International Year for the World's Indigenous People : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly

  • Author: UN General Assembly (46th sess. : 1991-1992)
  • Document source:
  • Date:
    17 December 1991

The General Assembly,

Bearing in mind that one of the purposes of the United Nations set forth in the Charter is the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Reaffirming its resolution 45/164 of 18 December 1990, proclaiming 1993 as the International Year for the World's Indigenous People, with a view to strengthening international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous communities in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education and health,

Taking into account the guidelines for international years and anniversaries adopted by the General Assembly in its decision 35/424 of 5 December 1980,

Bearing in mind Commission on Human Rights resolution 1991/57 of 6 March 1991,

Noting with satisfaction the initiatives taken by the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund in its decision 1991/7 of 3 May 1991 and the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in its decision 91/12 o f 25 June 1991 in response to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1991/57,

Noting the entry into force on 5 September 1991 of the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (No. 169) of the International Labour Organisation,

Welcoming decision 3/7 of 4 September 1991 of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development regarding the opportunity afforded by the International Year for the World's Indigenous People as a first step towards mobilizing international technical and financial cooperation for the self-development of indigenous people and their communities,

Having been informed of the endorsement by the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities at its forty-third session of the second working paper submitted by Mr. Asbj?rn Eide and Ms. Christy Mbonu,

Mindful of the preparatory process for the World Conference on Human Rights to be held in 1993,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General regarding the preparations for and the organization of the International Year for the World's Indigenous People,

Recognizing the value and the diversity of the cultures and the forms of social organization of the world's indigenous people,

1.         Requests the Secretary-General to proclaim, during the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly, the theme "Indigenous people - a new partnership" as the theme for the International Year for the World's Indigenous People;

2.         Recommends that the specialized agencies, regional commissions and other organizations of the United Nations system, in their consideration of the contributions that they can make to the success of the Year, be guided by the ways in which:

(a)        Their operational activities can most effectively contribute to the solution of problems faced by indigenous people;

(b)        Indigenous people can play an important role in the planning, implementation and evaluation of projects which may affect them;

3.         Encourages States to consult with indigenous people, and non- governmental organizations working with them, regarding activities for the Year;

4.         Invites States to inform the Secretary-General of their initiatives;

5.         Adopts the programme of activities for the International Year for the World's Indigenous People, contained in the annex to the present resolution;

6.         Recommends the appointment of the Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights as the Coordinator for the Year with functional duties to be assigned to the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat in conjunction with the Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Cooperation of the Secretariat and the International Labour Organisation;

7.         Requests the Coordinator actively to solicit the cooperation of other elements of the United Nations system, including financial and development institutions;

8.         Decides:

(a)        That the Coordinator shall convene early in 1992 a technical meeting of agencies, regional commissions and other relevant organizations of the United Nations system with representatives of States, indigenous peoples' organizations and other non-governmental organizations having a special interest in indigenous matters:

(i)         To identify programme areas or capabilities that are of particular relevance and priority to indigenous people;

(ii)        To agree on specific objectives for special projects to be implemented in 1993 as part of the Year and to ensure their consonance with the theme and objectives of the Year;

(iii)       To consider existing project guidelines and recommend effective means for including indigenous people in the initiation, design and implementation of the special projects to be undertaken in 1993;

(iv)       To suggest appropriate procedures and criteria for the evaluation of projects involving indigenous people, in 1993 and thereafter;

(v)        To consider what financial provisions, if any, need to be made to ensure implementation of the foregoing; and shall report on the outcome of the meeting to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-ninth session;

(b)        To continue to take into account the ongoing work of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, as well as that of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations;

(c)        To conduct the opening ceremonies for the Year at its forty- seventh session in 1992;

9.         Invites those States that are in a position to do so to consider means by which they could provide resources to assist the United Nations work on the Year, for example, by the secondment of suitable staff;

10.       Urges States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations as well as indigenous peoples' organizations to contribute to the voluntary fund for the Year opened by the Secretary-General;

11.       Requests the Secretary-General to give all the assistance necessary to permit the implementation of the tasks of the Coordinator;

12.       Requests the Commission on Human Rights to convene a meeting of participants in the programmes and projects of the Year, after the Year, to assess what conclusions can be drawn from the activities.


