In the context of the 10th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, May 2011, an IUCN meeting was held with representatives from indigenous and conservation organizations members of IUCN, Secretariat staff and Commission members attending the Forum. This gathering was aimed at seeking ways and possibilities to strengthen the involvement of indigenous peoples' organizations in IUCN’s work and explore options for a better integration of indigenous peoples issues into the IUCN programme, with particular attention to the planning of the next quadriennial programme 2013-16. Another topic of importance was the process towards the next IUCN Congress (WCC5) in 2012 in order to foster indigenous participation.
Organizations represented included the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), International Indian Treaty Council, Pastoral Women Alliance to Break Chains (PWABC), Fundación para la Promoción del Conocimiento Indigena, Confederación Mapuche,
(COICA), Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, Forest Peoples Programme, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund-US, and The Nature Conservancy.
Some of the points discussed were: a) the process of reviewing IUCN’s work on indigenous peoples issues, which was initiated at the CEESP Whakatane Conference, and options to strengthen it with the involvement of Members; b) IUCN’s work on indigenous issues under the framework of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and their integration in IUCN's next quadriennial programme; c) preparation process for the next IUCN Congress (WCC5) to be held in September 2012 and opportunities and ways to profile indigenous peoples issues as well as the involvement of indigenous organizations and leaders; c) involvement of indigenous peoples in the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20), especially regarding the positioning of social issues in the agenda.
Regarding the next IUCN Congress (WCC5), participants talked about different possibilities to profile indigenous peoples issues and involve indigenous organizations and leaders in the process and the event itself, such as:
- Establishing a mechanism to coordinate, drive and undertake preparatory work for the Congress. It could be an informal contact group on indigenous issues with the aim of coordinating and organizing indigenous participation and work for the next Congress.
- Organizing activities for the next Congress both as a team and as individual organizations.
- Developing a strategy for enhancing and maximizing impacts of indigenous participation in the Congress as well as introducing innovative approaches and activities to have greater impact in the whole Congress and its results.
- Participating in the process of reviewing resolutions for the upcoming Congress and proposing new ones in a coordinated and well structured manner, yet without limiting or compromising possibilities to act as individual organizations if that is wanted.
- Using the Congress and IUCN as a valuable platform for positioning indigenous issues in conservation at a broader level including policy development at the global level.
- Promoting the expansion of membership of indigenous peoples’ organizations in IUCN, and also the involvement of individuals as Commission Members.
- Profiling indigenous issues inside IUCN was also an important topic. Options suggested included.
- Exploring further how to link indigenous organizations at the level of Commissions but also at the level of the regional programmes and regional partnerships that IUCN has with members and with other organizations.
- Evaluating possibilities for greater involvement of IUCN Members in relevant inter-commission working groups or Specialist Groups or sub-groups on indigenous issues within or across the different IUCN’s Commissions. Participants were informed that a new Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples was being set up between CEESP and CEL.
- Profiling indigenous issues at IUCN Regional Fora taking place in different regions this year to encourage their integration in the Intersessional Programme 2013-2016.
After the meeting the group continues exchanging information in order to coordinate actions and better integrate the three pillars of the Union – Members, Commissions and Secretariat, in addressing indigenous peoples issues in the IUCN programme.