Indigenous Peoples' Millennium
Conference Statement
May 7-11, 2001
We, the Indigenous Peoples of all regions of the World - Arctic/Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, Central and South America and Caribbean, Pacific, and the Former USSR/Eastern Europe attending the Indigenous Peoples' Millennium Conference in Panama City from May 7 to May 11, 2001:

Note with satisfaction the active presence of all of the regions of the world at this Conference and our progress in understanding each other's realities. Whether we identify ourselves as Indigenous, Aboriginal, Tribal, Autonomous, First Nations, Native Peoples, First Peoples or, by other terms, it gives us great pride, hope and satisfaction that as Peoples we can, together, work ardently for the recognition of our rights and the preservation and restoration of our values, cultural identities and way of life.

Have discussed several topics of great concern to us. Among these were:

- The UN International Decade for the World's Indigenous Peoples;

- The upcoming UN World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance;

- The UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

- The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

- The UN Studies on Treaties, Land and the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples;

- Indigenous Peoples and economic colonization and globalization, in particular in the context of the TRIPS, WTO, IMF, WIPO, CBD, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the World Bank and Agenda 21; - The OAS process;

- ILO and UN Specialized Agencies; and

- Conflict Resolution, human rights instruments and complaint procedures.

As a result of these discussions, we have formed a global consensus in the following areas;


With regard to previous statements:

Endorse the following statements of Indigenous Peoples, their representatives and organizations, made in preparation for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Durban, South Africa, August 31-September 7, 2001:

Community Consultation on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Kampala, Uganda, April 30 - May 3, 2001

Indigenous Peoples and Racism Conference: Regional meeting of Indigenous Peoples of Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the United States, held in Sydney, Australia, February 20 - 22, 2001

Declaration of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, in Santiago the Chile December 5 - 7, 2000

The Abokobi Declaration, in Ghana, April 7 - 10, 2001

The Kidal Declaration, in Kidal, Mali, January 8 - 13, 2001


With regard to Indigenous Peoples, the right of self-determination, the right to land and territories including submerged lands, waters and natural resources:

Call upon States to finally recognize that Indigenous Peoples are "Peoples", with the full meaning that attaches to that term under international law. As Indigenous representatives have stated repeatedly, throughout the years, it is inconsistent to distinguish between the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and other peoples. This has the purpose or effect of nullifying and impairing all the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is therefore racist and constitutes race-based discrimination. It is an affront to our human dignity;

Reiterate that among the human rights violated is the fundamental right of self-determination. We hold it self-evident that as "Peoples", Indigenous Peoples have the same right of self-determination as all other peoples of the world;

Reiterate further that it is time that States recognize the unique spiritual relationship between Indigenous Peoples and our lands and territories, including submerged lands, waters and natural resources, and that the right to these resources is inseparably linked to our right of self-determination;

With regard to our ancestral lands, call upon the world community to recognize and adequately address a new form of racism, that of environmental racism. The world community must immediately prevent the ruination of Indigenous lands and waters, including rising sea levels due to ozone depletion, the depletion of our natural resources, submerged lands and waters, through the prevention of so-called development schemes and unsustainable practices such as over fishing, mining, deforestation, the dumping of contaminated waste, and other land use practices that do not respect but do discriminate against our way of life;


With regard to Indigenous Peoples' cultural heritage and identity, genetic resources, traditional knowledge, expressions of folklore and other such resources:

Recognize that the extension of colonialism, in all its expressions, continues to divest Indigenous Peoples of our ancestral lands and territories, traditional knowledge, of our cultural and intellectual heritage, spiritual practices and our way of life. This is the cause of the loss and ruination of our identities and our cultures and, even now, extends to the loss of our plant, animal and human genetic resources;

Hold it self-evident that all rights to Indigenous Peoples' cultural heritage, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and expressions of folklore are inherently ours;

Recognize the paramount impact that international agreements and institutions, such as the CBD, TRIPS, WTO, IMF, WIPO, UNCTAD, the Convention on Climate Change, the World Bank and Agenda 21 have on the lives of Indigenous Peoples. It is therefore fundamental that Indigenous Peoples are given full and effective participation in all the work carried out within such institutions. We urge States and financial institutions to provide funds and other resources to facilitate the participation of Indigenous Peoples in these fora;

Recognize further the need to inform and educate members of Indigenous communities about the CBD, TRIPS, WTO, IMF, WIPO, the World Bank, UNCTAD, Agenda 21 and other international agreements and institutions and the processes relating to them. This so that whatever decisions Indigenous communities decide to take with regard to their genetic resources, traditional knowledge, folklore or other related matters, are made with their free and prior informed consent; Express great concern about the World Bank's current revisions of Operational Directive 4.20 on Indigenous Peoples and recommend the following:

