"Indigenous peoples" cannot be "deleted" from new UN development goals

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UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must not be a step backwards for indigenous peoples, a group of UN experts warned on Friday.

Their call came after a meeting was held in New York last week to draft a new set of goals which will be presented to the UN General Assembly in September.

The goals are set to replace existing poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals or MGDs, the deadline for which is 2015.

The group of experts noted with concern that all references to 'indigenous peoples' had been deleted in the latest draft of the outcome document, even though the term had been included in earlier drafts.

Using the term "indigenous and local communities" instead undermines the gains achieved by indigenous peoples regarding their assertion of their distinct identity as peoples and the rights accorded to them under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," the group said.

Indigenous people have not been granted enough attention in national development processes and efforts to achieve the MDGs.

The new sustainable development goals present a unique opportunity to remedy these shortcomings and historical injustices resulting from racism, discrimination and inequalities long suffered by the indigenous people across the global, the group underscored.

The experts urged States to use the term 'indigenous peoples' consistently in the outcome document and to listen to proposals made by indigenous representatives in this process.

Anzhelika Devis, United Nations.

Duration: 1’35″

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