The UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues is the most important international dialogue space that discusses priority issues for indigenous peoples. Each year, the Permanent Forum receives indigenous organizations, UN agencies, the academia and civil society and they come up with a series of recommendations on the social, political, economic and cultural development of indigenous peoples.
These recommendations become an important instrument to advocate for their rights internationally, and their implementation is of utmost importance at the local, national and international level. Unfortunately, in many countries either there is no awareness of their existence or the efforts to make them become part of the government and UN agencies’ programs and policies are not enough. Similarly, the efforts to make the recommendations find their way into the agendas of indigenous organizations and committed civil society groups together with their campaigns and demands are not enough.
With the purpose of closing this information gap, Tarcila Rivera Zea, expert member of the Permanent Forum, is promoting the digital initiative Yanpaq.info, a search and monitoring platform of Permanent Forum recommendations. The website was presented at the United Nations in New York during the 18th session of the Permanent Forum, in an event hosted by CHIRAPAQ and the Permanent Mission of Peru to the UN, with the technical support of the Indigenous peoples’ centre for documentation, research and information (DoCip).
Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, permanent representative of Peru to the United Nations, highlighted that Yanapaq.info has the “potential and the value of getting us closer to the Forum recommendations from a friendly and objective perspective”. Likewise, he said that using the platform will enrich the democratic dialogue about indigenous peoples in pursuit of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On the other hand, Peruvian politician Tania Pariona Tarqui pledged to share the platform and the recommendations with her fellow members of Parliament so that they become aware of the commitments about indigenous peoples’ rights that Peru must honor. Pariona explained that the lack of awareness on what indigenous peoples and their rights are what is a great barrier to making progress on the implementation of the Permanent Forum recommendations.
The anthropologist and expert on indigenous issues Elsa Stamatopoulou described the platform as an incredible initiative and highlighted its importance in a context where information is not reliable. Stamatopoulou remarked that collecting, classifying and connecting the recommendations of the Permanent Forum to other instruments of rights will help to strengthen democracy.
Yanapaq means “helper” in Quechua and it aims at promoting access to information on Permanent Forum recommendations in a quick and simple way. The platform connects the recommendation with the relevant Sustainable Development Goals and articles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.