First and second International Decades of the World’s Indigenous People
As a sign of the growing awareness within the UN system on indigenous peoples issues, the General Assembly in 1994 launched the first Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004). The idea was to secure an increasing UN commitment to promote and protect indigenous peoples’ rights. To turn this into concrete action, several UN agencies started working with indigenous peoples when designing and implementing projects on issues ranging from health, education, employment and development to environment. The inclusion of indigenous peoples should make sure that projects were promoting the protection of their traditional customs, values and practices.
Even before the launching of the first Decade, participants at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights recommended that a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples should be established within the framework of the first Decade. As a culminating point of the Decade, this was achieved in May 2002 when the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held its first session in UN headquarters in New York. (see section below)
Dignity and Action
The first Decade of the World’s Indigenous People was followed up by a second International Decade (2005-2015). Under the slogan “Partnership for Action and Dignity”, work is to be continued with the goal of further strengthening international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous peoples in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development. In the outline of the objectives of the Second Decade, even more importance is attached to inclusion of indigenous peoples in decision-making at all levels.
A trust fund has been established to support projects which promote the goals and objectives of the Decade. Further information on the fund can be found on: www.un.org/…funding_guidelines_en.pdf