United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Indigenous Peoples

UN Commission on Sustainable Development 14th Session
Thematic Discussion Session
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Indigenous Peoples Caucus Statement within the Morning Thematic Session on ?Enhancing the
Contributions of the Private Sector and Other Stakeholders in Addressing Air Pollution and
Atmospheric Problems, Combating Climate Change and Promoting Industrial Development?
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network/International Indian Treaty Council,
member of the Indigenous Caucus
The Indigenous Peoples Caucus would like to make a few points concerning barriers and
constraints of business and private sector investments and operations within indigenous peoples
territories and lands. Securing investments for sustainable energy initiatives within indigenous
communities and villages is a serious priority in both developing and developed countries.
However, it is our observations that before sustaining relationships could be established between
the private sector and indigenous communities, the following observations are made.
The current regime of industrial and energy related development within the territories of
indigenous peoples, world wide, has a long history of human rights violations against our peoples.
Some examples of these developments are: large hydro dams; oil and gas extraction, production
and processing; coal and uranium mining; nuclear waste dumping from the nuclear energy
industry; resulting in human and ecological health impacts from atmospheric pollutants and climate
There is a ne ed for mechanisms for the private sector and investors to recognize the selfdetermination
and rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the principles of human rights.
Within these thematic sessions, there has been recognition that good governance is a pre-requisite
for effective investments in sustainable energy and in actions to resolve issues of climate change
and atmospheric pollution. Barriers exist within countries that demand the strengthening and
increasing the transparency of administrative and le gal frameworks especially within policy and
implementation of targets and timelines from Agenda 21 and JPOI.
Good governance is equally important at a corporate level. In the aftermath of Enron and
WorldCom, it is essential for corporations and the private sector to continue to demonstrate best
practices in corporate governance.
Barriers of trust is a real issue in formulating dialogue and partnerships between the private sector
and indigenous and local communities. There is an increased need for corporations to improve
social and environmental performance ? and especially in the assessment of cultural sensitive
impacts. At the WSSD, there was a strong call from many NGOs and civil society for mandatory
rules on Corporate Social Responsibility. Within the territories of indigenous peoples and local
communities, the private sector must demonstrate corporate accountability, and this should take
place within a transparent and regulatory environmental framework with effective enforcement and
compliance of environmental and health laws.
Thank you.