Event Archive: 2023 United Nations EMRIP Seminar


United Nations Expert Seminar supporting the work of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 33/25, during its fifteenth session in 2022, the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) confirmed its decision to prepare a report on “Establishing monitoring mechanisms at the national and regional level for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” This report will address efforts to implement the Declaration and monitoring mechanisms at the national and regional levels. This Expert Seminar is part of a larger request for contributions from Indigenous Peoples, States, National Human Rights Institutions, academics and other independent experts.

This event is open to the public. In person attendees are welcome, space permitting. Public Zoom link: https://ubc.zoom.us/j/64604120904

Additional inputs may be sent by email by 17 March 2023. For further details, please see: https://www.ohchr.org/en/calls-for-input/2023/call-inputs-report-establishing-monitoring-mechanisms-national-and-regional.

February 23 and 24, 2023

Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre – Robert H. Lee Family Boardroom

University of British Columbia
6163 University Blvd
Vancouver, BC
V6T 1Z1

Public Zoom link: https://ubc.zoom.us/j/64604120904


Event Concept Note

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) Expert Seminar on

Establishing effective mechanisms at the national and regional levels for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada

23-24 February 2023


Background

1. Established by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2007, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) provides the Council with thematic advice on the rights of indigenous peoples in the form of studies and research. The studies and advice of the Expert Mechanism are meant to provide a better understanding of the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), hereafter refer to as “the Declaration”, and to propose concrete actions that States, Indigenous Peoples, civil society organisations, international organizations, national human rights institutions, and others can take to further its implementation.

2. In September 2016, in its resolution 33/25, the Human Rights Council amended and expanded the mandate of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among other things, the Council decided that the EMRIP should identify, disseminate, and promote good practices and lessons learned regarding the efforts to achieve the ends of the Declaration, including through reports to the Council.

3. To date, the EMRIP has developed several reports on good practices and lessons learned, including, for example, Ten-years of the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples: good practices and lessons learned (2017), Indigenous Peoples rights with respect to: Recognition, reparations, and reconciliation (2019), Reparation of ceremonial objects, human remains and intangible cultural heritage (2020), Indigenous Peoples and the right to self-determination (2021). The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides substantive and administrative support to the Expert Mechanism.

4. During its 15th session held from 4 to 8 July 2022, the EMRIP decided to prepare a report focusing on establishing effective monitoring mechanisms at the national and regional levels for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [1]The report will emphasise on the procedural aspects of the Declaration to ensure its effective implementation. It also aims to facilitate increased dialogue and collaboration with national human rights institutions. This report will be presented to the fifty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2023.

5. The decision to focus on establishing effective monitoring mechanisms for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national and regional levels is to help advancing, as well as monitoring progress its implementation at the regional and national levels.  In its preamble, the Declaration encourages States to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, particularly those related to human rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned. Furthermore, Article 3 provides for the right of self-determination where Indigenous Peoples have the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development. Article 38 requires States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, to take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration. Article 42 establishes that States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

6. In addition, [2]the Outcome Document of the high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP 2014) recognises the global commitment by Member-States to achieve the ends of the Declaration. The Outcome Document contains the recommendation to adopt national action plans, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, to achieve the end of the Declaration. It also recognises the important role of national and regional human rights institutions in contributing to the achievement of the ends of the Declaration.

7. The purpose of this seminar is to provide the EMRIP with contextualised information, in achieving the ends of the Declaration through the establishment of monitoring mechanisms. The seminar will also provide an opportunity for exchange among academics, practitioners, and other experts on the issue.

8. The University of British Columbia (UBC) is organizing it in support of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP). The hybrid seminar will take place on UBC’s Vancouver campus, Canada on the 23-24 February 2023. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is a co-sponsor of the event.

9. The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the world. In its 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan, UBC committed to becoming a leading voice in the implementation of Indigenous peoples’ human rights, as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other human rights law. The Expert Seminar is hosted by Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot, Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, and co-sponsored by the Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives, the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.


