The 12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, which ended last week (31 May), gathered to address the global response to political, economic and cultural problems affecting the world's most vulnerable communities.
Issues of health, education and sustainable development were top of the two-week agenda for the 2,000 delegates from nearly 100 countries who attended, as were efforts by the global community to uphold agreements outlined in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
But some indigenous representatives highlighted the disconnect between global development policy and how it is implemented in their communities. "We are concerned that, while the Millennium Development Goals have been established for some time now, we see government agencies instituting and implementing projects, and indigenous people [still] not involved in deciding, planning or monitoring these interventions," says Pablo Mis, a member of the Q'eqchi Maya people from southern Belize and coordinator for the Maya Leaders Alliance...
Aztec drums, from the Florentine Codex, 16th century