Canada’s delegation to UNPFII advocates for the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples, including the unique and diverse perspectives of Indigenous youth

NEW YORK, April 15, 2024 /CNW/ – Unceded territory of the Lenape – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The strong voices of Indigenous youth are changing communities, challenging the status quo, and taking the lead in building a better, fairer, and more sustainable future for all people in Canada. Today, Indigenous leaders, youth, and community representatives, alongside Canadian federal officials and those from member states from around the world, came together for the opening of the 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Over the span of 10 days, participants will gather as part of an ongoing international dialogue on Indigenous rights and issues across the globe. The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, led Canada’s delegation to UNPFII, which includes First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders and youth. This year’s theme, focused on emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth, provides the opportunity for an inter-generational dialogue on a variety of topics, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Advocacy at the United Nations (UN) by Indigenous youth is essential given their diverse and valuable perspectives in areas such as enhancing the participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN. Canada continues to support the goal of creating a new category for Indigenous participation at the UN since the issue was last negotiated in 2017.

To highlight the importance of dialogue, Minister Anandasangaree, the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, and the Indigenous Coordinating Body on Enhanced Participation co-hosted an event between Indigenous leaders and youth from across the globe. This event highlighted current efforts being made to promote the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in global policy and decision-making and to ensure that the unique perspectives, knowledge, and wisdom of Indigenous Peoples, including Indigenous youth, are brought to the forefront of international discussions.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 66 calls for the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices. Since 2019, Canada has invested in a five-year Indigenous youth pilot program, led by an Indigenous youth organization called Indigenous Youth Roots. Canada continues to empower Indigenous youth and promote greater inclusion in policy-making, and there is more to do. Indigenous youth also play an important role in the implementation of the UN Declaration Act Action Plan, which ensures sustained and continued efforts to uphold the human rights of Indigenous Peoples now and in the future. The active participation of Indigenous youth in the consultation and cooperation process for the UN Declaration Act Action Plan, including the measures that specifically respond to the rights of Indigenous youth, further supports the inclusion of Indigenous youth in transformational work that will move the dial forward on reconciliation. Meaningful work is underway, but there is more to do.

It is essential that Indigenous Peoples, including Indigenous youth, have the space to speak in their own voices on the issues affecting them and their communities, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes for all generations ahead.

Quotes

“I am truly inspired by the many courageous Indigenous youth from across the globe whom I have had the opportunity to listen to and learn from during my time at the Permanent Forum. To all the young people I met at the United Nations and beyond, I commit to help amplify your voices so you can be at the tables where decisions are made that impact you.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Being here at the United Nations is an opportunity to bring awareness and attention to the youth. There is a lot to deal with in the past but we need to look forward. Joining the UNPFII is about reaching out, connecting, and inspiring. We are giving hope for a brighter future for our youth.”

Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse, O.B.C, LL.D. (hon.). Tribal Chair
Tŝilhqot’in National Government

Quick facts
  • The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is a high-level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Forum was established on July 28, 2000, with the mandate to support Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights.
  • The theme for the 23rd Session of the Permanent Forum is, “Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth”.
  • The Permanent Forum provides expert advice and recommendations on Indigenous priorities to the ECOSOC, as well as to programs, funds, and agencies of the United Nations. It also:
    • raises awareness and promotes the integration and coordination of activities related to Indigenous issues within the UN system;
    • prepares and shares information on Indigenous issues; and,
    • promotes respect for and full application of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The Permanent Forum is one of three UN-mandated bodies that deal with Indigenous areas of interest. The other two are the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Released on June 21, 2023, the UN Declaration Act Action Plan provides a roadmap for implementing the UN Declaration and achieving its the objectives.
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada