WCIP Update

Preparations for the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples continue and the Center remains committed to supporting tribal nations and indigenous peoples to achieve lasting measures to improve the lives of indigenous peoples.

Providing regular updates to tribal nations and organizations is part of our work to ensure indigenous peoples are up to date on key developments and decisions, and important upcoming events.

In late February, the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) responsible for overseeing the organization of the World Conference issued a controversial decision regarding how the preparatory process and consultations among states and indigenous peoples would proceed. The Center contacted the PGA expressing concerns with his process as outlined, provided an analysis of the decision to our allies, and encouraged indigenous peoples throughout the Americas to also send letters to the PGA asking him to reconsider his poor decision. You can view the letter and other details in an update we sent to tribal nations on March 6, 2014 (http://indianlaw.org/content/world-conference-center-calls-indigenous-peoples-respond).

Today, we are pleased to report that the PGA is proposing a new framework for consultations among states and indigenous peoples for development of the World Conference outcome document. The revised decision is now in the final stages of reaching consensus from all the UN regional groups.

On March 10th, Center staff, board members, and over 75 tribal leaders participated in a Scoping Session organized by the United States Department of State regarding the World Conference. This meeting provided an opportunity for tribal leaders to present key recommendations and discuss directly with the government officials what is needed to make the Conference a success. As a result, the United States has committed to a full-day discussion with tribal leaders and others on May 9th at the State Department, Washington, DC.

We encourage you to engage in preparations for the World Conference. Indeed, most of the work will be done before the actual date of the Conference. Below is a brief list of important upcoming events:

  • May 12-23, 2014: United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 13th Session, UN Headquarters, New York City, NY. This year, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will hold a full day discussion on the World Conference on May 19th. If you wish to attend this year’s Forum and do not hold consultative status with ECOSOC, you can register as an “Indigenous Peoples Organization” by following the instructions available here.
  • TBD [possible dates: May 16, May 23, or May 24, 2014]: Informal, interactive hearing conducted by the President of the General Assembly to receive input from indigenous peoples and their representatives on the World Conference, UN Headquarters, New York City, NY. Plans for this hearing are still being finalized. Please continue to check our World Conference webpage periodically for updates.

The Center remains optimistic that the World Conference is an historic opportunity to ensure the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are realized.