- that the World Bank's Operation and Evaluation Department conduct and complete an open and participatory review of Bank implementation of Operational Directive 4.20 as a foundation for drafting its Operational Directives, Bank Practices and Sourcebook;

- that national and regional workshops be organized by the World Bank as part of its implementation review and revision process; and

- that the World Bank uphold international standards on human rights including providing for the free and prior informed consent of Indigenous Peoples to all World Bank programmes and projects affecting Indigenous Peoples;

Concerned that the activities of regional financial institutions and trade agreements, such as inter alia the Asian Development Bank, has resulted in the marginalization and impoverishment of Indigenous Peoples, we call on these institutions to:

- ensure that any project or programme that is carried out in Indigenous lands and territories is undertaken only with the full and prior informed consent, and with the full and effective participation, of the peoples concerned, and if such consent is not achieved, that these institutions withdraw from such areas;

- respect and promote Indigenous Peoples' rights; and,

- guarantee that these institutions' policies and programmes are given greater transparency.

Oppose the World Trade Organization Agreements that violate the rights and well-being of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the Agreements on Agriculture and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). These illegitimate agreements undermine our diverse economics and cultural heritage;

Call for a moratorium on any further trade negotiations and agreements, subject to a review and revision of all existing agreements to meet the requirements for equity and sustainability;

Stand united with broad sections of civil society in condemning the undemocratic, inequitable and non-transparent character of the World Trade Organization;

Call on states to engage with organizations representing Indigenous Peoples within their land and territories, to explore alternative mechanisms for protecting the collective heritage, cultural identity, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore of Indigenous Peoples;


With regard to international environmental processes:

Urge Indigenous Peoples and their organizations to participate in international environmental processes including inter alia: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the United Nations Forum on Forests;

Call for the active participation of Indigenous Peoples and their organizations in the World Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 10) to be realized in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002, as well as in the preparatory activities at the local, national, sub-regional and international levels;

Noting that the General Assembly Resolution on Rio + 10 "encourages effective contributions from and the active participation of all major groups as identified in Agenda 21, at all stages of the preparatory process," and "stresses that the preparatory meetings and the 2002 summit itself should be transparent and provide for ... contributions and active participation of major groups," we call upon governments and international agencies to:

- Review progress in the realization of the objectives and activities set out in Agenda 21 and in related instruments and processes with respect to Indigenous Peoples on the local, national, sub-regional, regional and international levels;

- Guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the preparation of national reports and the review of such reports;

- Guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the sub-regional and regional preparatory processes;

- Guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the preparatory committee meetings of the World Summit on Sustainable Development;

- Support the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples as a major theme of the Rio + 10 summit as a contribution to review the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Peoples and the proposed World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2004; and

- Guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples within the World Summit on Sustainable Development through the trust fund and other appropriate financial instruments.


With regard to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

Welcome the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);

Endorse the Regional Division adopted by the Indigenous Caucus in Geneva on November 26, 2000, during the 6th Session of the Open Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on the Draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, for the nomination of Indigenous members of the Permanent Forum. These regions are Arctic/Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, Central/South America and Caribbean, Pacific, Former USSR and Eastern Europe and an additional seat to rotate between the three regions Asia, Africa and Central/South America and the Caribbean. The first additional seat will go to the region Central/South America and Caribbean;

Aware of the request of the UN Secretary General to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the role of lead agency for the establishment of the Permanent Forum, reiterate that the lack of a separate Secretariat for the Permanent Forum will seriously hamper the fulfillment of the mandate of the Permanent Forum;

Request the UN Secretary General to ensure that preference be given to Indigenous Peoples' candidates in the staffing of the Secretariat as a promotion of "the integration and coordination of activities relating to Indigenous issues within the UN system".


Other important points:

Recommend a comprehensive review of the UN International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples;

Call upon States - in consultation with Indigenous Peoples - to support in any way appropriate and necessary the work of the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, including providing the Special Rapporteur with adequate funding;

Urge States to commit themselves more strongly to the UN Voluntary Fund and increase their contributions thereto, in order to allow Indigenous representatives to participate effectively in all UN conferences and meetings of concern to them;

Call for a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held at the end of the UN International Decade for the World's Indigenous Peoples in the year 2004;


With regard to international conventions and declarations:

Call on the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change to ensure and guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples within that process as has occurred in the Working Group on article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity;

Urge States, where Indigenous Peoples so request, that have not yet ratified ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples to do so. States that have already ratified the ILO Convention No. 169 should work with Indigenous Peoples to implement and adhere to the principles and concepts of this Convention. States should further facilitate and ensure the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the ILO;

Recommend strongly the immediate adoption of the Draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, approved by the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Resolution 1994/45. Where applicable, we further urge States and their regional State organizations to adopt the principles of the Draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in applicable regional declarations on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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