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June 12, 2008

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Asia Indigenous Peoples Draw Concrete Plan for UN DRIP Implementation

BAGUIO CITY (June 12)-Indigenous peoples from 10 countries in Asia came up with concrete resolutions for the concrete implementation and mainstreaming of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) after a four day workshop that opened on June 7 and ended yesterday, June 11, here in Baguio City on the key issues that are of importance to them and are confronted with.

The workshop (Asia Workshop for the Promotion of the UN DRIP) was organized by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Tebtebba Foundation, International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), and the Asia Indigenous Women Network (AIWN). Eighty participants from 24 indigenous peoples' organizations attended the activity.

The Action Plan arose from the collective discussion, deliberation and sharing of the delegates from the workshops conducted on land and resources, education, health, socio-economic development and on capacity building. The Plan will be implemented on local, regional and national levels.

Joan Carling of the CPA Advisory Council shares that the workshop provided enriched knowledge of indigenous peoples, based the country level reports. "The workshop was also a venue for better understanding of the Declaration and greater solidarity among the participants, including cooperation with several UN agencies for a common platform," she said.

While these are the concrete gains, Carling added that there are challenges that must also be addressed. "The challenge still is getting governments to recognize indigenous peoples as distinct from the rest of the population, and that they are entitled to collective rights", she said, adding that recognizing other development stakeholders is also a challenge.

The delegates' optimism, solidarity and inspiration from the activity is a significant start for the implementation of the action plan, Carling ended. # AT Bengwayan/Cordillera Peoples Alliance

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