[1] A/HRC/51/49

[2] A/Res/69/2

Objectives

  • Hold an in-depth discussion on the topic to provide an opportunity for broad input to EMRIP`s 2023 report on establishing effective monitoring mechanisms at the national and regional levels for implementation of the Declaration.
  • Discuss the latest related developments in the policy, legal and institutional fields, at national and regional levels; and
  • Identify examples of good practices of existing monitoring mechanisms, and lessons regarding the implementation of the Declaration.
  • Provide concrete suggestions and recommendations and agree on the principle framework for establishing and providing advice for states and indigenous peoples in their co-designing of effective monitoring mechanisms for implementation of the Declaration.

Participants

  • The Seminar will bring together approximately 30 participants, including:
  • Members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Representatives from First Nations, the Metis Nation and the Inuit in Canada and Indigenous Peoples’ organisations
  • Experts on Indigenous Peoples and practioners from different regions
  • Representatives from government of Canada
  • Staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Academics
  • Staff from relevant UN agencies
  • Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions/Commissions or other national and regional monitoring mechanisms
  • Academic friends of the Expert Mechanism working on the report.
  • In addition, students will be welcomed to observe the proceedings of the Seminar.

Structure

It is intended that the focus of each session will be on suggestions for key considerations, language, case studies, examples, and other ideas for inclusion in the report.

A preliminary list of topics to be addressed in the report is as follows:

  • The international legal framework pertaining to the establishment and promotion of monitoring mechanisms regarding the implementation and achieving the ends of the Declaration.
  • Priorities of the monitoring mechanisms relative to Indigenous Peoples rights: inter alia: self-determination; free, prior and informed consent; equality and non-discrimination, culture; land, territories and resources; constitutional and legal reform, establishment of treaties and agreements, the development of a national plan of action to facilitate better implementation of the Declaration.
  • Participation of Indigenous Peoples in the establishment and the implementation of various forms of monitoring mechanisms.
  • State and regional practices on existing monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of the Declaration, including existing examples on the purpose and the mandate of those mechanisms and how these existing mechanisms could be more effective in the implementation of the Declaration.
  • National human rights institutions existing practices in the monitoring of the Declaration in their work, including through awareness raising activities, the analysis and reporting about the compatibility of existing laws with the Declaration, level of implementation of existing legal frameworks, national standards, plans and corporate policies compliant with the Declaration, creating mechanisms to receive complaints about violations of the rights enshrined in the Declaration, and the production of annual reports on the implementation of the Declaration for national, regional and international bodies, including the EMRIP;
  • Taking into account, the importance of obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples before establishing or developing monitoring mechanisms for the implementation for the Declaration, and further the importance of collaborating with Indigenous Peoples` institutions and representatives in these processes, how to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are meaningfully engaged throughout the entire process.

Agenda

Expert Seminar in Support of the Work of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Establishing effective monitoring mechanisms at the national and regional levels for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Robert H. Lee Family Boardroom (Level 3)
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

6163 University Boulevard
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada

Offered in hybrid format. Zoom link: https://ubc.zoom.us/j/64604120904
Open to the public, on a first-come basis, as seating is limited.

23-24 February 2023


Day 1: Thursday, 23 February, 2023

8.30-9.00Breakfast
9.00-9.30Welcome and Introductions

Welcome
– Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot, Host, Vice Chair, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– Musqueam host and welcome
– UBC welcome
– Mr. Binota Moy Dhamai, Chair, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Housekeeping
9.30-10.45Panel 1: Role of governments and legislation (1 and ¼ hours)

Moderator: Ms. Laila Vars, Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (by Zoom)

Presenters:
– Mr. Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (10 minutes)
– Mr. William David (10 minutes)
– Mr. Eirik Larsen, Political Advisor to the Governing Council, Sami Parliament of Norway (10 minutes)
– Mr. Gustavo A. Torres Cisneros, General Coordinator of Transversality and Regional Operation of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), Government of Mexico (10 minutes)

