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PIA Press Release

UNDP launches project to improve plight of Pinoy IPs

Baguio City (12 February) -- The problems faced by indigenous peoples in the Philippines require interventions that are integrated and holistic, rather than stop-gap and piece-meal. Thus, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching a program that brings together stakeholders from relevant areas to zero in on cross-cutting issues as peace building, environmental justice and good governance.

The UNDP program, "Strengthening Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Development" (SIPRD), will focus on securing the rights of IPs on their ancestral lands, including the sustainable use, management and protection of these lands. In effect, it supports good governance principles and promotes indigenous peace-keeping mechanisms to avoid costly and harmful armed conflicts.

According to Renaud Meyer, UNDP Country Director, "the program is part of UNDP's larger involvement in the UN's drive for a comprehensive, multi-agency UN System response to the challenges faced by IPs in the country."

The SIPRD is designed to provide UNDP and other agencies a framework through which responses to IP problems can be synergistically channeled, drawing on the resources of the entire UN System in the Philippines.

"The UN is now exploring ways wherein organizations like the ILO, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNIFEM, WFP, UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and the World Bank can better integrate for greater program effectiveness," Meyer continued.

Priority work will be the first-ever population census of IPs to be conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), in collaboration with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). The national census seeks to come up with sex-disaggregated data on IPs, and significantly provide a clearer picture of where intervention is most needed.

A ceremonial signing of the SPIRD Project Document is scheduled on Tuesday, 9 February 2010, after the launch of the State of the World's Indigenous Peoples Report. Venue is the Assembly Hall, NCPAG Building, UP-Diliman, Quezon City.

Project signatories include NCIP Chair Eugenio Insigne, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan, and UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer.

To date, UNDP Philippines has undertaken about 35 IP-focused projects, which have assisted 28 distinct ethno-linguistic groups in 12 regions and 21 provinces across the Philippines.

Among other notable milestones, the projects have resulted in the drafting 10 ancestral domain plans, which guarantee the right of IPs to manage their ancestral lands.

These projects have been funded through various sources, including the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

"Building on extensive global, regional, and local work in human development, advocacy on democratic governance and mainstreaming human rights, the UNDP strives to further provide opportunities and a voice to the marginalized in the country," Meyer said. (UNDP) [top]

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