Outcome of the high-level plenary meeting of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

  • Peace, Rights and Security
Statement delivered by Arawhetu Gray, Deputy-Secretary Policy Partnerships, Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Māori Development), 22 April 2015.

Chairperson –

The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held here at the United Nations last September was an event of great significance for both Member States and indigenous peoples. At that meeting, we had an opportunity to reflect on the progress made since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It was also an occasion to acknowledge the challenges that remain and take stock of the distance we have to go to meet the aspirations set out in the UNDRIP.

The Outcome Document endorsed by Governments at the World Conference sets a roadmap for Member States, indigenous peoples and the UN system to build on the progress made since 2007 and to take actions to address the remaining challenges. It identifies important priorities and necessary actions on land, resources, justice systems, education, health and development. There is an explicit focus on indigenous women, youth and persons with disabilities. And there is an important undertaking to place an efficiency lens over existing UN mechanisms and tackle the shelved question of the participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations.

Achieving the objectives set out in the Outcome Document will not rely simply on political will or resources; it will also rely on continued collaboration and partnership. This Fourteenth Permanent Forum is therefore an important opportunity to continue our conversation about the Outcome Document and how we turn words on a piece of paper into real impacts and outcomes for indigenous peoples.

With the World Conference fresh in our minds, New Zealand is considering how best to reflect the Outcome Document in our domestic context. We hope that during this Permanent Forum we can hear from Member States, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders about their ideas and vision for the Outcome Document, which will help inform our approach.

In this regard we wish to thank the Permanent Forum Members and the Secretariat for their agreement to hold an informal hearing on Wednesday for further discussion on the follow-up to the World Conference. At that session, New Zealand is particularly interested to hear the views of indigenous peoples and other stakeholders on questions three and four of the questionnaire distributed by DESA – the questions on participation and existing UN mechanisms on indigenous peoples.


New Zealand is already undertaking a range of actions consistent with the Outcome Document to promote and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in New Zealand.

We will continue to strengthen the relationship between the Government and Māori, to ensure that long term domestic priorities for advancing indigenous well-being, including efforts to address domestic violence, youth unemployment and access to resources and lands, are addressed.

Thank you.


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