Open Discussion
10.45-11.00Health Break
11.00-12.30Panel 2: Role of international and regional bodies in monitoring the implementation (1 and ½ hours)

Moderator: Mr. Binota Moy Dhamai, Chair, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Presenters:
– Dr. Kanyinke Sena, former Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Director, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (10 minutes)
– Mr. Alexey Tsykarev, former Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Chair, Centre for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy, Russia (10 minutes)
– Ms. Soledad García Muñoz, Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights, Organization of American States (10
minutes)

Open Discussion
12.30-14.00Lunch
14.00-15.30Panel 3: Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples (1 and ½ hours)

Moderator: Ms. Valmaine Toki, Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Presenters:
– Dr. Margaret Mutu, Professor, Maori Studies, University of Auckland; Independent Monitoring Mechanism, Iwi Chairs Forum (10 minutes)
– Mr. Gam Awungshi Shimray, Secretary General, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (10 minutes)
– Ms. Sara Olsvig, Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council (10 minutes)

Open Discussion
15.30-16.00Health Break
16.00Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Members remarks on the day


Day 2: Friday, 24 February, 2023

8.30-9.00Breakfast
9.00-10.30Panel 4: Legal and academia (1 and ½ hours)

Moderator: Ms. Antonina Gorbunova, Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Presenters:
– Mr. Paul Joffe, Legal Counsel, Cree Nation Government (10 minutes)
– Dr. Chidiebere Ogbonna, Senior Lecturer, Department of Development, Peace and Conflict Studies, Kampala International University, Uganda (10 minutes)
– Mr. José Aylwin, Observatorio Ciudadano, Chile (10 minutes)

Open Discussion
10.30-10.45Health Break
10.45-12.15Panel 5: Role of NGOs (1 and ¼ hours)

Moderator: Ms. Margaret Lokawa, Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Presenters:
– Ms. Joan Carling, Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights International (10 minutes)
– Mr. Rodion Sulyandziga, Centre of Support to Indigenous Peoples of the North (CSIP) (10 minutes)
– Mr. Joshua Cooper, Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights (10 minutes)
– Mr. David Berger, Programme Coordinator, IWGIA (10 minutes)

Open Discussion
12.15-1.30Lunch
1.30-2.45Panel 6: The role of Human Rights Institutions (1 and ½ hours)

Moderator: Ms. Anexa Brendalee Alfred Cunningham, Member, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (by Zoom)

Presenters:
– Ms. Jess Ngatai, Policy Analyst, New Zealand Human Rights Commission (10 minutes)
– Ms. Kasari Govender, British Columbia Human Rights Commissioner (10 minutes)
– Ms. Alicia Maribel Abanto Cabanillas, Deputy Head, Human Rights Commissioner of Peru (10 minutes)

Open Discussion
2.45-3.15Health Break
3.15Conclusion by Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Members
This Expert Seminar is proudly hosted by:
– Associate Professor Sheryl Lightfoot, Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia

Expert Seminar Co-Sponsors:
– The Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives, University of British Columbia
– Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia
– School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia

With special assistance provided by:
– Canadian Friends Service Committee

Presentation Materials

Panel 1: Role of governments and legislation

Panel 2: Role of international and regional bodies in monitoring the implementation

Panel 3: Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples

Panel 4: Legal and academia

Panel 5: Role of NGOs

Panel 6: Role of Human Rights Institutions


Speaker Bios

Alicia Maribel Abanto Cabanillas

TBD

José Aylwin Oyarzún, Coordinator of the Globalization and Human Rights Program, Observatorio Cludadano

José Aylwin is a human rights lawyer who studied at the University of Chile in Santiago (1981) and received a Master of Laws at the University of British Columbia (Canada) (1999). He is the co-founder and President of the of the Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizens’ Watch), an NGO aimed at documenting and promoting human rights in Chile and Latin America. José was also a member of the board of directors of the National Human Rights Institute in Chile from 2013 to 2018. He has researched and published on Indigenous Peoples´ rights, citizens’ rights, environmental rights, as well as on business and human rights in Chile and Latin America with different national and international institutions. He has also been an adjunct professor teaching Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at the School of Law of the Universidad Austral de Chile and invited as visiting professor at the University of Deusto in Spain and Mc Gill University in Canada. Currently, he acts as Coordinator of the Globalization and Human Rights Program of the Observatorio Ciudadano.

