UN Global Forum of Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (UCTP Taino News) – As a result of a recommendation made at the May 2003 session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a Global Forum of Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society was convened in Geneva, Switzerland from 8-11 December 2003.

The event was organized on the occasion of the UN World Summit on the Information Society and it was one of the largest official parallel events of the Summit. The Global Forum was attended by representatives of six United Nations Member States (a total of 18 government departments), eight United Nations system entities and other intergovernmental bodies, 12 private sector participants and 90 indigenous and non-governmental organizations.

A total of 286 persons attended the event, which examined both potentials and obstacles to the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in the information society.

Obstacles included but were not limited to lack of basic community infrastructure, limited access to modern technologies, and the urgent need for gender and age-sensitive capacity building. Potentials included but were not limited to access to new marketplaces, increased indigenous networking (both regionally and internationally), new strategies to revitalize and pass on culture and languages, and the opportunity to fully participate in the new information and connectivity
revolution facing humanity.

A number of fellowships to attend the Global Forum were granted by the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and recipients included two Caribbean Indigenous representatives - Dr. Albert DeTerville (Saint Lucia) and Mr. Roberto Múcaro Borrero (UCTP). During this same time Borrero also participated in a special dialogue session with the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Civil Society. Other indigenous delegates attending this session were members of the Permanent Forum and indigenous leaders from various regions of the world.

At the close of the Global Forum session, a declaration and program of action was adopted.

These documents are currently available via the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Photo: UCTP Rep. R. Múcaro Borrero (left) with H.E. Mr. Christian Ferrazino, Mayor of the City of Geneva and Aboriginal Australian Artist Cameron McCarthy (right) in Geneva, Switzerland. UCTP Photo 2003

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