arctic, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean) and caucuses (Women and Youth) held regional meetings in order to identify main demands and issues that concern them, as well as to generate strategies and key recommendations in the fulfillment of the rights of indigenous peoples, including those enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Global Indigenous Youth Caucus’ Preparatory Meeting was held in Inari, Finland from 9 to 11 April 2013, which resulted in the Declaration of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014. Among the topics prioritized by the Indigenous Youth Caucus was the right to full and effective participation, understood as the to guarantee indigenous youth participation in decision-making processes that affect them; and that in planning, development and impartation stages, such processes include sufficient resources and spaces for their participation.

With regards to health, the importance of developing, implementing and evaluating, with the direct participation of Indigenous Youth, affirmative action programs on health issues for children and indigenous youth from an intercultural approach, based on best practices and indigenous peoples ancestral knowledge was also mentioned. With regards to violence, the importance of monitoring and protecting women, youth and indigenous children who are victims of state power, i.e. the military, police and other law enforcement authorities, was mentioned as well, including in-depth studies and data collection methods on the forms of violence by the authorities, as a method of accountability. Other issues that were mentioned in the declaration include Education, Governance, Identity, Livelihoods, Violence, Health, Lands and Traditional Territories.

The declaration of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, as well as the declarations of other regions of the world, are part of the inputs that were integrated to the Alta Final Declaration within the framework of the Indigenous Global Preparatory meeting that was held from 10 to 12 June 2013 in Alta, Norway.

To learn more about the Youth Caucus’ Declaration you can visit the following link:

(*) Mujeres Indígenas por Ciarena A.C.
San José Río Manzo, Municipio San Juan Lalana, Oax.
Red de jóvenes indígenas de Centroamérica y México
Alianza de Mujeres Indígenas de Centroamérica y México
Focal Point-Latin america- Global Indigenous Youth Caucus UN