First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

wcip logo2The first World Conference on indigenous peoples took place on the 22nd and 23th of September 2014, at the United Nations in New York.

This meeting was an opportunity to share point of views and best practices regarding the importance of the rights of indigenous peoples, including the monitoring of the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of indigenous people.

This Conference was attended by representatives from more than 70 countries around the world. Indigenous groups such as the Inutis of Canada, the Murunahuas of Peru, and the Huichol of Mexico, were some of a few who had the opportunity to discuss their requests and demands in this forum of high level, a crucial dialogue space.

“Member States have the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to sustainable human development and the rights of indigenous peoples” said Gerardo Noto, Coordinator of Democratic Governance, in the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Program.

In the world there are 370 million indigenous people, which accounts for 5% of the world population, which also constitutes 15% of poverty in the world, according to data from the Department of Public Information of the United Nations. These peoples are among the most vulnerable, disproportionately representing a third of the 900 million suffering from extreme poverty in the world, according to the UNDP.

The struggle for their rights has been active for more than three decades. It was in 1982 when the first working group was created, whose objective was to diagnose the situation these peoples were facing. It was determined to create a declaration on their rights, in such a way that these goals, individually and collectively, were meant to protect them and ensure that they could live with dignity, and to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions. Also to be allowed to find their own development, with their own needs and interests.

It is time to take stock of the indigenous situation worldwide and check if some of the fundamental objectives have been achieved such as promoting their full and effective participation in decision-making process that may affect their lifestyles, their lands, and their rights as citizens.

The contrast between the life of the hidden villages of the world and Government decisions made between skyscrapers is as vast as antagonistic. Many of these men and women will return to their communities, and will trust that the new plans of action recently decided, become a step forward to become visible, by right, with voice and vote all around the earth.