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UNPFII side event: Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

19 April 2024 • 1:15 – 2:30 pm EST
Conference Room F, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Indigenous youth represent a dynamic force within their communities, possessing a unique perspective on issues concerning economic, social and cultural rights. As custodians of their cultural heritage and traditions, they play a crucial role in preserving and promoting Indigenous identities, languages, and knowledge systems. However, they also face numerous challenges, including marginalization, discrimination, and limited access to resources to mobilise young people in their communities.

Despite these challenges, Indigenous youth in Africa and around the world are taking action. This side event to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) aims to highlight the indispensable role of Indigenous youth in advocating for economic, social and cultural rights within their communities and at the international level. Speakers will share examples of the importance of data collection and the innovative approaches that young Indigenous practitioners have brought to the field, revolutionising the way communities are providing evidence of the intersectional link between land rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

The event draws on the research and advocacy experience of Indigenous communities in East Africa, through a current collaboration with Minority Rights Group and Land Body Ecologies research group. It will also draw on the comparative experience of Indigenous practitioners in other regions. The event seeks to provide a platform for Indigenous community representatives and youth leaders to share their experiences, strategies, and innovative approaches in advancing Indigenous rights and fostering social inclusion and cultural protection.

Co-sponsors: Action for Batwa Empowerment Group, Ogiek Peoples Development Program, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minority Rights Group, Land Body Ecologies and Wellcome Trust.

This event is financed with the generous assistance of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Minority Rights Group programme Realising Rights for All, and the Wellcome Trust through the Land Body Ecologies project.

Two Ogiek youth walking through Mau Forest in Narok, Kenya. The text on the back of their shirts reads ‘My culture, my language, my identity’. Credit: Samrawit Gougsa / MRG.