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The UN Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues celebrates its annual meeting

FAO hosts more than 20 experts from all UN system and 8 indigenous representatives

05/10/2016 - 

From October 3 to 5, more than 20 experts from UN Organizations and 8 indigenous representatives came together at FAO headquarters to attend the annual meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues (IASG). The role of the IASG is to mainstream the work on indigenous peoples inside the different UN organizations. Its most important work this year has been the mainstreaming of a UN System Wide Action Plan on the rights of indigenous peoples (UNSWAP)

The UNSWAP, originally requested by UN Member States during the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, was officially launched on May this year by the UN Under-Secretary-General. Its objective is to support the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples as well as defining a road map that ensures that all actions by UN agencies are coordinated and coherent, particularly at country level. 

“The UNSWAP is a great instrument to advance towards the achievement of Indigenous Peoples’ rights worldwide. Convinced as we are that they are part of the solution in eradicating hunger, FAO together with other UN agencies must make all due efforts to include them in the development process, respecting their distinct identities, cultures and traditional knowledge under the frame of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)” stressed Yon Fernández de Larrinoa, from Indigenous Peoples’ team at FAO.

For the first time, the IASG is being co-chaired by the three Rome-based agencies. 

In the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals, UN agencies must lead by example in “leaving no one behind” on the development agenda. Coming from a history of systematic discrimination, Indigenous Peoples still face a wide range of human rights violations and are often neglected by social and economic policies. This places them as one of the most vulnerable populations of the world. 

Lack of recognition to their traditional lands, territories and natural resources; forced displacement and social and political marginalization keeps them trapped in poverty and facing food insecurity. While recognizing their plight, FAO also considers them essential partners in eradicating hunger thanks to their ancestral knowledge, sustainable management of natural resources and potential of their agriculture and food systems in the face of climate change. 

As part of the IASG meeting, FAO headquarters will be hosted the open workshop entitled: “Indigenous Peoples’ Land Governance and Food Systems” which revolved around the current challenges in achieving land rights for Indigenous Peoples and the linkages with their food systems. 

Click here to watch the webcast of the event.