12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

5/28/2013 // This statement was delivered by Monika Thowsen, Senior Adviser at Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the twelfth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Mr. Chairperson,

We are now at an important juncture in the process leading up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014.

The world conference will be held at the opening of the 69th UN General Assembly. The modalities  for the conference were adopted in September last year. Since then caucus conferences have been held in all seven indigenous regions with the aim to bring up the discussion on substance for the coming Conference. The indigenous women and youth caucuses have also contributed in the indigenous peoples’ preparatory process.

The next important step in the preparations is for representatives of all the indigenous peoples’ regional caucuses to get together in Alta, Norway, in two weeks’ time. The aim is to conclude a jointly agreed outcome document that will constitute the input from the indigenous peoples` communities worldwide.

The suggestions put forward in this document will constitute valuable contributions for States to consider when it comes to the preparation process of deciding on the substance of the World Conference.

Mr. Chairperson,

The coming year is crucial for the preparations. We need to see good partnerships between the representatives of indigenous peoples and the state representatives.

In the first phase of the preparatory process, leading up to the modality resolution last September, we benefitted from the competence and experience of an indigenous representative to assist in and facilitate the process together with a government representative. We valued this innovative approach and hope that we can continue along this constructive path.

Norway wants to commend the achievements of the indigenous peoples for the important preparatory work that has been done so far. In particular we would like to mention the work of the Indigenous Global Coordination Group (the GCG), led by Mr. John Bernhard Henriksen. The GCG is an innovative example of a representative process amongst the global indigenous community, established independently from Governmental involvement.

It is our hope that the World Conference in 2014 will result in a substantive and concrete action oriented outcome document. It should contribute to our ambition of a realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, in accordance with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We would like to stress that the full and effective participation and consultation of indigenous peoples through all stages of the preparations, and the conference itself, including in the development of the outcome document, is imperative to its success.

Mr. Chairperson,

Ensuring indigenous peoples’ participation at the World Conference is of crucial importance. In order to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives to UN meetings for preparatory discussions, Norway has contributed financially both to the upcoming Alta Conference and to the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations. 

We encourage other states also to contribute to the independent preparations by indigenous peoples over the coming year, through supporting the Voluntary Fund.

Thank you.

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