UN Resolution: Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women just passed a resolution entitled: “Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication.” The resolution recognized the special disadvantages the indigenous women face and set out a wide range of suggestions urging states to follow their recommendations.

You can read it here or download a pdf version of the resolution. .

United Nations E/CN.6/2012/L.6
Economic and Social Council Distr.: Limited
6 March 2012
Original: English

Commission on the Status of Women
Fifty-sixth session
27 February-9 March 2012
Agenda item 3 (c)

Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”: gender mainstreaming, situations and programmatic matters

Australia,* Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of),* Ecuador,* El Salvador,
Guatemala,* Mexico* and Nicaragua: draft resolution

Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication

The Commission on the Status of Women,
Reaffirming the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,
1 the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly,
2 and the declarations adopted by the Commission on the occasion of the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries of the Fourth World Conference on Women,
3 Reaffirming also that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
4 and the Optional Protocol thereto,
5 as well as other relevant international human rights instruments, provide a framework for the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous women, Recalling the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
6 which addresses their individual and collective rights, Stressing the importance of promoting and pursuing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also through

* In accordance with rule 69 of the rules of procedure of the functional commissions of the
Economic and Social Council.
1 Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.
2 General Assembly resolution S-23/2, annex, and resolution S-23/3, annex.
3 See Economic and Social Council decisions 2005/232 and 2010/232, respectively.
4 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1249, No. 20378.
5 Ibid., vol. 2131, No. 20378.
6 General Assembly resolution 61/295, annex. international cooperation in supporting national and regional efforts to achieve the ends of the Declaration, including the right to maintain and strengthen the distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions of indigenous peoples and the right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and
cultural life of the State,

Recalling its resolution 49/7, entitled “Indigenous women: beyond the ten-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”, which calls upon Governments, intergovernmental agencies, the private sector and civil society to take measures that ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous women in all aspects of society,

Affirming that indigenous women represent a wide variety of cultures and traditions with different needs and concerns and contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures around the world,

Stressing the importance of recognizing the distinct and crucial contribution of indigenous women, their knowledge and their vital roles in diverse local economies to poverty eradication, food security and sustainable development, Recognizing that a significant number of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in developing regions are women, including indigenous women, and that they play a vital role in agricultural and rural development, including by enhancing food security and nutrition for their communities and families,

Recognizing also that the involvement, perspectives and traditional knowledge of indigenous women make an important contribution to sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources, such as land, forests, water, seeds and coastal seas,

Expressing deep concern about the increasing feminization of poverty, emphasizing that the empowerment of women, including indigenous women, is a critical factor in the eradication of poverty and that the implementation of special measures aimed at empowering women can help to achieve this objective, and recognizing that poverty of women, including indigenous women, is directly related,
inter alia, to the absence of economic opportunities and of autonomy, lack of access to economic resources, lack of access to education and support services, and minimal participation in the decision-making process,

Concerned about the extreme disadvantages that indigenous peoples, in particular indigenous women, have typically faced across a range of social and economic indicators and the impediments to their full enjoyment of their rights,

Concerned also that the adverse impacts of climate change on women and girls, including indigenous women, can be exacerbated by gender inequality, discrimination and poverty,

Concerned further that indigenous women often suffer from multiple forms of discrimination and poverty which increase their vulnerability to all forms of violence,

Emphasizing that indigenous women should exercise their rights free from discrimination of any kind,
Emphasizing also that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and the empowerment of indigenous women and their enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

1. Urges States to:
(a) Take particular measures to promote and strengthen policies and programmes for indigenous women with their full participation and respect for their cultural diversity, so that they have the opportunities and the possibility of choice in the development process needed to eradicate the poverty that affects them;
(b) Support the economic activities of indigenous women, in consultation with them and taking into account their traditional knowledge, so as to improve their situation and development, in particular by enhancing their equal access to productive resources and agricultural inputs, such as land, seeds, financial services, technology, transportation and information;
(c) Ensure the realization of the right of indigenous women and girls to education, and promote a multicultural approach to education that is responsive to the needs, aspirations and cultures of indigenous women, including by developing appropriate education programmes, curricula and teaching aids, to the extent possible in the languages of indigenous peoples, by promoting their access to
information and communications technologies and by providing for the participation of indigenous women in these processes, and take measures to ensure that indigenous women and girls have the right to equal access to all levels and forms of education without discrimination;
(d) Provide support, investment and technical assistance for the training of indigenous women, and support women’s organizations and cooperatives, which contribute to promoting mutual support and leadership;
(e) Formulate and implement, in consultation and collaboration with indigenous women and their organizations, policies and programmes designed to promote capacity-building processes and strengthen their leadership, and take measures to ensure full and effective participation of indigenous women in decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas, and eliminate barriers for their participation in political, economic, social and cultural life;
(f) Take concrete measures to provide and enhance equal access and enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health for indigenous women, including sexual and reproductive health, and access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, and safe cooking and heating;
(g) Respect, preserve and promote, where appropriate, the traditional knowledge of indigenous women with respect to medicine, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals;
(h) Comply with and effectively implement all their human rights obligations so as to ensure the full realization and equal enjoyment of the rights of indigenous women;
(i) Take concrete measures to provide equal access to justice for indigenous women at all levels, and ensure that indigenous women have equal rights to own land and other property;
(j) Recognize that poverty and discrimination increase the conditions that generate violence against women, and take actions at the national, local and community levels to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against indigenous women;
(k) Collect and disseminate disaggregated data on indigenous women, including those living in rural areas, in order to monitor and improve the impact of development policies and programmes for their well-being;
2. Encourages States to support the participation of indigenous women in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also called Rio+20, and in the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly that is to be called the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held in 2014;
3. Encourages States, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector and civil society to take appropriate measures to promote the rights of indigenous peoples, and respect their cultures, lands, territories and resources and their contribution to sustainable development;
4. Encourages UN-Women and, as appropriate, relevant funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, international financial institutions, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other civil society actors to take measures to develop, finance, implement and support policies and programmes aimed at promoting the empowerment of indigenous women and their enjoyment of all human rights.

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