International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
9 August 2012 (Worldwide)

The focus of this year’s International Day is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices.” The theme aims to highlight the importance of indigenous media in challenging stereotypes, forging indigenous peoples’ identities, communicating with the outside world, and influencing the social and political agenda. A special event will be held on 9 of August 2012 at the UN Headquarters in New York, organized by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Department of Public Information, and the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, including an interactive dialogue on this year’s theme which will take place from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at the ECOSOC Chamber.

On the occasion, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that “Indigenous voices are recounting compelling stories of how they are combating centuries of injustice and discrimination, and advocating for the resources and rights that will preserve their cultures, languages, spirituality and traditions. They offer an alternative perspective on development models that exclude the indigenous experience. They promote the mutual respect and intercultural understanding that is a precondition for a society without poverty and prejudice.”

In a press release, IFAD highlighted the IFAD-financed first community radio station in Malaysia, Radio Bario, which broadcasts in the language of the Kelabit people living in the highlands of Malaysia’s Sarawak Province and serves as a channel for discussion of social problems and issues, including the protection of forested lands from illegal logging. IFAD plans to convene the first global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Forum in February 2013.

In his message, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry noted that this year’s theme touches directly upon intellectual property issues, namely the wish for Indigenous Peoples to have control over how their cultures are accessed, used and represented, especially in the media. This is one of the issues addressed in the WIPO IGC negotiations, while empowering Indigenous voices lies at the center of WIPO’s Creative Heritage Cultural Documentation and Intellectual Property Management Training Program. This program provides hands-on practical training to indigenous communities in documenting their own traditional cultural expressions and managing their intellectual property interests in relation to their recordings.

Visit the International Day’s website … Visit the SPFII webpage on the International Day … Download UN Secretary-General’s message [pdf] … Read IFAD’s press release … Visit WIPO’s website …