19 February, 2019

Interventions of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group at the 2016 meeting of the HLPF on Sustainable Development

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Interventions of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group at the 2016 meeting of the high-level political forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, United Nations Headquarters in New York, 11-20 July 2016.



IPMG Intervention on HLPF/Session 3: Ensuring that no one is left behind--lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs:  July 11, 2016

Grace Balawag, Tebtebba –Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education

Thanks for this opportunity to intervene on behalf of the IPMG….

For Indigenous Peoples, this session on lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs …  is  most relevant. Why?  Because Indigenous Peoples are more often than not, included as among the world’s most vulnerable, discriminated and disadvantaged populations. However, it must also be clear from the outset that the 2030 Agenda  should not only consider Indigenous Peoples as recipients of development, but also as active partners and agents of self –determined development to their lands, territories and resources; and have been contributors to transformational change  through our traditional knowledge systems and innovations developed over generations.

For indigenous peoples, lifting people out of poverty means to promote non-monetary measures of well-being; instead of just boxing people based on the $1.25 income.   For example, targets under SDG Goal 1 on ending poverty:  should fully reflect the special situations of  land-based and natural-resource-based Indigenous Peoples; and that governments should include  an indicator on the recognition of  IP land tenure rights, which is very crucial in lifting IPs out of poverty.  Another  indicator should also be included on the recognition and  strengthening of Indigenous Peoples’  diverse local economies  and traditional livelihoods and occupations that are based on subsistence and harmonious relationship with lands, natural environment and diverse ecosystems, not necessarily measured by monetary income.  

In relation to the recognition of land tenure rights and traditional local economies and livelihoods, there is also a need for cross referencing the achievement of agenda 2030 and the  SDGs with other government commitments on Human Rights and  international conventions that recognizes IPs’ rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP.

Furthermore, for indigenous peoples, the aspiration of the SDGs in  lifting people out of poverty  and addressing basic need also means the full respect, recognition and fulfillment of our collective rights as distinct Indigenous Peoples. These will ensure equality and non-discrimination; and accord us with our dignity and well-being as  active partners in the implementation of the SDGs.

Having said this, the IPMG will again ask, how will the governments ensure that  land tenure rights is included as an indicator  under SDGs; and how will Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized stakeholders  should be actively involved in the follow-up and implementation of the development agenda and the SDGs, to ensure that no one will be left behind?  



Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group Statement at the HLPF 2030 Development Agenda on Session 7: Science-Policy Interface: new ideas, insights, and solutions

Delivered by Grace Balawag, Tebtebba-Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, 12 July 2016

Thank you Chair,  and thank you for all the insights from panelists. Thanks again for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group. 

IPMG would like to highlight the summary recommendations from: The first annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI Forum) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “This called for strengthening efforts to create innovative knowledge societies, advance STI policy coherence to enable technology development and diffusion, and support social technologies that are critical for changing mindsets and behaviors and helping those who are left behind. It further highlighted the needto strengthen dialogue between stakeholders and governments, and to promote a conducive environment for sharing and exchanging ideas and success stories, suggesting new initiatives and partnerships, and identifying practical means and solutions to foster STI in all countries. It  further calls for the Forum to consider various sources of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, and provide concrete, practical guidance on how to make STI for the SDGs a reality”.

Having said that, I would like to emphasize that we are missing the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ contributions and insights into the science-technology-policy interface.  Being stewards and custodians of many of the world's most biologically diverse ecosystems for generations, Indigenous peoples verifiably hold a wealth of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices on diverse ecosystems management and technologies, traditional health systems and medicinal plants; agricultural production and food systems, local crops and seeds, herding and pastoralism,  among others. Indigenous Peoples, including indigenous women, have a proven track record of responsible management of natural resources in forests, deserts, tundra, small islands, agricultural lands within `diverse ecosystems.

Further, the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to sustainable development should not only be recognized and respected, but whenever possible, celebrated as models of  proven good practices with the potential to benefit all mankind. As active agents and drivers of change, Indigenous Peoples are important part of the solution towards the implementation of the SDGs; and this should be reflected in the monitoring and review envisaged for the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

However, while these realities are increasingly recognized among mainstream sectors, Indigenous Peoples continue to be threatened and excluded in  necessary processes in the development and implementation of science and technological solutions; and have been facing risks and challenges on such technologies which have been impacting Indigenous Peoples territories, lands and resources. Instead of enhancing social and environmental protection, such technological solutions have resulted to increased inequalities, marginalization and impoverishment of IP communities. For example, the implementation of  large-scale renewable energy projects such as hydro-electric  dams and geothermal energy projects have resulted to massive social conflicts and environmental destruction within IP lands, territories and resources; especially without the implementation of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected IPs. The implementation of these supposedly considered “clean development technologies and solutions” resulted to killings of IP leaders defending their rights, had caused massive displacements of IP communities,  and to more exclusion and marginalization of Indigenous peoples who were displaced from their traditional lands and territories.  And these are continuing risks and threats to the survival of many Indigenous Peoples in the name of development and clean development technologies?  So how can we say that no one will be left behind, if these large scale technologies and projects are part of the 2030 Development Agenda, but continue to threaten the survival of indigenous Peoples? How can scientific and technological communities directly assist in promoting Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems interfaced with more appropriate and viable innovations managed by  local communities?

On the one hand, there are many  alternative solutions that should be prioritized which include the promotion of community-based renewable energy or other appropriate technologies. Given the appropriate technological and technical trainings, these will be owned and sustainably managed by indigenous Peoples and local communities. Furthermore,  these community-managed initiatives should be supported and scaled up; and  should enable the environment for local and regional partnerships as an effective way for longterm sustainable implementation. The HLPF should integrate such viable alternatives  and partnerships in its emerging monitoring and review framework, which will really serve as a platform for drawing attention to alternative solutions especially in areas requiring policy attention in regard to partnerships’ contribution to SDG implementation.