David Berger, Advisor on Data Generation and Analysis, International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs

David Nathaniel Berger is the Advisor on Data Generation and Analysis and the programme coordinator responsible for components of the Indigenous Navigator at the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs. He is passionate about sustainability, human rights, and data. He joined IWGIA as programme coordinator for pillars 1 & 2 of the Indigenous Navigator project and as general editor of The Indigenous World 2019 and is now regional editor for the Pacific for the Indigenous World 2020, 2021 and 2022. David is also a Global Studies (IR & Poli-Sci) MA graduate from the Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree program, with NGO development and administration experience.  

Joan Carling, Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples Rights International

Joan Carling is an Indigenous activist from the Cordillera, Philippines. She has been working on Indigenous issues at the grassroots to international levels for more than 20 years. Her fields of expertise include human rights, sustainable development, the environment and climate change, as well as the principles and application of Free Prior and Informed Consent. She has also been actively engaging in international bodies, processes, and mechanisms such as with International Financial Institutions, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN agencies, and mechanisms relating to human rights and sustainable development in advancing the issues and concerns of Indigenous peoples. She is also a former Indigenous expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is currently the Executive Director of Indigenous Peoples Rights International.

Joshua Cooper, Director, Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights

Joshua Cooper is a human rights advocate actively involved in this work since the creation of the UN Human Rights Council. He began serving with Maui Mayor Rick Bissen in the newly created Department of Innovation & Sustainability for the four island county of Maui including Kaho’olawe, Lanai and Molokai. He also serves on the National Human Rights Cities Alliance for the United States of America and participates on that steering committee. Cooper has created and coordinated four dozen unique courses in Political Science, Journalism and Peace Studies at the University of Hawaii, and is founder of United Nations University – Regional Center of Expertise (UNU-RCE) Hawai’i Moananuiakea. Cooper participated in the negotiations from the Rio+20 Summit to the adoption at the UN General Assembly of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Cooper advises Major Groups and Other Stakeholders in the UN Voluntary National Reviews for the High Level Political Forum and is mobilizing subnational initiatives such as Voluntary Local Reviews spearheaded by cities. Hawai’i will be conducting its second VLR in 2023. 

William David

TBD

Soledad García Muñoz, Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights, Organization of American States 

Soledad García Muñoz is the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (REDESCA), from the IACHR, OAS. She is also a lawyer specialized in fundamental rights with a degree from University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain. She is a renowned academic and activist with a long career trajectory of regional and global work on human rights, gender and women’s human rights. She has provided professional and voluntary services to different agencies of the United Nations, to Amnesty International, the Ibero-American Youth Organization, among other prestigious organizations. Before starting her tenure as Special Rapporteur, she was the regional representative for South America of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights based in Montevideo, Uruguay. She is the first holder of REDESCA’s mandate, after being elected by the IACHR in an Inter-American public competition. 

Kasari Govender, Commissioner, British Columbia’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner

Kasari Govender took office as British Columbia’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner in 2019. Her role is to lead the promotion and protection of human rights in British Columbia through the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. Govender has devoted her life to promoting human rights, with a focus on the rights of those most marginalized. She is passionate about using her skills as a lawyer and community builder to create a more equal and just province. She has worked closely with organizations and communities promoting gender equality, Indigenous rights, children’s rights, the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of immigrant communities. She has co-authored key reports and articles and speaks widely on crucial social issues such as hate speech, access to justice, gender-based violence and systemic racism. Her earlier work includes a pivotal role in establishing the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a non-profit legal clinic in British Columbia.

