HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsUN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues kicks-off in New York

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues kicks-off in New York


New York, 16 April 2024 (TDI): Indigenous Peoples and their largest global annual gatherings, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), started off its 23rd session at the UN Headquarters in New York and continue up until the 26th of April 2024.

This year’s theme underlines Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and the voices of Indigenous youth.

A key element in making sure the right to self-determination is access to financing, to authorize Indigenous Peoples to exercise their rights, pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and fund their governance structures, as specified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous peoples and their financial rights

The gathering of Indigenous Peoples at the UNHQ began with a ceremonial welcome by Chief Tadodaho Sid Hill of the Onondaga Nation. More than 2,000 convened at the Forum joined by representatives from the UN.

These include Dennis Francis, President of the 78th session of the General Assembly, Paula Narvaez, President of ECOSOC, and Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Opening the Forum, David Choquehuanca, Vice President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, shone a light on the Indigenous Peoples in placing the planet first.

David Choquehuanca reports that “We must transition from an anthropocentric to a biocentric approach to ensure our youth hands over a healthier Mother Earth to the generations to come. This necessitates redirecting financial resources directly into the hands of Indigenous Peoples, the stewards of our planet’s biodiversity.”

In addition to this, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues asserted that it is important to eradicate the hindrances to the financial flows of the Indigenous Peoples. This is critical to make sure that Indigenous Peoples have access to the application of their actions and programs.

Moreover, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues further reported that the Indigenous Peoples must have the mode and mediums to finance their self-government and to maintain their self-determination.

Also Read: New Zealand, Canada sign agreement on Indigenous peoples

Obstacles to self-determination

Financing for the Indigenous Peoples, especially international climate and development assistance, is deficient to fulfill their needs. Moreover, there are insufficient investments in Indigenous women and girls, and they remain severe.

The forum stressed encouraging Indigenous women-led initiatives to cement their economic rights, empowering Indigenous women and girls, and eliminating harmful stereotypes that reassert discrimination.

Furthermore, complexities take place in collecting and analyzing data on donor allocations that are solely directed toward Indigenous Peoples. The lack of available data highlights the inadequacy of direct funding.

Shedding importance on this problem requires the application of direct funding mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples and the clearing of bureaucratic obstacles to make sure that Indigenous Peoples have the financial independence to head their initiatives.

This year’s 2024 forum

In 2019, Makanalani Gomes cemented her feet on the slopes of Mount Kea, in Hawaii, against the Honolulu riot police. Native Hawaiians like Gomes, protested as their mountain was bulldozed and excavated for the building of telescopes and other astronomical facilities.

For several months, Gomes along with other protestors slept on the mountainside, blocking the construction crew from building the thirty-meter telescope.

This week, Gomes will pursue her work fighting for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty when she speaks at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

“We are intrinsic of our lands and our waters, of our mountains and our oceans, and then laying down our bodies in turn to preserve what we have left,” Makanalani Gomes reports.

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