By Simone Lovera and Mrinalina Rai
One would think that if two conferences take place in the very same building at the very same time, there would be some connection between the discussions and outcomes. Alas, in the big bureaucratic jungle of the UN Headquarters in New York this is usually not the case. In April, for example, a colorful meeting of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) with hundreds of Indigenous representatives was held literally down the corridor from a meeting to elaborate the post-2015 development agenda. The UNPFII recommended amongst others that the action points on data disaggregation, land rights, traditional knowledge, the implementation of free, prior and informed consent, access to justice and traditional knowledge agreed upon in the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples should be integrated in the post-2015 development agenda. It further recommended that Indigenous Peoples be engaged in the Expert Group in developing key indicators to monitor implementation of the proposed agenda. But sadly these recommendations were almost squarely ignored in the post-2015 process. Despite its central message “Leave No One Behind”, Indigenous Peoples remain almost invisible in the goals and targets. Only one of the proposed indicators recognizes the roles that Indigenous Peoples and local communities and their conservation initiatives can play in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and this indicator is under threat as being considered ‘unfeasible’.
Similarly, while these meetings were literally back-to-back to a meeting of the UN Forum on Forests, the Forum (UNFF) paid virtually no attention to the latest stage of negotiations on the post-2015 agenda, or to the recommendations of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The UNFF did recommend at the end of the session that it wanted “forests” to be taken into account in the post-2015 agenda, though. Obviously, interagency coordination is a one-way street for the foresters that still dominate the UNFF; the rest of the world should listen to the UNFF, according to the UNFF, but the UNFF can totally ignore what is happening in other forest-related processes. Continue reading