The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII or PFII) is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. "Indigenous person" means native, original, first people and aboriginal. There are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries worldwide. The forum is an advisory body within the framework of the United Nations System that reports to the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The first indigenous to be elected to office at a United Nations meeting was Chief Ted Moses of the Grand Council of the Crees in Canada, in 1989.
The creation of the Permanent Forum was discussed at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action recommended that such a forum should be established within the first United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (see below). A working group was formed and various other meetings took place that led to the establishment of the permanent forum by the UN Economic and Social Council resolution 2000/22 on 28 July 2000.
The Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. It submits recommendations to the Council on issues related to indigenous peoples. It holds a two-week session each year which takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City but it could also take place in Geneva or any other place as decided by the forum.
There are 16 independent experts appointed for a three-year term. At the end of their current term, they can be re-elected or re-appointed for another term. Of these 16 members, eight are nominated by the member governments and eight directly nominated by indigenous organizations. Those nominated by the governments are elected to office by the Economic and Social Council based on the representation of each regional grouping of states (see below). Those nominated by indigenous organizations are appointed by the President of ECOSOC and represent the seven socio-cultural regions for broad representation of the world's indigenous peoples.
|Members of the Permanent Forum, January 2017 to December 2019|
|Member||Region||Country of Origin||Nominated by|
|Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine||Africa||Mali||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Jens Dahl||Western and other States||Denmark||Governments|
|Jesus Guadalupe Fuentes Blanco||Latin America and the Caribbean||México||Governments|
|Phoolman Chaudhary||Asia||Nepal||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Terri Henry||North America||United States of America||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Brian Keane||North America||United States of America||Governments|
|Aisa Mukabenova||Eastern European States||Russian Federation||Governments|
|Anne Nuorgam||Arctic||Finland||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Dmitrii Kharakka-Zaitsev||Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia||Russian Federation||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Elifuraha Laltaika||Africa||United Republic of Tanzania||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Gervais Nzoa||African States||Cameroon||Governments|
|Les Malezer||Pacific||Australia||Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations|
|Lourdes Tibán Guala||Latin America and the Caribbean||Ecuador||Indigenous Peoples’ Organization|
|Seyed Moshen Emadi||Asia-Pacific States||Iran||Governments|
|Tarcila Rivera Zea||Latin American and Caribbean States||Peru||Governments|
To date, fifteen sessions have been held, all at the UN Headquarters, New York:
The Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established by the General Assembly in 2002. It is based in the New York Headquarters within the Division for Social Policy and Development. of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs The Secretariat, among other things, prepares the annual sessions of the Forum, provides support and assistance to the Forum's members, promotes awareness of indigenous issues within the UN system, governments and the public, and serves as a source of information and a coordination point for indigenous-related efforts.
The first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People "Indigenous people: partnership in action" (1995–2004) was proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 48/163 with the main objective of strengthening international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as human rights, environment, development, health and education.
The Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People "Partnership for Action and Dignity" (2005–2015) was proclaimed by the General Assembly at its 59th session, and the programme of action was adopted at the 60th session.
Its objectives are:
The five regional groupings of states as used by the United Nations are: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Europe and other countries.
The seven socio-cultural regional groupings are: