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(New York, May 20, 2013)

Draft Speech for ECOSOC President, H.E. Néstor Osorio at the Twelfth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

 

Ambassador Néstor Osorio participated in the opening ceremony of the Twelfth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held in New York from May 20 to 31. In his statement Ambassador Osorio reminded the theme of the Council´s Annual Ministerial Review: Science, Technology and Innovation, and Culture for sustainable development, recalling the need to increase emphasis on indigenous peoples who have a wealth of knowledge, technology, and own experience and know how they contribute to Science, Technology and Innovation. "A great deal of indigenous traditional knowledge has been undermined and overlooked over the centuries", he said.

He reaffirmed that Indigenous peoples have a huge contribution to make to the development of the societies and their knowledge can and should play a major role in the MDGs and in preparing the Post 2015 development agenda Ambassador Osorio also stated that the Permanent Forum is an important member of the UN Family, and the ECOSOC is the platform for the program of indigenous peoples. You will give all your positive energy to help to shape the "future we want", he concluded.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

Distinguished Members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,

Distinguished representatives of Member States, Indigenous Peoples' Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations,

Distinguished representatives of the UN system and other intergovernmental organizations,

Distinguished Elders,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to address the opening of the Twelfth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. I am pleased to see so many representatives of indigenous peoples here in the hall today. I am equally pleased to see so many Member State delegations participating in the Permanent Forum. This is what the Economic and Social Council envisioned when it established the Forum thirteen years ago. The Permanent Forum is a remarkable body where indigenous peoples, Member States and the UN system come together in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation to exchange ideas, learn from one another and make concrete proposals to address the well being of indigenous peoples across the globe. This will improve the relationship between indigenous peoples and governments; an important work that the Economic and Social Council takes with much interest and responsibility.

This year, the theme of the Council´s Annual Ministerial Review is Science, Technology and Innovation, and Culture for sustainable development and the MDGs. It is clear that we need an increased emphasis on indigenous peoples who have a wealth of knowledge, technology, and own experience and know how they contribute to Science, Technology and Innovation. A great deal of indigenous traditional knowledge has been undermined and overlooked over the centuries. Despite this, indigenous peoples remain the custodians of many of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and their knowledge of medicine, agriculture, and the environment is increasingly recognized by scientists, academics, industrial corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. Indigenous peoples have for centuries shared their knowledge with others, as collective goods for the benefit of humankind, not as private property to be protected and sold. There is a growing number of consumer products such as pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, and handicrafts that are derived from indigenous traditional knowledge that are sold for profit while the original owners of this knowledge see little or no benefits at all. Needed actions regarding issues like this are matter of fully discussion of this Forum.

Indigenous peoples have a huge contribution to make to the development of our societies and their knowledge and innovations can and should play a major role in our efforts, including the MDGs and in preparing the Post 2015 development agenda. Not in the form of products to be appropriated but as knowledge that leads to improved wellbeing for all, especially indigenous peoples themselves. This is why we must work together. This is why the Permanent Forum is here at the United Nations. The Permanent Forum is an important member of the UN Family. The recommendations that have come from this vibrant body have already shaped the work of the UN system and it continues to inform and educate us all. You have ahead of you two weeks of hard work and important discussions. I wish you good fortune in your work and I look forward to following the deliberations and the conclusions of the session.

ECOSOC is now the integration platform for the environment economic and social dimension of sustainable development. ECOSOC is the platform for the program of indigenous peoples. You will give all your positive energy to help to shape the "future we want".

Thank you.

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