Monday, January 27, 2014

UCTP Letter to the President of the General Assembly John William Ashe


To: H.E. Ambassador John William Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda,
President, United Nations General Assembly

Via email & hand-delivered

Re: World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP)

Takahi (Greetings) Excellency: On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), I am writing to you with great concern regarding the preparations for the High Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The UCTP is an indigenous Caribbean regional organization extending through the Major and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Diaspora. The UCTP is a member of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) and an affiliate of the International Indian Treaty Council, an ECOSOC accredited indigenous, non-governmental organization representing indigenous peoples of North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

The UCTP is particularly concerned with your hesitancy to reconfirm the appointment of Mr. John Henriksen (Sami) as the Indigenous co-coordinator (or co-facilitator) on an equal basis with a State representative in that role. The appointment of an indigenous co-coordinator in this process finds its precedent set by the President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly H.E. Nassir AbdulazizAl‐Nasser (Qatar) in early 2012. With this in mind, we respectfully call upon you to reconfirm Mr. Henriksen in this role, which is a decision consistent with the standards articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 Please note that after consultation with our regional leadership and allies, the UCTP can only support the WCIP process if there is equal representation of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, please also note that should the WCIP move forward without equal representation, Indigenous Peoples who form part of the UCTP will call for the WCIP to be canceled.

In closing, Caribbean Governments are an historic ally to Indigenous Peoples since at least the UN International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on through the process to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We trust that we can continue to count on the region to move progressively toward fulfilling the goal of “Partnership in Action” as promoted by the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Oma bahari (With respect),

Roger Hernandez-Moyet,
Board Secretary & Borikén Liaison

CC: UCTP Board & membership; Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples; Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization; International Indian Treaty Council; Global Coordinating Committee of the WCIP; Latin American and Caribbean Regional Caucus to the WCIP

Friday, January 10, 2014

7th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

 Indigenous Peoples’ Presentation at the Final Plenary of the 7th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: 

Agenda Item: Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction 
10 January 2014, Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters, New York 

Presented by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Tebtebba (Co-Organizing Partner for Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group) 

Thank you Mr. Co Chairs. 

Addressing climate change and disasters are crucial for indigenous peoples all over the world. Effectivity in addressing these is linked intricately with how our rights to our lands, territories and resources as well as respect for our traditional knowledge and customary governance and practices in sustainably managing our ecosystems, are respected. In this context, we would like to reiterate the points we often raise, which is to ensure that the human rights based approach, ecosystem approach, as well as culture and cultural values are integrated into the SDG principles, goals, targets and indicators. 

Full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in SDG design, policy and programme development and implementation from the local to global level is therefore an imperative. The need for multistakeholder participation has been stressed by many States who spoke in this meeting. 

We would like to thank the Troikas, which include Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Nicaragua, Bolivia, among others, who mentioned indigenous peoples and indigenous knowledge in their interventions. 

Our contributions to climate change solutions and disaster risk reduction and management cannot be underestimated, considering that we survived centuries of colonisation and climate change. Undoubtedly, we are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and disasters. But we also have demonstrated great resilience to these. With support in terms of policies, integrated approaches and programmes, finance and technology, we can enhance this resilience and we can contribute to achieving sustainable development even further. 
We are the ones who can demonstrate our capacities to preserve and sustainably use our ecosystems and resources because of our respect for nature, our sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods, ethics and cultures which respect intergenerational equity. 

We can continue doing this as long as our rights, under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other human rights instruments, are respected, protected and fulfilled. We can contribute in pushing for a transformational framework and a paradigm shift for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This is what is demanded from us in the face of these multiple crises of the economy, environment, social and cultural development. We should not miss this opportunity of shifting away from business as usual which caused these crises. 

We are therefore looking forward to seeing our proposals, including respect for land tenure rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, become part of final outcome of this Open-Ended Working Group on SDGs. We will be having a workshop on indicators over this weekend and we plan to submit the results of this to you. Thank you Mr. Co-Chair. 

Contact addresses:, 
Tebtebba representative in New York: Galina Angarova: 
Roberto Borrero, International Indian Treaty Council, IITC,