United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Indigenous Peoples

CSD13- Interactive discussions Access to basic water services.
Indigenous Peoples.- 12.4.2004
Estebancio Castro, International Indian Treaty Council and Lucy Mulenkei, Indigenous
Information Network
Thank you Madame Chair,
Indigenous Peoples all over the world live in remote areas where accesses to basic
facilities are not available. Indigenous women and children have to walk for long
distances to look for water. As we face climatical changes world wide, water has become
scarce and the only sources drying up. This has brought serious conflict among many
communities. As Indigenous Peoples we have key points we would like to bring up the
following Policy options and measures;
1. Indigenous Peoples interest on water and customary uses must be recognized
by governments by ensuring that indigenous peoples? rights are enshrined in
national legislation and policy.
2. States must improved water governance which ensures effective use of existing
resources and the active participation of indigenous peoples and all
stakeholders; a substantial increase in financing water infrastructure and targeted
financing schemes; and mechanisms for empowerment and capacity building.
3. Effective development and management of water resources, efficient and
equitable provision of water supply and sanitation services are essential for
poverty reduction, ecosystem protection and sustainable growth.
4. Indigenous Peoples and local communities must be active participants in the
implementation of the Joint Plan of Implementation (JPOI) targets, the Millennium
Development Goals (MDG) and planning and implementation of the Integrated
Water Resource Management (IWRM) plans, the Integrated River Basin
Management (IRBM) initiative and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs).
5. Governments should acknowledge the basic human right to water that the UN
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC) affirmed in
November 2002. Recognition of this right in national policy-making and
legislation is critical to bring about fundamental approach to poverty eradication.
6. Water must remain in public sector and all governments commit to pubic sector
delivery of water. There must be assurance that adequate financial resources are
made available and adequate local capacity is built.
7. Implement an ecological approach that incorporates Indigenous Traditional
Ecological Knowledge (TEK) principles of water management.
8. Integrate indigenous TEK principles of the sacred nature of water.
Thank you Madame Chair