March 2024

Answers about the Enhanced Participation of Indigenous Peoples

 On 5 March 2024, Members of the Temporary Committee for the Indigenous Coordinating Body for Enhanced Participation, the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) hosted an informal “Ask Anything” discussion with United Nations (UN) diplomats inviting them to ask questions and learn about to enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN.  

The discussion focused specifically on ways to increase opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to participate in UN decision-making in preparation for the 23rd Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that will take place in New York, from the 15th to the 26th of April. Participants and facilitators cultivated a welcoming and educational space, that encouraged participants to ask any question, including questions that diplomats might feel uncomfortable asking in the formal UN environment.

Facilitation was provided by Kenneth Deer from the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee, with support from Ghazali Ohorella who joined virtually in his role as a member of the Temporary Committee for the Indigenous Coordinating Body for Enhanced Participation. Kenneth and Ghazali shared the many challenges Indigenous Peoples face at the UN as they work to have their perspectives included, as well as some strategies that could help. Participants noted the importance of ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are consulted in decision-making processes that affect them, including on topics where the impacts on Indigenous communities might not be immediately evident. 

The Temporary Committee for the Indigenous Coordinating Body for Enhanced Participation was created to facilitate cooperation between representatives from each of the seven indigenous cultural regions as part of increasing participation in UN activities. In light of needs that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, this temporary committee has continued to serve this function as of June 2020. The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council. The Forum is mandated to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

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