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New UN Permanent Forum For Indigenous Issues Est.

New UN Permanent Forum For Indigenous Issues Established

Foreign Minister Phil Goff and the Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia have welcomed the decision to establish a new permanent forum at the United Nations on indigenous issues as a significant advance for indigenous people.

The decision to set up the new forum for indigenous issues taken by consensus in the United Nations' Economic and Social Council in New York on 28 July.

"New Zealand has played an active role in developing the proposal over the past eighteen months and fully supports the new forum. Maori have also been active participants in the negotiations," Mr Goff and Mr Horomia said.

"The new body will give a higher profile to indigenous issues and will bring better co-ordination to the UN's work in the area.

"Such a forum was a key goal of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004). In setting up the permanent forum the international community is giving tangible effect to the Decade theme of Partnership in Action.

"New Zealand looks forward to playing an active and constructive role in the work of the new forum, with a view to promoting the interests of indigenous people globally."

It is expected that the permanent forum on indigenous issues will hold its first meeting in 2002. It will comprise equal numbers of experts chosen by governments and indigenous people. The forum will play an advisory and co-ordinating role, designed to ensure that the interests and concerns of indigenous people are taken more fully into account in the work of all UN agencies.

It is also intended that the forum will hold an annual meeting to gauge indigenous views and concerns, which will provide indigenous organisations and individuals with a valuable opportunity for dialogue and interaction.

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