Servindi, May 2006 .- One of the most relevant documents that was circulating in the 5th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, points out the importance of strengthening the government structures and institutions of the indigenous peoples in favour of an effective and sustainable development of the indigenous communities. The document is called: Report of the international meeting of a group of experts about the Millennium Development Goals, the participation of indigenous peoples and the good government.
The report points out that indigenous peoples are characterized by their own government structures, but at the same time they are facing a diverse range of issues related with the interaction of the government structures of the countries they live in.
The participants were regretting the fact that many development projects weaken the traditional government structures. The indigenous government it was specified is not static, but it is constantly developing.
The traditional authorities' part in the changing process is very important. If the traditional authorities do not participate in the administration of the changing process, they risk to weaken their power., as the report indicates.
The government models that recognize a diversity of cosmovisions and are based on cultural values and traditions, propitiate an authentic ability of adopting decisions and local control.
The indigenous peoples have interests as citizens but also as peoples with their own ideas about the society they like to live in. Therefore, it is fundamental that the indigenous peoples participate in the state processes of adopting decisions in order to protect their rights and interests.
The document notes that the Millennium Development Goals and its related indicators do not reflect the indigenous peoples' necessities and specific concerns, neither do they permit to carry out a specific follow-up of the progress achieved by these peoples.
The distribution of the eight Millennium Development Goals does not agree with the indigenous peoples' most integral idea of own development, and it does not consider their priorities, for example, concerning land, territories and resources.
The goals are not appropriate for a great number of indigenous peoples because they value more the money income than the unstructured subsistence economies, which are of fundamental importance to satisfy a great part of the indigenous peoples' basic necessities.
There exists the risk that the Millennium Development Goals guide the development work towards a greater and greater participation of the indigenous peoples in paid work and the market economy; two contexts in which their sophisticated traditional knowledge and their government systems have no value.
The document points out that, to approach the Millennium Development Goals, the five goals of the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People should form the informative basis. The goals are the following: a) No discrimination and inclusion; b) full and effective participation; c) development politics that are culturally appropriate, concerning the diversity; d) programs and conditions with specific goals for the development of the indigenous peoples, with special attention to the indigenous women, children and youth; e) mechanisms of more strict supervision and presentation of accounts.
The document indicates that some countries only permit the participation of indigenous representatives if they are fluent in the majority's language or if they are members of the national political parties. In order that the centralisation really contributes to the respect of the indigenous peoples' rights the report affirms it is necessary to accept the indigenous peoples' own government structures and their territorial integrity and grant them a different treatment.
To achieve the approval and validity of the processes it is necessary for the associates to participate in the activities on the field of development and to count on the governments' support. Furthermore, it is important that the procedure is adjusted to the cultural demands and that participative methodologies and new technologies are used. Likewise, the Development Goals have to recognize the importance of the women's participation, they have to be developed in indigenous languages and be adapted to the indigenous concepts of time and space.
The document concludes with a series of recommendations for indigenous peoples and governments and points out that the principle of a free, previous and informed consent is fundamental.
The document which the article is referring to, as well as other documents, can be revised and downloaded from the document section on the web page of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/