-- SECRETARY GENERAL
Angela King, Assistant
Secretary-General, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of
Women, in New York on May 12, delivered Secretary- General Kofi
Annanís message to the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on
"ITíS A NEW DAY TOMORROW"
Since the first session of the Permanent
Forum on Indigenous Issues last year, important progress has been made
in building a home for indigenous peoples at the United Nations. The
Secretariat for the Permanent Forum was launched in January, with
funding secured from the contingency fund. And networks of Member
States, United Nations agencies and indigenous peoplesí organizations
have begun sharing and collecting information, laying the foundation
of an infrastructure capable of responding to the challenges presented
by the Forumís broad mandate. These steps build on the United Nations
long history of attention to the rights of indigenous peoples.
There is no time to lose in this effort. Indigenous peoples continue
to be subjected to systemic discrimination and exclusion from economic
and political power. They are denied their cultural identities, and
displaced from their traditional lands. They are more likely than
others to suffer extreme poverty, and all too often experience the
human misery caused by conflict.
That makes it all the more urgent to firmly establish indigenous
issues as part of the United Nations systemís daily work, and ensure
that efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals reach and
fully include indigenous people. We must acknowledge the contributions
of indigenous peoples not only in areas such as environmental
protection, where those contributions are well established and widely
known, but also in other vital areas on the international agenda.
Legal standards are essential, including through progress on the draft
declaration on indigenous rights, which could in turn stimulate
advances in national laws. Information also plays a key role, so that
we have a clear picture of the situation of indigenous peoples; I
fully support efforts to build up capacity in this area.
I am also gratified to see the emphasis placed by the Permanent Forum
on indigenous children and youth. As an old Maori proverb says, ďItís
a new day tomorrow and we must prepare for the many indigenous
children and grandchildren who will come to take their rightful place
in their world as indigenous peoples of the globe. This will enrich
and inspire all peoplesĒ. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes
for a successful session.