International Expert Group Discusses Indigenous Peoples and Forests

14 January 2011: International experts on indigenous peoples gathered at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 12-14 January 2011, to discuss indigenous peoples and forests.

The purpose of the meeting was to: analyze enshrined rights of indigenous peoples within international standards and policies; analyze opportunities for partnerships for indigenous peoples on forest issues and how such arrangements might be informed by good practices and corporate responsibility models; propose strategies to advance indigenous peoples rights in forests including capacity building measures and activities; and elaborate recommendations on strategies to strengthen indigenous peoples' rights, livelihoods, communities, cultural practices and resource management systems in forests. Participants heard presentations on: case studies of the positive and negative effects of development within forest areas on indigenous peoples and their communities; factors that enable or obstruct indigenous peoples' participation in decision-making in relation to forests; and human rights and corporate responsibility in forest development programmes and projects. Participants further discussed strategies to identify gaps and challenges and a possible way forward.

The final report and recommendations of the Expert Group Meeting will be submitted to the tenth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which will be held in May 2011. [Expert Group Meeting website]