IPMSDL Statement during the April Interactive Dialogue from the post 2015 Process, New York
“Interactive Dialogue with stakeholders from the Post-2015 process (Major Groups and other Stakeholders) and Financing for Development process (civil society and business sector) Thursday, 23 April 2015, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, Conference Room 1”
I am Beverly Longid from the Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation and of the Indigenous Peoples constituency of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). I come before you in this session to add the voices of 370 million Indigenous Peoples in the world.
We, Indigenous Peoples occupy barely a fourth of the earth’s surface. However, we serve as stewards to eighty percent (80%) of the world’s biodiversity. Today, more than ever, there is clear and present danger to our existence and the means to our living. Either we practice sustainability today or we all perish tomorrow. We either care for the Indigenous Peoples today or throw tomorrow’sworld into greater danger. This is our world, too.
Why then is there no clear reference to Indigenous Peoples in the text of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? We are saying, “Let’s leave no one behind”. However, we are leaving the Indigenous Peoples out of the said goals. The absence or non-reference to Indigenous Peoples excludes us from the achievement and monitoring of the SDGs.
More substantially, we are one with civil society and social movements in asserting that structural and systemic issues breed poverty, cause hunger, and foster inequality and injustice. Only by addressing these issues can we achieve genuinely sustainable and inclusive development. We demand people and planet before profits, socialized industry, agrarian reform, and respect for human rights. Initiatives that do not contribute to these demands are bound to fail.
Colonization and succeeding governments dispossessed us Indigenous Peoples. It appropriated more of our lands for dams, mines, logging and plantations; desecrated our culture and militarized our communities in the name of development and progress. Today, big corporations and banks exploit the greater majority of the world’s peoples and nations, the Indigenous Peoples included.
As a way forward, we reiterate our demand that the implementation and financing of SDGs, and its accompanying indicators should be consistent with human rights standards and international humanitarian laws. In our case, we assert the letter and spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that recognizes self-determination over our lands, our right to free prior informed consent, and prohibits any form of involuntary settlement.The World Conference of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) last September, which is a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, reiterated its commitment in achieving the ends of this Declaration.
Financing by international financial institutions often leads to human rights violations. These financial institutions and corporate bodies remain unaccountable as states continue to provide them support and protection. There is a dire lack of regulatory mechanisms for such financings to ensure accountability and development justice.
Mandatory transparency and accountability safeguards in compliance with human rights norms and standards putting people before profit should accompany private sector financing and public-private partnerships for sustainable development.
Indigenous concepts of ‘development’ are broader than financial frameworks. It includes collective decision-making, spiritual health, cultural values, and our role as ecosystem custodians.An overwhelming emphasis on finance as means of implementation is inappropriate for indigenous communities. There are myriad of indigenous survival activities (such as hunting, gathering, local agriculture) but are classified as non-economic without realizing its viability and sustainability.
We call on the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Indicators and concerned UN units for an effective and rightful engagement of Indigenous Peoples in the formulation of appropriate global indicators. These ensure the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ self-determined development, secures our rights over our land and territories, with advancement of our traditional wisdom and knowledge of sustainable management and development of lands and resources, and addresses our particular needs and circumstances on health, education and poverty alleviation.
The means of implementation should advance harmony with people and nature,and rather than a mechanism to reinforce private profits at the expense of nature and people’s survival. Heed the voices of Indigenous Peoples. Let us consider those recommendations, for our people, for our world, for our tomorrow.