The United Nations initiated several mechanisms to address rights of indigenous peoples. In September 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“Declaration”). In addition, the UN instituted ongoing efforts to address concerns and issues affecting indigenous peoples including, but not limited to, establishing the Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, appointment of Professor James Anaya as Special Rapporteur, and assessment of United States’ human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council.

As part of the UN effort to implement the Declaration, the UN General Assembly in 2010 set aside September 2014 to hold the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (“WCIP”). The purpose of WCIP is “to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, including to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” (United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/65/198) Since 2010, the UN devised a systematic way to receive input from indigenous peoples, and UN accepted the Norwegian government’s offer to host an indigenous peoples preparatory meeting at Alta, Norway in June 2013. The Alta, Norway meeting produced the Alta Outcome Document, which is considered a consensus document coming from indigenous peoples.

Click here to review the report on the meeting at Alta, Norway.