Economic and Social Council

Concluding its tenth anniversary session today with the adoption of a draft report on that session, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues looked to its future work, welcoming the opportunity and full responsibility in playing a central role in preparations for the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and underlining the need for the equal, direct and meaningful participation of indigenous communities during all stages of that landmark meeting.
With major global meetings on the horizon, members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said today that ensuring the “full, meaningful and equal” participation of indigenous representatives had taken on a truly paramount importance. Speaking at a Headquarters press conference to mark the end of the Forum’s tenth session, members of the Forum said indigenous participation in decision-making processes had been an overarching theme during the session.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, meeting today to discuss the provisional agenda for its next session, solidified its plans to hold discussions in 2012 on food security, human rights and the session’s proposed special theme, the “Doctrine of Discovery” — which some members stressed would be a “forward thinking” dialogue.
In a resumed organizational session today, the Economic and Social Council filled vacancies in three of its subsidiary bodies, electing members by secret ballot and by acclamation. Voting by secret ballot, the Council elected Iran to a four-year term on the Commission on Population and Development, beginning today and expiring at the close of that body’s forty-eighth session in 2015.
While well versed in overseeing the implementation of peace accords, the United Nations system had much less experience in supporting indigenous peoples and communities in conflict resolution, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues should consider what kind of role it could play in addressing those gaps, that body was told today as it took up the report of its Special Rapporteur on the status of implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997.
With nearly a billion people living without access to an improved water source and 2.5 billion lacking access to improved sanitation facilities, the world faced a “true crisis” the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today, during a half-day discussion on the right to water.