Paul Joffe, Legal Counsel, Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/ Cree Nation Government

Paul Joffe is a lawyer and a member of the Québec and Ontario bars. He specializes in human rights concerning Indigenous Peoples at the international and domestic level. Since the early 1980s, he has been actively involved in standard-setting processes including those relating to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the Organization of American States; and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 in Geneva. For the past three decades, Paul has represented the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and, more recently, the Cree Nation Government.

Eirik Larsen, Political Advisor, Governing Council of the Norwegian Sami Parliament

Mr. Eirik Larsen – Lásse-Ivvár Erke (1983) is a Political advisor for the Governing Council at the Sámi Parliament in Norway. Larsen is from Dielddanuorri (Tjeldsund) in Norway and lives currently in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino). He represents the Norwegian Sámi Association (NSR) and was elected as member of the Sami Parliament in Norway in 2021. Larsen holds a Master in Law from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where he graduated with a Master’s thesis on Sámi and Indigenous Peoples Law. Larsen has previously worked in Norwegian ministries and Sami civil society.

Margaret Mutu, Professor, University of Auckland

Margaret Mutu is of Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua and Scottish descent. She is the Professor of Māori Studies at the University of Auckland where she teaches and conducts research on Māori language, tikanga (law), history and traditions, rights and sovereignty, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and treaty claims against the English Crown, constitutional transformation and Māori-Chinese encounters. She has published four books: a grammar of the `Ua Pou dialect of Marquesan (2002); the history and traditions of her hapū, Te Whānau Moana (2003); her collection of annual reviews of issues affecting Māori, The State of Māori Rights (2011); and Ngāti Kahu: Portrait of a Sovereign Nation, on the traditions, history and Tiriti o Waitangi claims of her iwi (nation), Ngāti Kahu (2017). Margaret is also the chair of her iwi parliament, Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu of the Far North and of two of her marae. She has been a mandated representative of Ngāti Kahu and of Māori in several national and international fora including being the chair of the Aotearoa Monitoring Mechanism. 

Jessica Ngatai, Senior Human Rights Specialist/Kaitakawaenga Matua Te Kāhui Tika Tangata the New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Jessica Ngatai, of Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Haua descent, is a Senior Human Rights Specialist / Kaitakawaenga Matua at Te Kāhui Tika Tangata the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. A graduate of Law and Māori Studies from the University of Auckland, she has worked at the Commission for over fifteen years in a range of legal, research and policy roles. As part of the Commission’s Ahi Kaa Treaty and Indigenous Rights team, her work currently focuses on the UN Declaration – promoting, monitoring and advocating for realisation of the rights of tangata whenua / Indigenous Peoples. Other key areas of work have included in relation to rights in detention, women’s rights and children’s rights.

Chidiebere Ogbonna, Senior Lecturer, Department of Peace, Conflict and Development Studies, Kampala International University

Chidiebere, C. Ogbonna, Ph.D is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development, Peace and Conflict Studies, at Kampala International University, Uganda, where he also serves as the Research Coordinator. He is an interdisciplinary scholar whose areas of specialization encompass: Human Rights and Social Development; Communal Security Dilemma; Inter and Intra-Tribal Relations; International Relations and Power Dynamics; Indigenous Knowledge Emancipation and Non-violent Civil Resistance Paradigm. He is a Fellow and External Examiner of the UNESCO Chair Philosophy for Peace, Universitat Jaume I, Spain, a Research Fellow of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Research, University of Granada, Spain. He is an academic friend of Indigenous Peoples of the world. He is the author of “Belligerent Peace”. 

Sara Olvig, International Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council

International Chair of Inuit Circumpolar Council Sara Olsvig is a Ph.D.-fellow at Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland, and member of the Human Rights Council of Greenland. Olsvig has served as member of the Parliament of Denmark, member of the Parliament of Greenland, leader of the political party Inuit Ataqatigiit and as Vice Premier and Minister of Social Affairs, Families, Gender Equality and Justice in the Government of Greenland. Sara was also the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region from 2013 to 2014. She is Inuk and lives in Nuuk, Greenland. 

