World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Draws Participants from Across the Globe

September 30, 2014

The September 21-22nd United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (UNWCIP) attracted delegates, world leaders, scholars, activists, community members, and students from across the globe. The first UN General Assembly Conference held on Indigenous Peoples since the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the World Conference produced an outcome document that reaffirms the principles of the Declaration and calls on member states to incorporate Indigenous peoples more fully into political and development projects.

With welcome addresses from the presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, Finland, Estonia, and other member states, the World Conference also included plenary addresses from Indigenous leaders, including Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Seneca leader Oren Lyons (pictured here with YGSNA members Katie Jones, Jorge Cuéllar, Tiffany Hale, and Justin Brooks following the plenary session) Lyons reminded the UN member states of his previous address before the General Assembly in 1992 when he opened the UN’s Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and how Indigenous communities have always remained environmental stewards. The World Conference followed the New York City Climate March and preceded the UN’s climate talks of 2014.

YGSNA was again recognized as a supporting organization within the UN and sent half a dozen representatives to the UN Conference, deepening the working group’s understanding and engagement with contemporary global Indigenous rights, politics, and policy developments.