Saturday, May 10, 2008

Taino Representative Notes Inadequate Attention by UN Agencies

In case anyone might have missed the statement by Mildred Karaira Gandia, reproduced on the blog of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean, we would like to post some of the troubling details that have been noted. Gandia spoke to the Seventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday, 30 April 2008:

Madame/Mr. Chair it is unfortunate that we have to report however that the majority of United Nations Specialized agencies are still not giving serious attention to the Caribbean island region and this practice is contrary to the goals of the Second Decade.

Indeed, the Second Decade’s Plan of Action contains a specific reference to Caribbean Indigenous Peoples, which can be found under Section 6 “Social and Economic Development”, item (b) Regional level, number 86.

The recommendation clearly states that “representatives of Caribbean indigenous peoples should be included in region-specific consultations and conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean, and on steering committees for planning and implementing the programme of activities for the Second International Decade. Serious consideration should also be given to organizing a special regional consultative session focusing on the unique situation of Caribbean indigenous peoples, which would take place in the Caribbean, hosted by a Member State and a local indigenous community.”

With this in mind, we recommend that:

1) The Permanent Forum organize a special regional consultative session focusing on the unique situation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.

2) Such a special regional consultative session be held on the island of Dominica and that its planning and implementation take place in collaboration with indigenous communities and organizations such as those represented within the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean as well as with the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples. The session should aim to strengthen cooperation, coordination, and capacity building among Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean.

3) The Permanent Forum should ensure that any special regional consultative session held in the Caribbean or on Caribbean indigenous issues provide equal funding opportunities for participation and follow-up to indigenous peoples of non-self-governing territories in the region.

For example, indigenous peoples from Puerto Rico are continuously denied funding by the UN Voluntary Fund to participate in meetings, conferences, regional specific consultations, capacity building opportunities and conferences in the region or elsewhere. This practice is discriminatory and must end.

Madame/Mr. Chair, in closing we urge the Permanent Forum to invite the Inter-Agency Support Group, as well as CARICOM, the Rio Group, the Association of Caribbean States, and Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas to work in close collaboration with Caribbean Governments to effectively finance and implement these recommendations focusing on the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

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