Magazine article UN Chronicle

Commitments Need to Be Concrete for Second Indigenous Decade

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Commitments Need to Be Concrete for Second Indigenous Decade

Article excerpt

REPRESENTATIVES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, senior United Nations officials and members of nongovernmental organizations gathered at UN Headquarters in New York on 15 May 2006 for the opening ceremony of the fifth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which also launched the Programme of Action of the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

Building on the achievements of the First Decade (1995-2004), which placed the spotlight on the needs of indigenous peoples, the Second Decade seeks to further strengthen global cooperation for the achievement of the goals of indigenous peoples in the areas of culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development. Initiatives include action-oriented programmes and specific projects, increased technical assistance and relevant standard-setting activities. The end of the Second Decade, in 2015, also coincides with the year benchmarked for the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which represent a set of internationally agreed-upon objectives, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, all by the target date of 2015.

In a video message to the Forum, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the Programme of Action "seeks to help indigenous people build better lives through full participation and partnerships. It aims to enable them to win respect for their identities, their languages and their cultures". He added: "I call on all States to work with indigenous peoples to translate the Programme into reality on the ground. Let us aim to make it mean something positive--a change for the better--in the life of every indigenous person, wherever he or she may live."

The Action Programme was meant to give practical effect to the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document for the benefit of all indigenous peoples. Member States had reaffirmed their commitment to preserve and maintain the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous communities, and had recognized that their sustainable development was crucial in the fight against hunger and poverty. …

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