First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Opens at UN Headquarters
A woman of Quechua ancestry in the mining town iof Llallagua, in the Bolivian department of Potosí. After the collapse
of tin prices in the early 1980's, mining towns have fallen into decay, their population has diminished and mostly the
elderly remain. UNIC La Paz/Noelia Zelaya
21 September 2014 – The week of high-level events that marks the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's annual
general debate kicks off today with the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).
Convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly, the two-day World Conference
is expected to draw over a thousand indigenous and non-indigenous delegates who will have the opportunity to share
perspectives and best practices on the realization of their rights, including pursuing the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007.
represent remarkable diversity – more than 5,000 distinct groups in some 90 countries, making up more than 5 per cent
of the world's population, some 370 million people. These peoples continue to self-identify as distinct peoples with
strong links to traditional territories with their own social, economic and political systems as well as unique
languages, cultures and beliefs.
The World Conference is expected to result in a concise, action-oriented outcome document on the implementation the
rights of indigenous peoples and the promotion of the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, prepared
by the President of the General Assembly on the basis of inclusive and open consultations with Member States and
at the Conference are expected to be delivered by General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, among others.
The opening plenary will also include an opening ceremony involving indigenous peoples and the adoption of the World
Conference outcome document.
The meetings will be co-chaired by indigenous representatives from all regions: Pacific, African and Asian, as well as
Western and Eastern European, and Latin American and the Caribbean.