United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoplesf statement for the major group intervention session,
land Wednesday 25th February 2009
IPM Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
February23]27, 2009, United Nations, New York, New York
Land rights are crucial in ensuring the survival for Indigenous Peoples around the world.
Land is and has been the centre of numerous conflicts involving indigenous communities,
particularly as a result of globalization. The impact of new economic processes can be
dramatic as seen in many new agricultural modernizations Agricultural and other
economic activities in Indigenous Peoples lands have to be accompanied by integrated
and holistic management of natural resources like biodiversity, forests and watersheds
which are crucial to the survival of indigenous peoples worldwide. Livelihoods can be
sustained if policies guiding the exploitation and use of land and natural resources
address the dual challenges of resource conservation and poverty reduction. There is need
therefore as Policy priorities to:
�� It is important to respect, recognize and promote indigenous peoples' customary
laws on the ownership, use and management of lands and resources for their
continued survival and well-being
�� Reform land laws and agrarian policies towards secure tenure and land rights for
indigenous peoples. It is important then to ensure the participation of Indigenous
peoples in the process of these reforms.
�� Recognize the multiple environmental, social, cultural and spiritual values of
land, sea and natural resources and the cosmovisions of indigenous peoples
�� Promote food sovereignty based on the rights to food and self-determination and
further promote options that do not depend on agriculture yet provide income
opportunity such as agribusiness and food transport, tourism and handicrafts.
�� Adopt trade policies that promote and sustain indigenous production and
livelihoods in agro-forestry, livestock, marine and other traditional occupations
and local, regional and national markets
�� Global Poverty is overwhelming and Indigenous Peoples remain the poor of the
poorest. There is need then to improve the infrastructure, security,
communication, human and social capital, promote non farming employment and
manage the land and natural resource in a sustainable way with full recognition
of traditional institution of indigenous Peoples.
�� Special policies and provisions are required to ensure that women own and mange
land and natural resource and retain control over income generating asserts in
their own respective communities. Women should be guaranteed representation
in decision-making at all levels.
Thank you Madam Chair.
Presented for Indigenous Peoples major group by Lucy Mulenkei- Indigenous Information Network