26 April, 2017

Indigenous peoples demand measures for their economic development during UN meeting

The Peruvian activist, Tarcila Rivera Zea, remarked the necessity to promote equal opportunities for indigenous men and women.

Foto: Alejandro Wong / CHIRAPAQ

The 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was opened this Monday in New York in the context of celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Peruvian Tarcila Rivera Zea, member of this UN entity, examined the progress and measures taken to implement this instrument.

Rivera underlined the importance of prioritizing the specific needs of indigenous women and youth and that the rights recognized are enjoyed equally by both men and women. ”It’s not because we are women that we speak only for women. We are seeking equality and a balance that reflects our cosmovision in the sense that both men and women, the young and the old enjoy the same considerations”, she explained.

Tarcila Rivera stated that in total there are more than 150 recommendations related to indigenous women, 88 of which were made after the adoption of the Declaration. “Approximately, 38 of these are in the process of being implemented, 10 have been fully implemented and for 40 of them we don’t have further follow-up information”. Nevertheless, se highlighted that concerning indigenous women “only 16% of these recommendations were explicitly related to economic empowerment and rights”.

Rivera noted that the Permanent Forum has been a strategic place for inclusion of indigenous women and she congratulated the States and the scenarios promoted by the UN System for the progress.

“What is still lacking is how to move to the practice, to the implementation at the State level and that the right to participation with free, prior and informed consent need also to be reality in national and regional processes. That is what we aspire to when taking a retrospective look into the dreams that carried us this far working for achieving the Declaration”, she concluded.

During the annual sessions, the Permanent Forum elaborates recommendations for the States, indigenous peoples, the UN System and other international and intergovernmental entities. In addition to examining indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights, the Forum works transversally to promote gender equity, with special attention to indigenous women.

During the two-week session, the Forum will address the implementation of the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held in 2014, and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, among other topics.