Paul Kanyinke Sena, Director, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee

Dr. Paul Kanyinke Sena holds a Doctorate in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy from the University of Arizona. He is the Director of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, a network of 135 Indigenous Peoples organizations in 22 countries in Africa. Dr. Sena also teaches human rights and environmental law at the Faculty of Law, Egerton University, Kenya. Previously he served as a member and Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and as a member of the African Commission Working Group on Indigenous Populations. He has also served at Conservation International Indigenous Advisory Boards, UN REDD Policy Board among others. 

Gam Awungshi Shimray, Secretary General, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Gam A. Shimray is Naga and has been a human rights activist for almost 30 years. He has held important positions and was part of several civil and democratic rights initiatives in Asia. He has dedicated his time to advancing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and democracy in Asia. He also has advanced knowledge and experience working with the grassroots on the issues of biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, self-determination and peacebuilding. In addition, he has authored publications on human rights, the environment, and ethnic issues.

Rodion Sulyandziga, Head of the Centre of Support to Indigenous Peoples of the North

Rodion Sulyandziga has many years of solid experience working on the promotion and protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights at the local and global level including UN human rights mechanisms and bodies. Being of Udege (“Forest People”) Indigenous origin, Rodion has first-hand knowledge of challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in his region and globally. Through his international and regional advocacy, documentation, and research, Rodion is a well-recognized promoter of the rights of Indigenous peoples. He has been the co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change leading to the Paris Agreement (2012-2016) and on the IP Global coordination committee of the UN High Level Plenary/World Conference on indigenous peoples (2013-2015). He held two UN positions as a member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2019-2022) under the HRC and of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform under the UNFCCC (2018-2021). He has a Ph.D. in Social Science.

Gustavo Adolfo Torres Cisneros, General Coordinator, Transversality and Regional Operation of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples

Born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca on March 22, 1969, he graduated from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) with honors in Social Anthropology in 1994. He studied Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM, Mexico, from 1989 to 1994. He studied for a master’s degree in Ethnohistory at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico in 1994. He obtained a master’s degree in Anthropology and History of Religions from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences Religieuses, Sorbonne, Paris, in 1995; and in 2001 from the same academy, he received a doctorate in Religious Anthropology with a “Très Honorable” mention. He received diplomatic training at the Matias Romero Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico City from 2009 to 2010. He speaks English, French, Dutch and has also studied indigenous languages of Mexico such as Nahuatl and Mixe. 

He has worked as an ethnographic researcher, professor of Spanish, Mixe and Mesoamerican Mythology, student advisor at the Faculty of European Studies and the Department of Anthropology at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, translator of the book “Cruzando Fronteras. Reflections on the relevance of historical, symbolic and almost disappeared borders in Latin America.”, planner and executor of indigenous consultation events, director of International Affairs of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (2005-2007), participant in the negotiations of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the OAS, participant in the negotiations on Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore at WIPO and participant in the negotiations on the position of the Government of Mexico before the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property and Artistic Expressions of UNESCO, as well as Presenter of the Government of Mexico before the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the UN in New York, and recently Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States based in Washington from 2018 to 2022. He is a member of the Société des Américanistes de Paris and the Mexican Society of Anthropology. He has about 29 publications, which can be found in Spanish, French, English and German. 

Aleksei Tsykarev, Chair, Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy (Young Karelia)

Aleksei Tsykarev chairs the Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy (Young Karelia), an Indigenous NGO under special consultative status with ECOSOC. From 2013 to 2022, Mr. Tsykarev served as an independent expert in several United Nations capacities. He is a former Member and Chairperson-Rapporteur of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and former Member and Vice Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He served on the Steering Committee for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032. Mr. Tsykarev has been a consultant at the World Bank, a resource person at the UN Institute for Training and Research and currently is Programme Director of the School of Civic Diplomacy at MGIMO University of International Affairs. Mr. Tsykarev holds a Master of Linguistics and is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado. His publications and presentations focus on human rights and international diplomacy.