The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Dr samson Viulu is representing the Solomon Islands Government at the twenty second session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) as head of delegation in New York this week.
The UNPFII is an annual conference hosted at the UN headquarters in New York focusing on global and national issues affecting indigenous people across seven geopolitical regions of the world.
The twenty second session of the UNPFII revolved around the theme “Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health and climate change: a rights-based approach”.
The UNPFII Secretariat said that the twenty second session involved discussion on the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum on economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights, with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The forum was also an opportunity for UN member states to have dialogues with Indigenous Peoples, United Nations agencies, funds and program such as the Human rights dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Solomon Islands has yet to endorse and adopt the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which was adopted by the United Nations in 2007.
The DCGA Government is now working on an Indigenous Peoples Policy as a priority for the Solomon Islands, with the intention to provide for the adoption of the UNDRIP.
Indigenous People are defined as the original people of the land that they live in. In the Solomon Islands, indigenous people are from the Polynesian and Melanesian race which makes up more than ninety percent of the total population.
Speaking from New York, Permanent Secretary of MRD Dr Viulu said that Solomon Islands is blessed to have an indigenous political government and a population that is predominantly indigenous unlike other regions in the world that continue to face discrimination against their traditional and cultural ways of lives and languages because of their indigenous backgrounds.
Dr Viulu is supported at the meeting by the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands to the United Nations.
Permanent Secretary Viulu has been tasked by the Solomon Islands National Government to formulate and produce the first Solomon Islands Indigenous Policy, and this was the essence of his participation at the UN.