Indigenous Priorities for the Post 2015 Development Agenda

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High level Plenary Meeting of the 69th Session of UN General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP)
September 22-23, 2014, UN Headquarters, New York

Indigenous Priorities for the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Statement of the Asia IP Caucus and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

At the outset, we wish to express our deep dis-appointment over the very weak reference to indigenous peoples in the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals despite the recognition of indigenous peoples as a major group in this process and the sustained and active engagement of indigenous peoples representatives.

Emphasizing the condition of indigenous peoples as over represented amongst the poorest in the world — 15 % of the poor but only 5 % of the world’s total population, the post 2015 Development Agenda must ensure that indigenous peoples are adequately covered by the sustainable development goals, targets and indicators in order to address this condition and their overall wellbeing.

Based on the WCIP Outcome Document, the particular elements relevant to the realization of sustainable development for indigenous peoples are paragraphs 10, 11,12,15,17,20, 22,23,24,25,26,34,35,36,37. In particular, paragraph 37 states that” We note that indigenous peoples’ have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In this regard, we commit to give due consideration to all rights of indigenous peoples in the elaboration of the post 2015 development agenda”.

Along this line, we wish underscore and elaborate on our concerns and priorities for the post 2015 development agenda.

  1. The Post 2015 Development Agenda shall incorporate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as part of its human rights framework.
  2. The requirement for the free, prior and informed consent shall be incorporated in the policy making, planning, and implementation, evaluation and monitoring of development projects and programmes that have impacts on the lands, territories, resources and wellbeing of indigenous peoples. States have made clear commitment on this in the WCIP Outcome Document and should thereby be integrated in the post 2015 development agenda, along with the legal recognition of indigenous peoples as distinct peoples and with collective rights over their lands, territories and resources. Unless there is an explicit reference to the security of land rights and FPIC of indigenous peoples as prerequisites for sustainable development, then massive resource extraction, land grabbing, land conversion, and privatization of collective lands of indigenous peoples will continue to worsen. Consequently, this will result in more in-equality, marginalization, poverty and disempowerment of indigenous peoples. In this context, we wish to share our serious concern about the implementation of the Association of South East Asia Nations—ASEAN 2015 Economic Integration and Investment Plan, as well as the Energy and development plan of South Asia. These development plans, which include more than one hundred large hydro-dams, massive infrastructure projects such as roads and railways cutting across indigenous territories, land conversion to commercial agriculture, and bio-fuel plantations were formulated without the participation and consent of indigenous peoples. This “business as usual” development approach dominated by global capital and large corporations will further exacerbate the unhampered exploitation and destruction of indigenous peoples lands, territories and resources in Asia, deepening existing inequity and frustrating the aspirations of indigenous peoples for achieving sustainable development. It is thereby imperative for states, corporations and business enterprises to uphold their obligations to respect and protect the rights of indigenous peoples as a pre-condition to realizing indigenous peoples’ self-determined sustainable development.
  3. Appropriate targets, indices and indicators to protect the rights and enhance the wellbeing and sustainable development of indigenous peoples shall be developed, consistent with our worldviews, distinct cultures, ways of life and distinct relationships with our lands, territories and resources.

In particular, the 1.25 US dollars as poverty measurement is not relevant for indigenous peoples. This was already clearly pointed out in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From our perspective, the impoverishment of indigenous peoples is largely caused by the systematic grabbing of our lands, territories and resources, the prohibition and criminalization of our traditional livelihoods, forced relocation and discrimination in the provision and access to appropriate basic social services and employment. Data dis-aggregation is thereby necessary in relation to measuring the health, education, employment and access to other basic social services of indigenous peoples including persons with dis-abilities and on the specific conditions of indigenous women, in line with the general goal on gender.