By Ahni Sep 17, 2012 1 Comment
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously agreed to organize a high-level plenary meeting in 2014, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).
If all went according to plan, the conference would bring together Indigenous Nations and Nation States “to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” in the words of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.
Given the sheer number of indigenous rights-based conflicts around the world–there are over 500, including the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, the Tar Sands in Canada and the systematic suppression of the Peoples of West Papua by the government of Indonesia–such a conference is desperately needed.
The question is: will the conference go according to plan? Will it really provide the space that Indigenous Peoples need to advance their basic rights? Or, will it be turned into yet another UN-sponsored sideshow that accomplishes nothing substantive?
We’re still a couple years away from the actual conference, so it’s too early to say for sure. However, recent developments may provide an answer.