Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature
20 April 2011 (UN Headquarters, New York)

To commemorate International Mother Earth Day, the UN General Assembly hosted an interactive dialogue on harmony with nature. The dialogue consisted of two moderated panel discussions with experts in sustainable development on: ways to promote a holistic approach to sustainable development in harmony with nature; and sharing national experiences on criteria and indicators for measuring sustainable development in harmony with nature. The interactive dialogue was further intended to inform the on-going preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held inRio de Janeiroin 2012.

The UN Secretary-General’s report on “Harmony with Nature” (A/65/314) reflects upon the nurturing kinship that humans have had with the Earth throughout the history of civilization. The report provides an overview of how the consumption and production patterns of the 21st century do not adequately recognize the intimate relationship between humans and the environment, the result of which has severely affected the Earth’s carrying capacity and compromised environmental, social and economic sustainability. The report further elaborates on the “route back to the future” which involves “reconnecting with nature”. In her statement, PFII Secretariat Chief Chandra Roy-Henriksen emphasized that “Indigenous peoples have always identified themselves by the importance of the bond with their lands and their distinct cultures. Indigenous peoples share a spiritual, cultural, social and economic relationship with their traditional lands, and their customary laws, customs and practices reflect both an attachment to land and a responsibility for preserving traditional lands for use by future generations. A critical issue for indigenous peoples around the world is therefore access to, as well as the protection and preservation of, their lands and territories and the natural resources pertaining to these lands.” She added that the concern for many indigenous peoples is to bridge the vast gap between treating the planet/ Mother Earth as a commodity and taking responsibility. Indigenous peoples have realized the rapid pace of human-induced environmental change and have called for decisive action not only at the international level but also at the national and local levels. Visit the meeting’s webpage … Download the dialogue’s programme [pdf[ … View links the statements and presentations made during the dialogue … Download the UN Secretary-General’s report on harmony with nature [pdf] … Read the summary of the dialogue by the UN Department of Public Information …