The Indigenous Global Coordinating Group (GCG) held an open ended meeting on side events to be held prior to and during the high level plenary meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (HLPM/WCIP). Fifty-nine participants representing indigenous peoples’ organizations, non-government organizations, UN agencies and governments participated in the meeting co-organized by the GCG and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 5 – 6 February 2014. Click here to read the Summary Report of the meeting.
In 2012 the General Assembly adopted resolution A/66/296 setting out the modalities for the high level plenary meeting. Operative paragraph 15 of the modalities resolution makes specific reference to side events:
Encourages Member States, organizations and institutions of indigenous peoples, entities of the United Nations system, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and others to actively support activities and events of indigenous peoples in preparation for the World Conference and to organize side events and other relevant thematic and cultural activities in New York that would add to the value and visibility of the Conference.
In order to add value and visibility to the HLPM/WCIP in a way that is complementary to the objectives of the meeting and work already undertaken by Indigenous Peoples, the GCG took the initiative to organize an open ended meeting where dialogue on this issue took place.
The organization of side events and support activities during the HLPM/WCIP faces many restrictions. The main challenges include strict security in and around UN headquarters (UNHQ), limited space within UNHQ, the availability of/logistics related to outside venues, and the selection of side events to be held within the UNHQ. See Summary Report for further discussion.
It is recommended that side event organizers:
- Hold side events that support and address the themes and recommendations set out in the Alta Outcome Document;
- Coordinate side events between organizations that are canvassing the same themes or issues;
- Plan side events in the spirit of collaboration between all regions and caucuses;
- Share information (at the international, regional and national levels) about side events in a timely manner using the GCG communication platform, indigenous networks and the wider media;
- Consider the level of attendee participation, e.g. will it be passive participation, a lecture or interactive participation, panel discussion;
- Involve the media as a way of promoting indigenous issues, e.g. in form of a press conference; when possible meetings should also be webcast, recorded and translated;
- Consider what interpretation will be provided and book interpreters in advance. All side events including those within the UNHQ must provide their own interpreters;
- Organize one coordinated activity at the end of all side events, to demonstrate the unity of Indigenous Peoples;
- Member states are also encouraged to organize side events with indigenous organizations/institutions.
It is recommended that the UN:
- Encourage partnerships between Indigenous Peoples and UN agencies to hold side events;
- Set aside more space within the UNHQ on Monday 22 September for side events to be held;
- To the Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG), to create a list of UN agencies with venue space in New York for side events and to make such a list available to the GCG;
- To the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to simplify registration for the 13th session of Permanent Forum and the informal interactive hearing so that people only have to register once for both meetings;
- To ensure that all regions and caucuses have equal access to the allocation of rooms for side events within the UNHQ.
It is recommended that donors:
- Support specific thematic side events as well as cultural activities;
- Advise the GCG if they have funding available for side events so this information can be shared with side event organizers.
Member States, organizations and institutions of Indigenous Peoples, entities of the UN system, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and others are responsible for the organization of their respective side events before, during and after the HLMP/WCIP. This includes obtaining additional information on venues and reserving venues.
The GCG will list side events on the wcip2014.org website. Additional information will be provided on how side event organizers can share information through this platform.
Land is Life has put together a list of potential venues for side events outside of the UNHQ. Organizers should contact venues directly for rates, additional information and making reservations.