U.N. Holds Inaugural World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

By Courtney Cox

During the week of September 22, thousands of participants gathered from around the globe in New York for the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The conference took place seven years after the General Assembly’s adoption of the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The purpose of the conference was to create effective strategies to fully implement the declaration’s essential goals: equality, dignity, and full-participation in affairs that affect the indigenous.

The U.N. News Centre reports that participants adopted an ‘Outcome Document’ which, according to General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, will result in “sweeping changes for current and future generations of indigenous peoples.” Under the Outcome Document, governments promised to obtain indigenous peoples’ free and informed consent before approving projects that affect indigenous resources and land. The document also prioritized ensuring indigenous health, violence prevention and high quality education