President of the 16th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Thank you for introducing me.
Dr. Santiago, I know that you are among us today; Dr. Gabriela Lara, General Director of the GEAP; excellency Minister Emilio Sempris, representative of UNEP Regional Director for the Latin American and the Caribbean; excellency Feliciano Jimenez, Panama's Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs, eminent researcher, lecturer; ladies and gentlemen.
I am very happy to participate at CUMIPAZ 2017, encouraging that CUMIPAZ is giving increasing attention to indigenous peoples as mentioned by Dr. Soto and excellency minister and all the speakers who already spoke. And as the planning of this '17 CUMIPAZ shows there is a lot of place given to indigenous peoples here.
The 2015 CUMIPAZ Declaration addressed, which are very relevant to indigenous peoples, although it does not mention them explicitly. In the 2016 Declaration, indigenous peoples were far more visible. I'll just mention two cases, messages particularly relevant for today's discussion in the Diplomatic, Parliamentary and Political Session, it was acknowledged that public policies of sustainable development must take into account indigenous peoples and minority groups, and promote the care of the environment, as an essential part of community participation.
In the Educational Session, it was proposed to recognize the importance of ancestral knowledge of indigenous peoples and consider them to strengthen ethno-education as a decisive factor for the new paradigm of the integral and holistic educational model, which seeks sustainable development and the care of Mother Earth. As already also mentioned by excellency minister that there is a linkage between languages, communication, and access to those communications.
In the 2017 Declaration, I hope that indigenous peoples rights will be mainstreamed in all sessions: science, corporate social responsibility; diplomatic, parliamentary and political issues; in education, justice and democracy; and all areas in which the situation of indigenous peoples must be taken into account and for which the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can provide great guidance.
The role of indigenous peoples in science for the preservation of the life of Mother Earth. Some reflections to take into account in the discussions: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007, and by this global consensus on the right of indigenous peoples, and at this regard, let me thank Dr. Soto who was at the celebration that we had at the General Assembly on our last session in New York. The declaration places international standards of fundamental rights and freedom in the context of indigenous peoples realities. It's a kind of adaptation of UN Declaration on Human Rights to Indigenous Peoples.
Ten years later there has been some progress, however, as mentioned by the minister, that it remains to be done to fully realize the rights of indigenous peoples. I believe that this meeting is a step toward strengthening indigenous peoples rights. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes that there is respect of indigenous peoples knowledge, culture, and traditional practices contribute to the sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment.
Moreover, the Declaration recognizes that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, respect and protect their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technology and culture, including human rights, genetic resources, seeds, medicine, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora; oral tradition, literature designs, sport and traditional games; and visual and performing arts. Indigenous peoples also have the right to maintain, control, respect and develop their intellectual property.
At the September 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, members reiterated their commitment to achieve the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights. They also committed to respect the contribution of indigenous peoples to ecosystem management and sustainable development. At this regard for the sustainable development for the 2013 agenda, they were included in the drafting of the program of the agenda 2013, as well as their science, technology, and culture.
Further, that indigenous peoples knowledge and strategies to sustain their environment should be respected and taken into account when we develop national and international approaches to climate change, mitigation, and adaptation as mentioned by mister president… mister ministry, that the intergovernmental processes on environment must include indigenous peoples.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change follows the path, the path is a knowledge that adaptation action would be based and guided by the best knowledge, that adaptation action should be based by the best available science and as an appropriate traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body of the UN's economic and social council, which mandates to advise on issues related to culture, environment, education, health, human rights and social economic development. At its annual session (each year) there are more than one thousand delegates coming from indigenous people, member states, UN Agencies and Jews and academic; and fortunately, global activists also for peace, we were very happy to have a huge representation this year from the Global Activists and we encourage this kind of participation, who share their good practices as well as experiences and strategies.
The Forum has been looking at the role of indigenous peoples knowledge can play to protect Mother Earth and human life. In this year's session, the Permanent Forum reiterated the importance of laws and policies to ensure the recognition, continued vitality and protection from the misappropriation of indigenous peoples knowledge and encouraged member states to address this issue to together with indigenous peoples; and in this regard, I am very thankful to the government of Panama for the law, the minister mentioned, the Law 8.
The Permanent Forum also welcomed the recognition and inclusion of indigenous peoples knowledge in the work of the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services to assess the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
We look forward to hearing more on this at its progress. I look forward to today's discussion, that I am sure will enrich our understanding of the role of indigenous peoples can play in the preservation of the ecological equilibrium of Mother Earth and human life.
I leave you with that reflection that there is no developing or developed countries, nor rural or indigenous community are here to breathe, we all are in the same boat.
Thank you very much.