UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM
ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES
The Permanent Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with
a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social
development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.
The Permanent Forum is comprised of sixteen independent experts, functioning in
their personal capacity, who serve for a term of three years as
Members and may be re-elected or re-appointed for one additional term.
Eight of the Members are nominated by governments and eight are nominated
directly by indigenous organizations in their regions.
The Permanent Forum meets annually in the month of May, for 10 day sessions,
drawing wide participation each year.
INFORMATION FOR THE SIXTH SESSION
May 14 – May 25, 2007
TERRITORIES, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
11 May 2007
Department of Public Information
News and Media Division
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
11 May 2007
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
UNITED NATIONS INDIGENOUS FORUM’S SIXTH SESSION
RIGHTS TO LANDS, TERRITORIES, NATURAL RESOURCES FOCUS
More than 1,000 indigenous representatives from all regions
of the world will converge on the United Nations next week to engage with
Government representatives, senior United Nations officials, civil society and
academia to state their views, voice their concerns and suggest solutions
regarding lands, territories and natural resources. The sixth session of the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be held in New York
from 14 to 25 May. This year’s theme goes right to the heart of indigenous
peoples’ efforts to gain recognition for their rights.
“With the increasing desire of states for more economic growth, senseless
exploitation of indigenous peoples’ territories and resources continues
unabated,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the United Nations
Permanent Forum. She further stated that the majority of the world’s remaining
natural resources – minerals, freshwater, potential energy sources and more –
are found within indigenous peoples’ territories. Access to and ownership and
development of these resources remains a contentious issue.
Although, in recent decades, some progress has been made in the area of legal
recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to the protection and control of their
lands, territories and natural resources, in practical terms, this recognition
has not always translated into reality. Threats to indigenous peoples’ lands and
territories include such things as mineral extraction, logging, environmental
contamination, privatization and development projects, the classification of
lands as protected areas or game reserves, the use of genetically modified seeds
and technology, and monoculture cash crop production.