Ensuring Indigenous Voices are Heard at the UN

New York, NY, USA
2002 - Present

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. 

Since the First Session of the UNPFII in 2002, Land is Life has funded and coordinated the participation of nearly 200 indigenous people from the grassroots – more than any other single organization. UNPFII is an exceptional opportunity for dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, nations and communities, as they work towards greater understanding and solidarity in addressing some of the world’s most critical problems. In addition to funding and coordinating indigenous participation, Land is Life has invested time and resources in equipping and preparing first-time participants at UNPFII for navigating the international policymaking realm. 

This year, at the 13th Session of UNPFII, Land is Life sponsored a delegation of participants from Brazil, Ecuador, India and the Philippines -- each delegate present to raise awareness of issues on the local level and to build solidarity with others from around the world. 


At the 2nd Session of the UNPFII, one of Land is Life's Steering Council Members Sinafasi Makelo (a Pygmeé leader) brought a crisis from his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the international stage. With the assistance of Land is Life and utilizing the activities of the Permanent  Forum as an entry point, Sinafasi was able to request a private meeting with the UN Security Council to draw attention to guerilla fighters who were committing acts of cannibalism against his people, the Pygmeé. In addition, Sinafasi was able to secure a special time to speak in front of the Permanent Forum to testify to the atrocities on the ground. As a direct result of the meeting with the Security Council and his testimony, additional peacekeepers were deployed to monitor the situation in the Congo and widespread international press coverage elevated the issue beyond the doors of the United Nations. 


BBC News

Democracy Now!

UN News Centre