STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR RIYAD MANSOUR, (STATE OF PALESTINE), CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, AT THE HIGH-LEVEL EVENT TO MARK THE GLOBAL LAUNCH OF 2019 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES (New York, 1 February 2019)
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this High-level event to mark the global launch of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
3. The Group welcomed the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 71/178 of 19 December 2016 which decided to proclaim 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, to draw the world attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages and commend the efforts carried out by UNESCO in preparation for the 2019 international year of indigenous languages.
4. The Group hopes that the linguistic diversity of the Indigenous Peoples can be celebrated with a set of actions at local, national, regional and international level that allows advancing public policies and joint strategies for them.
5. The Group stresses the need to address in a holistic and comprehensive manner the sustainable development of indigenous and local communities as well as rural communities taking into account that in many developing countries, they form part of some of the poorest communities.
6. As we have done in the past, we reaffirm that the interlinkages among the SDGs, and addressing the well-being and the rights of youth, women and girls, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, older persons, migrants, refugees and those in vulnerable situations, are a prerequisite for achieving the 2030 Agenda.
7. The Group acknowledges the important contribution from indigenous peoples and local communities whose traditional knowledge, including traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources, and practices are relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
8. Therefore, the Group reiterates the importance to invite national governments and institutions to continue to promote cultural diversity and preserve the traditions of their people as well as indigenous and local traditional knowledge, practices and technology for achieving local development.
9. We reaffirm that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State. In this regard, the Group emphasizes the need to respect and safeguard indigenous cultural identities, knowledge and traditions in their countries.
10. The Group reaffirms the urgency, subject to national legislation, of recognizing the rights of local and indigenous communities that are holders of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and, with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices, of developing and implementing benefit-sharing mechanisms on mutually agreed terms for the use of such knowledge, innovations and practices.
11. Once again, the Group thanks you, Madame President, and looks forward to continuing discussions on this important issue.