The week started with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on August 9th with the theme “Indigenous designs: Celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future”.
The focus this year was on preserving the future considering the struggle in obtaining resources for survival of indigenous people around the world. The focus on preserving and being educated on history of the past for our future on different levels continued throughout the week in a variety of different UN supported events.
At a conference this week at a UN forum in the Republic of Korea UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged youth in the conference and around the globe to take into consideration the different obstacles that the world faces and realize that the youth today will be the global leaders in the near future. The theme of the conference as it continues is “Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature” and focuses on the development in today’s generation for the future.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy ended his post this week and stressed the need for the people of the future to continue to stay engaged in the world’s development as well as there is specifically a constant need for the work of peacekeeping. He mentioned how the need may not seem vivid at all times, but there are always situations that arise where peacekeeping support is needed in nations throughout the world. On the same day, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss spoke during both a visit to Argentina and a seminar in Chile ‘The United Nations in Global Governance’ about the importance of the UN’s role in adjusting to improve its global governance in the 21st century as it branches all of the nations it supports together, starting with organizations including the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC).
Efforts were made this week by young global students as students in Japan spoke with UN Security-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit following the natural disaster earlier this year. They discussed the future of Japan and their dedication as students to help the country during its recovery and the UN Secretary-General initiated plans for an international high-level meeting next month to discuss the issue. Along with education, comes the important support of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of Academic Impact which focuses on the research and development of learning so that world challenges have the potential to be solved in our future and communities can come together similar to international communities reaching out in conferences.
Along with highlighting how education can help solve global obstacles and the efforts to help the recovery of Japan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mentioned the importance this week of international support for Somalia who is still currently struggling with the development of its nation and government along with the challenges of the famine that continues to affect its country and others in the Horn of Africa. This continues to be an incredible global tragedy for the continent of Africa, and offers an urgent opportunity for organizations supported by the United Nations and the entire international community to support.
Involvement in global impact starts young! Players of the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona met with youth in Dallas, Texas this week to encourage participation in the sport of soccer and to send the message to the children that passion is the key to success. Both UNICEF, who has been a major contributor to the providing resources to the crisis in the Horn of Africa recently, and FC Barcelona have worked together in the past and continue to do so in encouraging youth participation in sports and the education behind the skills learned from being active on an educational, environmental and social level so that future generations that are struggling today can develop in the future.
Are you looking to get involved and have an impact on helping the world? Do you have an idea you think the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should hear? You’re in luck! A Citizen Ambassador’s contest in time for World Humanitarian Day 2011 coming up later this month just started this week giving those that participate the potential to have the opportunity to share your idea with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself. Check it out, here!
August 9 was established as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People by the UN’s General Assembly in 1994 with the goal to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous people and to recognize significant achievements and contributions of the population. Recognizing indigenous filmmakers was the theme of the 2010 observance, with films being screened at the UN Headquarters.
In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of indigenous filmmakers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday addressed the urgency to improve the lives of indigenous people. “Indigenous peoples still experience racism, poor health and disproportionate poverty,” Mr. Ban said. “In many societies, their languages, religions and cultural traditions are stigmatized and shunned.” (Source)
He indicated that statistics from the January UN report on the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples included disturbing statistics: indigenous peoples are 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis than the general population in some countries. Also, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years before a non-indigenous fellow citizen.
Even with these shocking figures, the Secretary General continued that the situation has seen improvement over the past few years. “Since [the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007] we have seen more governments working to redress social and economic injustices, through legislation and other means, and indigenous peoples’ issues have become more prominent on the international agenda than ever before,” Mr. Ban said.
Even though there has been considerable progress in advancing the rights of indigenous peoples in the past few years, the recent statistics clearly demonstrate a drastic need for more improvement for the lives of indigenous peoples. The United Nations and other organizations are essential in this ongoing process.
In Cambridge, MA, the organization Cultural Survival partners with Indigenous communities to help them achieve their goals and defend their land, languages and cultures. To learn more about how you can help indigenous peoples in the New England area visit Cultural Survival’s website http://www.culturalsurvival.org/