On 16-17 April, Chris McDonald (OECD analyst on the Regional and Rural Policy team) had the opportunity to participate in the 17th meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and participate in a side-event on the Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development Project (LICRD) with the Sami Parliament of Sweden. The Permanent Forum was established the key coordinating mechanism for matters related to Indigenous peoples. The 17th Permanent Forum focused on the theme of “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources”.
This theme is particularly relevant to the LICRD project because land is a key economic asset for Indigenous peoples and central to the sustainability of traditional livelihoods, culture and language. This was the first time the OECD had participated in the Permanent Forum and it delivered a number of benefits for our work with Indigenous peoples:
- Increased visibility about work by the OECD on Indigenous issues. As an international organisation, the OECD adds-value in this policy area because of its focus on economic policy issues, and its committee structure and methodology (based on peer review and sharing of good policy practices amongst national governments).
- Growing a community of interest linked to the project. The event provided an opportunity to meet with, and present the project to Indigenous leaders and officials from Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Russian Federation, Canada, and New Zealand. I also met with Alice Bah Kuhnke the Swedish Minister for Culture about our work with Sweden. It also provided an opportunity to better understand existing forums and networks the OECD can work with such as the World Indigenous Business Forum.
- Gather feedback on the conceptual framework for the project. We have developed a framework for assessing the governance of land use for Indigenous peoples and its relationship to regional development outcomes. This framework was received well by participants, and appears to address a gap in global analysis about Indigenous land use issues. The event and side meetings also provided an opportunity to test our initial findings with Sami leaders.
- Increased understanding about global Indigenous issues. The Forum provided an opportunity to hear from Indigenous leaders from across OECD member and non-member countries. Although there is a diversity of issues and development conditions, Indigenous peoples do face similar policy challenges related to land (securing and enforcing tenure, regulation of land, inclusion in decisions about land, and transparent negotiation about shared benefits).
Many thanks to the Sami Parliament of Sweden (Matilda Månsson, Lars-Ove Sjajn, and Lars-Anders Baer) for organising our side-event and kindly introducing us to key stakeholders at the Permanent Forum!
If your country or region would like to join this community, please contact Chris McDonald, Policy Analyst: firstname.lastname@example.org