Indigenous peoples have been engaging in relevant processes on sustainable development since the Earth Summit (Rio Conference) in 1992. The main advocacy agenda of indigenous peoples in these processes are the respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of indigenous peoples as affirmed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples; as well as the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in the development, implementation, monitoring and review process of actions plans and programmes on sustainable development at all levels.
The main mechanism of engagement is the Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG) which is a forum for coordination and planning. The IPMG sustained its engagement in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This was coordinated officially by two Organizing Partners (OPs) accredited by UNDESA as part of the nine recognized Major Groups that can officially participate in the SDG processes at the global level.
These organizations are Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education) and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), both of which also act as the facilitators/co-convenors. The IPMG maintains a global list-serve and the regional OP focal points.
Information sharing, feedback and recommendations are forwarded to the global IP-OPs for consideration on proposals and position papers submitted by the IPMG to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda processes.
After a two-year process of consultations and negotiations, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 with 17 Goals and 169 Targets. Indigenous peoples are mentioned six times in the 2030 Agenda, and most of the goals and targets are relevant for indigenous peoples.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national, regional and global levels is very critical for indigenous peoples. It provides opportunities, as well as threats for the respect, recognition and protection of indigenous peoples, as well as in pursuing their self-determined development.
The sustained engagement of indigenous peoples to the 2030 Agenda at all levels is therefore important for indigenous peoples to not be “left behind.” Based on the above, it is crucial to strengthen the Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG) as the main mechanism for coordination and concerted efforts to advance the rights and development priorities of indigenous peoples at all levels.
In this context, the IPMG in April 2017 formally established the Global Coordinating Committee (GCC) as the mechanism for global coordination, composed of seven regional focal organizations with designated focal persons and representatives of indigenous women and youth and the two convenors of the IPMG. It has also reached out to indigenous peoples’ organizations to become as affiliate members of the IPMG. As of June 2017 there are 50 affiliate members.