NEW YORK, May 23 - An Indigenous Commission for Development of Communications Technologies (ICT's) in the Americas was launched today at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues meeting in New York.
The Commission's goals are to bring Indigenous peoples together with industry and relevant agencies to promote and support the use of ICT's for legal, political, social, educational, cultural, spiritual and economic development.
The Indigenous Commission is based in Ottawa, Canada and is headed by Tony Belcourt, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Métis National Council's Minister for International Issues. Vice-President is Jayariyu Farias Montiel, Director of Periodico Wayuunaiki of Venezula. Secretary-Treasurer is Pedro Victoriano Cruz, Director of Xiranhua Comunicaciones of Mexico.
The current 15-member Board of Directors is made up of one representative of participating countries of the Americas to date. A process is under way to name representatives of the remaining 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Voting membership is available to Indigenous people, organizations, businesses and Nations. Non-voting membership is open to non-Indigenous organizations and businesses.
The Indigenous Commission was formed following the 1st Indigenous Workshop on ICT's in the Americas that was co-hosted by the International Telecommunications Union and the Government of Mexico in Mexico City in December 2005. Approximately 250 delegates from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean were in attendance who selected an Interim Commission which finalized its formation recently.