UNGA 73, Third Committee, Item 71
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
October 12th 2018
H.E. Mr. Kai Sauer
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations
New York, 11 October 2018
I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries; Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.
To the Nordic and Baltic countries, the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples have been and continue to be longstanding priorities. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a milestone in recognizing the status and rights of Indigenous Peoples. Fulfilling the objectives of the UNDRIP requires continuous and consistent work both at the national and international level.
Let me take this opportunity to highlight a few issues of particular importance to our countries:
Firstly, the enhanced participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives in relevant UN fora. Our countries consider it of utmost importance that indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions have the possibility and space to exercise their right to participate in meetings of all relevant UN bodies on issues affecting them.
In this regard, the Nordic and Baltic countries actively contributed to the work of the four Indigenous Peoples Advisers of the President of the General Assembly on the consultation process with regard to indigenous peoples’ participation. Since the adoption of the milestone resolution on Participation of Indigenous Peoples in meetings and institutions of the United Nations in September 2017, we have continued our efforts to enhance the implementation of the recommendations in this resolution.
Secondly, it is important to highlight the rights of indigenous peoples to self-governance, which is the theme for the report of the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples.
The Nordic and Baltic countries would in this regard like to thank the Special Rapporteur, Ms Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, for her report highlighting the dual aspect of self-governance. The concept involves both the establishment and maintenance of indigenous decision-making institutions, as well as promoting and enabling indigenous peoples’ participation in decision-making processes of the State and other actors, on matters that affect them. We would particularly like to emphasize the need for participation by women, youth and persons living with disabilities both in indigenous institutions as well as in other fora. Furthermore, we all need to increase our efforts to address the implementation challenges faced by many indigenous self-governance systems, including lack of resources.
Thirdly, the Nordic and Baltic countries commend the efforts by the Special Rapporteur to increase cooperation with other parts of the UN. We highlight the participation of the Special Rapporteur to the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Recognizing the particular challenges and needs of indigenous peoples is essential if we are to fulfil the Agenda 2030 commitment of leaving no one behind. Indigenous governance systems can play an essential role in ensuring that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is culturally appropriate and grounded in indigenous peoples’ traditions, values and development approaches. The Special Rapporteur has an important role to play as an advocate for indigenous peoples’ rights, but we also wish to stress the importance of indigenous peoples having the possibility and space to exercise their right to participate in meetings of all relevant UN bodies on all issues affecting them.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairperson,
As the 10th anniversary of the UNDRIP has passed it is time that we step up efforts towards fulfilling the objectives of the UNDRIP both at the national and international levels. By ensuring the participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making on all matters affecting them at the local, national, regional and international level we can ensure the fulfilment of the objectives of UNDRIP, as well as due implementation of Agenda 2030.