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9th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

Agenda Item 3: Indigenous Development with Culture and Development

April 19-30, 2010
By Ivan F. Torafing
Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN)

Inyaman ak apo Chairman. (Thank you Mr.Chairman)

Ay ay uggayam magayaman ugayam uugayaman. Entay man pagyamanan ni apo ay Kabuniyan.

Entay met kablaawan nan amam-a / inin-a tako isnan nadumaduma ay pagilian yat kandakayo
amin wadash na. Ugayam!

Greetings to everyone!

I am Ivan Torafing, I belong to the Bontok people of Cordillera, Philippines. We are collectively
called Igorots.

In behalf of the APIYN, an umbrella organization of indigenous youth organizations in the Asia
and Pacific, I would like to take this opportunity to read the following statements and
recommendations under the main theme of the forum “Indigenous Development with Culture and

This is a statement of the APIYN created during the Indigenous Climate Change Connections
that took place in November 14-20, 2009 in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia in which 34 indigenous
youth representatives from 8 countries in Asia actively participated. The conference was
organized with the objective of educating the indigenous youth about the worsening problems
and the pressing issues concerning climate change and also to empower them with the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We appreciate the Forum for prioritizing the theme indigenous development with culture and
identity in this Session. I should say that the theme is particularly important for young indigenous
people because the arbitrary and destructive developmental processes introduced in indigenous
peoples land has impacted indigenous youth with physical, spiritual and health impacts while
youth are always with their elders in all efforts to defend and reclaim their land and resources.

In general, the indigenous peoples in various areas around the world are challenged up to this
time with the problems of development aggression, militarization, national oppression and
foremost the realization of the right to self determination and control over their ancestral land and
natural resources.

Mr. Chair, allow us to express our perspectives about development. ‘Development’ in this
statement was understood to be in two types: the western or rather market-based concept and the
indigenous concept. The former takes the forms of infrastructures such as roads, highways and
bridges, and foreign investments like mega dams, big logging concessions, and large mining
industries which cause environmental destruction and displacement of IPs from their lands. It is
the mainstream and dominating idea of development. This kind of development is basically
guided by the profit oriented motives of the rich countries. On the other hand, development in the
perspective of indigenous peoples is of the intangible kind. This means that development must be
sustainable and respectful to culture, traditions, identity and the collective ownership of land of
indigenous peoples; and it is the main underlying principle of indigenous development.

Mr. Chair, we wish to express our concerns and recommendations and we hope that the
Permanent Forum will take these into consideration for the concerns of indigenous youth.

1. We call on states representatives and interstate agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF and
UNDP to formulate policies for indigenous peoples and review existing laws and policies
integrating provisions and spirits of UNDRIP particularly articles 3 and 32.
2. We call on multi-lateral organizations and international funding agencies such as World
Bank, Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and other UN bodies
to review their policies and integrate the rights of IPs as enshrined in the light of the
3. We call on governments to recognize the customary laws and collective rights of IPs over
their land and resources. Also, for all states to take the initiative to review and repeal
repressive laws and policies that arm state agencies and militaries to suppress indigenous
communities with full immunity for their actions.
4. We call on governments to support in the formation and implementation of programs in
promoting indigenous peoples cultural education among children and youth and the
recognition of indigenous peoples traditional cultures and protection of their intellectual
property rights and traditional knowledge.
5. We call on all nation states and governments to truly respect and recognize the right to free
prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples before any development project
is implemented in accordance with the UNDRIP.
6. We call on all governments and UN bodies to utilize the media to provide other alternative
means (eg. Information drive) for the IPs to voice out their concerns and issues with regard to
the right of all people to freedom of expression.
7. We call on international funding agencies and other UN bodies to support all initiatives to
preserve and promote IP culture and tradition including alternative media created by
indigenous peoples. Lastly,
8. We call on the Permanent Forum to urge upon states, UN agencies, and IP organizations to
fully implement the recommendations of the Permanent Forum in its previous sessions to
ensure indigenous Youth and children’s participation in all development and decision making
processes affecting their identity and cultural survival.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.