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UN-BACKED INFORMATION SUMMIT CALLED ON TO HELP PROGRESS OF INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES,

New York, Dec 11 2003

Indigenous people today called on a United Nations-backed global
information summit to put information and communications technologies
(ICTs) into the service of economic and social development in their
communities around the world.

The call came in a declaration and action programme adopted at the
conclusion of the Global Forum on Indigenous Peoples and the
Information Society this week in Geneva, one of three official side
events to the World Summit on the Information Society
<"www.itu.int/wsis/index.html  ">(WSIS). The text will be
officially transmitted to the Summit tomorrow by Ole-Henrik Magga,
Chairperson of
the <"/esa/socdev/pfii/">UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

"This Global Forum is a chance for indigenous people to become engaged
with the World Summit on the Information Society. By discussing
opportunities and challenges facing people around the world, we are
creating solutions that will help indigenous peoples move forward in
meaningful ways," Mr. Magga said at a press briefing.

The Global Forum, which began Monday, addressed topics ranging from
e-health, e-learning, cultural preservation through digital media and
citizen empowerment. It identified many challenges, including a lack of
resources as well as a lack of control most indigenous peoples
experience in terms of having to adapt to a new technology rather than
being able to adjust the technology to suit their needs.

The meeting also agreed that indigenous peoples should play a part in
the preparatory process for the second phase of the Summit in 2005 in
Tunis, and win concrete results at that conference, after having been
given short notice to prepare for and participate in the Geneva phase.

"The value of information technology becomes most apparent when we
examine how it is benefiting indigenous communities, particularly
those in remote locations," Mr. Magga said. "Indigenous peoples are
keen to
preserve and pass on the examining the new tools of the information
society to see how they can assist."

Joining Mr. Magga was Mililani Trask, a member of the Permanent Forum,
who lamented the decision by the Member States to delete references in
the Summit's draft Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action to such
issues as the protection of indigenous peoples' rights and the
preservation of cultural diversity and language.

The Secretariat for the UN Permanent Forum assists the 16-member panel
in carrying out its mandate, which covers economic and social
development, culture, the environment, education, health and human
rights. It provides expert advice and recommendations on indigenous
issues to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to UN
programmes, funds and agencies, and helps to raise awareness of
indigenous issues within the UN system.

________________

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
 

 

 

 

 

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