CONSENSUS TRADITION CAN CONTRIBUTE TO
NEW YORK, 9 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, today, 9 August:
We celebrate this year's International Day of the World's Indigenous People in the wake of the first historic session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Thanks to the Permanent Forum, indigenous peoples now have a home at the United Nations, a space where they can make their voices heard and their issues known before the world. Just as importantly, it offers Forum members, most of whom are indigenous persons, an opportunity to help the Economic and Social Council find solutions to the problems indigenous communities face all over the globe.
We have much to learn from indigenous peoples. The tradition of consensus found among many of them can contribute to conflict resolution and good governance. Medicinal knowledge -- discovered, developed and passed from generation to generation by indigenous peoples -- is of enormous value. Likewise, indigenous peoples can teach us a great deal in managing complex ecosystems, promoting biodiversity, increasing crop productivity and conserving land.
On this International Day of the World's Indigenous People, let us pay tribute to the effort and hard work that went into creating the Forum, thus ushering in a new era in the history of indigenous peoples at the United Nations.
* *** *