Participation of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations

In its 2015 resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/RES/70/232) the General Assembly requested the President of the General Assembly to conduct, within existing resources, timely, inclusive, representative and transparent consultations with Member States, indigenous peoples representatives and institutions from all regions of the world, and existing relevant mechanisms of the United Nations, on the possible measures necessary, including procedural and institutional steps and selection criteria, to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them. The Assembly, also requested the President to prepare a compilation of the views presented during the consultations, including good practices within the United Nations regarding indigenous peoples participation, which would form the basis for a draft text to be finalized and adopted by the Assembly during its seventy-first session.

In response to this request, the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft has appointed four Advisers to assist him in conducting these consultations. They are H. E. Mr. Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland and H.E. Mrs. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana, as well as two Advisers from indigenous peoples – Dr. Claire Winfield Ngamihi Charters from the Pacific region and Dr. James Anaya from the North America region.

Consultation process

The consultation process began on 7 March at UN Headquarters. The launch briefing provided a valuable opportunity for the four Advisers to hear detailed views from Member States and Indigenous Peoples on their proposed roadmap and approach to the consultation process. The Indicative roadmap is available here.

For those who were unable to attend the briefing in person, it may be streamed at the United Nations Webcast available on http://webtv.un.org/.

The process continued with the electronic consultation that took place from 8 March until 8 April 2016.

On the basis of the electronic consultation and previous General Assembly resolutions and UN reports and studies on the topic, the Advisers prepared a first draft compilation for consultations with Members States and representatives of Indigenous Peoples.  A consultative meeting took place in New York on May 11 where participants brought forth contributions addressing the ideas in the first draft compilation.

For those unable to attend the meeting in person, it may be streamed here.

The Advisers then completed a second draft compilation based on the electronic consultation as well as existing United Nations reports on Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the United Nations, earlier responses to questionnaires on Indigenous Peoples’ participation at the United Nations and good practices within the United Nations, and the first consultative meeting with Members States and Indigenous Peoples that took place on May 11.

An Addendum to the Compilation was created, summarising the views that had a significant amount of support at the meeting on May 11.  This document was used to inform the discussions that occurred at the next consultative meeting on May 18.

Member States and Indigenous Peoples are invited to send substantive inputs to ipadvisers@un.org to assist the ongoing revisions of the draft compilation.

Member States are encouraged to actively engage in the consultative meetings and to consult with the Indigenous Peoples in their area throughout the consultation process. More information on the briefing and consultations will be posted here as it becomes available. Further information is also available here.

Background documents

Letter of the President of the General Assembly addressed to indigenous peoples on the launching of a process of the General Assembly to consider how to enable the participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations (26 February 2016)

Letter of the President of the General Assembly convening a briefing on the issue of participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations (25 February 2016)

Letter of the President of the General Assembly appointing the four Advisers who will assist him in conducting consultations on the participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations (18 February 2016)

General Assembly resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/70/232) (19 November 2015)

Report of the Secretary General on Progress made in the implementation of the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (A/70/84–E/2015/76) (18 May 2015)

Outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (A/69/L.1) (15 September 2014)

Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues thematic paper towards the preparation of the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: The Participation of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations. (June 2014)

Report of the Secretary General on ways and means of promoting participation at the United Nations of indigenous peoples’ representatives on issues affecting them (A/HRC/21/24) (2 July 2012)

Background information regarding A/HRC/21/24

Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Progress report on the study on indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making (A/HRC/EMRIP/2010/2) (17 May 2010)