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EMRIP Item 7: Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in the UN System
July 12, 2017

EMRIP A.I. 7, “Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in the UN System”

U.S. Intervention as delivered by Kate Gorove

Wednesday, July 12, 2017; morning session

Thank you, Mr. Chair. We wish to thank the esteemed advisers of the GA process for all of their hard work on this topic. Thank you also for your presentation today.

Indigenous peoples’ effective participation in the UN system has been and continues to be a top priority for the United States. We have long championed hearing indigenous peoples’ perspectives at the UN as described this morning, and have been actively participating in these negotiations in New York. Demonstrating our commitment to this process, the U.S. government regularly held consultations with U.S. tribal leaders and NGO representatives to determine how best to proceed in advancing a UN General Assembly resolution on enhanced participation of indigenous peoples’ representative institutions in UN bodies.  As we have heard, despite the best efforts of the four advisers, many Member States, and indigenous peoples to craft a substantive consensus text, agreement on enhanced participation for Indigenous peoples could not be reached.

The United States is disappointed that these differences could not be resolved, in part due to extremely complex policy considerations, but also due to many states’ concerns about the consequences of UN participation for indigenous communities in their territories.

Despite this unfortunate setback, the United States takes a firm view the participatory rights that indigenous peoples already have at the UN – exercised by indigenous peoples’ representative institutions and non-governmental organizations – as the baseline requirement that should not be diminished.  We will continue to support and encourage indigenous groups to participate in meetings of interest to them, whether through non-governmental organizations, peoples’ representative institutions and other indigenous organizations or other means, in Geneva, New York, or elsewhere.  We encourage other member states to do the same.

Thank you.