UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

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The 23rd session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently commenced in New York, United States.

About UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII):

  • It was created in 2000 as an advisory body to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health, and human rights.
  • According to its mandate, the Permanent Forum will:
    • Provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the Council, as well as to programmes, funds, and agencies of the United Nations, through the Council.
    • Raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of activitiesrelated to indigenous issues within the UN system.
    • Prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.
  • The first meeting of the Permanent Forum was held in May 2002, and yearly sessions take place in New York.
  • It is one of three UN bodies that is mandated to deal specifically with Indigenous Peoples’ issues.
    • The others are the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Members:

It is comprised of sixteen independent experts, functioning in their personal capacity, who serve for a term of three years as members and may bere-elected or re-appointed for one additional term.

Eight of the members are nominated by governments, and eight are nominated directly by indigenous organisations in their regions.

  • The Permanent Forum holds annual two-week sessions.
  • The annual sessions provide an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples from around the world to have direct dialogue with members of the Forum, Member States, the UN system, including human rights and other expert bodies, as well as academics and NGOs. 
  • It prepares a report of the session containing recommendations and draft decisions, which is submit­ted to the ECOSOC.

Q1: What is the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)?

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), responsible for the direction and coordination of the economic, social, humanitarian, and cultural activities carried out by the UN. It is the UN’s largest and most complex subsidiary body. ECOSOC was established by the UN Charter (1945), which was amended in 1965 and 1974 to increase the number of members from 18 to 54. ECOSOC membership is based on geographic representation

Source: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Progress towards protecting indigenous territories slow, say experts