The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues begins in New York next Monday. The session will convene for two weeks during the period of 19 to 30 April, 2010.
This session will have over 600 delegates from Indigenous Peoples around the world.
Over 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates from Australia will attend this session, and the Australian Government will include a delegation from FaHCSIA, along with the Indigenous Land Corporation and two Aboriginal youth delegates.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates have mostly already met together in Australia to discuss their issues, priorities and strategies and to prepare ‘interventions’ which will be presented during this session. This preparation, under the association known as the Indigenous Peoples Organisations (IPOs) of Australia, has been assisted by the Australian Human Rights Commission to ensure efficient and effective participation at the UN level.
Some delegations will attend the PFII session without participating in the IPO meetings but the convention has always been that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegations cooperate with each other through daily caucus meetings held each morning for the duration of the meeting.
Australia and New Zealand, and Hawaii are also represented in the Pacific Regional Caucus meetings of Indigenous Peoples, being one of seven regions of the world, and this also ensures that effective work is completed.
The theme for this session of the PFII is ‘Development with Culture and Identity’. This theme recognises that for Indigenous Peoples the future should ensure that values and cultures of the Indigenous Peoples are not lost, and that economic, social and cultural development of Indigenous Peoples is a matter for international concern and attention. Ownership and control of lands, territories and resources is a fundamental indicator of the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples, along with use of traditional languages and cultural education of the generations.
I will be providing a daily report on the meeting, as best as possible in the busy circumstances to ensure that all communities are aware of the proceedings of the United Nations and how the rights of Indigenous Peoples are to be protected.
I attach for greater awareness, a list of the documents which have been prepared for the PFII Session. You might find one or two of these to be particularly interesting and, if so, you can download these documents for reading from the PFII website – .
I will also be sending from time to time our statements made to the PFII about situations in Australia, as well as globally.
Please feel free to contact me or others in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegation to seek more information or provide input to our work. I will respond as best as possible but understand that the days ahead will be extremely busy.
Here is a hint of interesting days ahead. Keep an eye open for the joint statement between our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegations and the Australian Government to the PFII. It will not be a perfect document, or may even be disappointing. However it will provide a common view of the positive achievements made under the theme of development with culture and identity, and the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.