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UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Adopts 9 Recommendations

18 May 2012: The 11th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) concluded with the adoption of nine draft recommendations by consensus, including on: the special theme of the ongoing impact of the Discovery Doctrine on indigenous peoples and the right to redress; arrangements for the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples; intellectual property; food sovereignty; human rights; and emerging issues.

The draft recommendation on the impact of the Discovery Doctrine on indigenous peoples (document E/C.19/2012/L.2) notes the need to redefine the relationship between indigenous peoples and the State as a way to develop a vision of the future for reconciliation, peace and justice.

The recommendation on human rights (document E/C.19/2012/L.9) makes reference to violations of the right to self-determination. It also recommends the World Health Organization (WHO) to expand its report on social determinants of health to address the cultural determinants, such as land, language, ceremony and identity, which are equally critical for the health and wellbeing of indigenous peoples.

The draft recommendation on preparations for the 2014 World Conference (document E/C.19/2012/L.5) welcomes the decision of the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to appoint the Permanent Representative of Mexico, Luis Alfonso de Alba, and the international representative of the Saami Parliament of Norway, John Henriksen, to carry out inclusive informal consultations to advise on appropriate modalities for the Conference, with an emphasis on substantive participation of indigenous peoples.

On the dialogue with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (document E/C.19/2012/l.4), a recommendation calls for strengthening the participation of indigenous peoples in the work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). Permanent Forum members expressed concerns about the work of the Committee on the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, folklore and genetic resources.

UNPFII 11 also adopted a recommendation based on its half-day discussions on the right of indigenous peoples to food and food sovereignty (document E/C.19/2012/L.10). The recommendation highlights that indigenous rights to food are linked to rights to land and resources, and culture and social organization.

UNPFII 11 took place in New York, US, from 7-18 May 2012. The UNPFII is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. [11th Session of the UNPFII] [ECOSOC Press Release, 18 May] [ECOSOC Press Release, 17 May (afternoon)] [ECOSOC Press Release, 17 May (morning)] [ECOSOC Press Release, 16 May] [ECOSOC Press Release, 15 May] [ECOSOC Press Release, 14 May] [ECOSOC Press Release, 11 May] [ECOSOC Press Release, 10 May] Publication: Report on the Eleventh Session (Circulated July 2012)]