The International Indigenous Peoples' Forum on World Heritage
The International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on World Heritage (IIPFWH) was created by indigenous delegates at the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017. Modelled on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the IIPFWH is a standing global body aiming to engage with the World Heritage Committee during its meetings, in order to represent the voices of indigenous peoples with regards to the World Heritage Convention.
The decision to create the Forum was relayed to the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies, and members of the Committee including Angola, the 41 COM Chair. The Committee subsequently recognized the formation of the IIPFWH in its “Decision 41 com 7”, which builds on other relevant decisions such as “Decision 39 COM 11” and General Conference “Decision 20 GA 13”
The IIPFWH functions as a platform dedicated to strategizing and advocating towards the goal of full respect for indigenous rights within World Heritage Conventions and processes.
The Forum supports and advises indigenous peoples involved in various World heritage processes, such as nomination and designation procedures, conservation reporting, site management planning and implementation, among others. It also engages with the World Heritage Committee, the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and State Parties, functioning as a consultative and strategizing body dedicated to the promotion of rights-based, equitable and sustainable development of World Heritage Sites.
UNDRIP and the UNESCO policy on engaging with indigenous peoples shall serve as the reference points for engagement
The CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas shall provide valuable principles with regards to protected areas equity, benefits and governance
Capacity building is important for indigenous peoples and shall be encouraged and explored
The Forum shall endeavour to share information and updates with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
The Forum shall welcome engagement with the UN Special Rapporteurs on Culture and other relevant bodies or institutions
Indigenous people shall represent themselves and speak for themselves, with the Forum acting as a facilitator of effective communication with the WH Committee, UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies
The Forum shall address the World Heritage Committee during sessions and interact with the key Advisory Bodies, UNESCO and session Chair
Indigenous peoples living in or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, including sites under nomination, shall be specially supported to enable their voice and effective participation
The issue of local community representation shall be handled on a case by case basis, as distinct from indigenous peoples’ representation
Gender equity and inclusivity is essential
Sustained regional representation is essential
Similar to the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Biodiversity (IIPFB) and on Climate Change (IIPFCC), the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on World Heritage selects, at the time of World Heritage Committee meetings, a session Chairperson and Secretary for that event. The Forum also designates its delegates for participation in working groups or other processes around the World Heritage Committee based on an internal self-selection process.
The membership within the IIPFWH will therefore be largely fluid, with selection processes taking place before World Heritage Committee Meetings, as each event will be likely to have different issues and therefore will require different participation.
IIPFWH at the 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee - Krakow, Poland
The 41st session of the World Heritage Committee took place in July 2017 in Krakow, Poland. The session inscribed 21 new sites to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, 18 of them cultural and 3 of them natural. These changes bring the total number of World Heritage Sites to 1, 073, and sites in Angola and Eritrea joined the list for the first time.
It was during the 41st session that the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on World Heritage was created.
IIPFWH at the 42nd Session of the WHC - Manama, Bahrain
The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee commences on the 25th June, and concludes the 4th July 2018, at the UNESCO Village within the Ritz Carlton Hotel Premises in Manama, Bahrain.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago located in the Arabian Gulf, between Eastern Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and Manama is its capital, located in the North-East of Bahrain island.
The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee is an exciting event for the IIPFWH, as it is during this time that the Forum and it’s website are officially launched.