News Release: Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration released at World Summit on Sustainable Development
Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat, Arctic Council, 23 August 2002

JOHANNESBURG – Indigenous Peoples have called for a World Summit on Indigenous Peoples as a follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development now underway in South Africa.

Representatives of Indigenous organizations from nearly 50 countries met for four days in Kimberley prior to the World Summit. They heard reports from the different indigenous regions, discussed international institutions and their roles, and developed a political statement for release at the Johannesburg Summit. Indigenous delegates are attempting to influence both the Political Declaration of the Summit and to the direction of sustainable development over the next decade.

Indigenous peoples are calling on states to include a line in the Political Declaration, which is: “We reaffirm the vital role of indigenous peoples in sustainable development.”

Delegates from the Arctic, South America, Asia, Africa met in the homeland of the Khoi-San people. The Khoi-San, the original inhabitants of South Africa, are struggling for recognition as a distinct people within this country. They are also fighting for the return of their lands, which were taken away during the colonial and apartheid periods.

Besides calling for an Indigenous Peoples Summit, the declaration states that

The Arctic was represented at the Indigenous Summit by the Saami Council, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Aleut International Association. The Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat assisted with fundraising, logistics and other work.

Editor’s note:
The Kimberley Declaration and other information from the World Summit on Sustainable Development can be found in IPS UPDATE, enclosed with the Russian edition of this issue. The English language version can be downloaded from