Programme of activities for the International Year for the World's Indigenous People

I.Activities at the international level

A.United Nations observances to set the general tone for activities during the Year

1.         A formal opening-day ceremony presided over by the Secretary- General in New York, during the forty-seventh session of the General Assembly;

2.         Messages of support by heads of State or Government, executive heads of United Nations bodies, as well as chairmen of the principal committees;

3.         A formal day of observance during the forty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights at Geneva;

4.         Issuance of slogan cancellations by the United Nations Postal Administration, paraphrasing "Indigenous people - indigenous rights"/International Year for the World's Indigenous People, 1993;

5.         Design of a symbol by an indigenous artist for use in connection with activities during the Year.

B.Projects and activities to be undertaken by the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat,in cooperation with the Coordinator for the Year and in consultation with indigenous peoples' organizations

1.         Production in all languages and dissemination of a poster highlighting the global diversity of indigenous people, and of a public service announcement using the same design as the poster for placement in international magazines, as space is donated;

2.         Publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in local languages;

3.         Production and wide distribution of special programmes in the radio series of the Department of Public Information, aimed at general and non-indigenous audiences;

4.         Production in all six official languages of an illustrated brochure on the Year, intended for use by United Nations information centres, non-governmental organizations, schools, the media and the general public.

C.Activities of the United Nations system

1.         Increasing the coordination, cooperation and technical assistance by United Nations agencies and bodies for the solution of problems faced by indigenous communities in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education and health. In this connection, it is recommended that United Nations operational agencies explore possible new areas of cooperation, in particular technical and financial assistance;

2.         Funding of concrete projects for indigenous communities, reflecting the wishes of indigenous people, that can have a direct benefit to the communities;

3.         Increasing publicity, especially to indigenous communities, on the work of the United Nations in areas related to the objectives of the Year;

4.         Increasing awareness of the existence of relevant international legal instruments related to the objectives of the Year, and promoting their widespread ratification and implementation;

5.         Establishing networks of indigenous peoples' organizations and communities for the sharing of information and experience in particular fields, such as health care, bilingual education, resource and environmental management;

6.         Contracting of indigenous peoples' organizations and secondment of indigenous persons with relevant expertise to carry out projects for the benefit of indigenous communities throughout the world;

7.         Examining the possibility of holding the next two sessions of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in the western hemisphere and in the Asia/Pacific region;

8.         Promoting an international trade fair of products made by indigenous people;

9.         Providing technical assistance to Governments wishing to make provisions in their legislation for the protection and promotion of the human rights of indigenous people, in particular on questions of land, environmental protection and strengthening of cultural identity, as well as technical and financial assistance for the implementation of such legislation.

II.Activities at the national level

1.         Member States are invited, in conformity with their right to determine freely their own development objectives in the light of their particular situations, to consider adopting the following measures to ensure the success of the Year:

(a)        Designating a contact person for the Year in the appropriate ministry and establishing national committees composed of governmental, indigenous and non-governmental representatives to prepare a national programme of activities;

(b)        Raising public awareness through information and education projects. These might include the publication of books, posters and leaflets by and/or on indigenous people; an educational book about the values, history and aspirations of indigenous people; special programmes on national radio and television; grants and awards for research about indigenous people by indigenous scholars; meetings and conferences;

(c)        Promoting initiatives by indigenous people in such areas as radio and television and model projects on education, health, employment, housing and the environment; (d)Presenting information, prepared in partnership with indigenous people, about the situation prevailing in the country and the activities initiated during the Year;

(e)        Encouraging participation of indigenous people in the preparation and implementation of all activities undertaken in connection with the Year;

2.         Indigenous peoples' organizations and indigenous communities could be encouraged to prepare their own programmes of activities and to take such measures as:

(a)        Establishing contact points and committees for the Year, with a view to facilitating participation in the organization and implementation of activities at the national level;

(b)        Preparing programmes of information activities, including publications, exhibitions, educational material, meetings, cultural events and training courses. Support for such activities should be sought from international organizations, Governments and non-governmental organizations;

(c)        Planning demonstration projects in development, the environment, health, education or other areas.Support for such activities should be sought from international organizations, Governments and non-governmental organizations.


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