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PIA Press Release

Asian parliamentarians to meet in Manila

Manila (24 March) -- On the heels of the Copenhagen climate change conference and of the release of the "State of the World's Indigenous Peoples", the first report of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFII), parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Manila on 25-26 March to analyze innovative approaches and solutions to the issues facing indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples manage 11 percent of the world's forest lands, live in or close to the world's protected areas and are the custodians of 80 percent of the planet's biodiversity. Climate change poses heightened threats to their survival, but at the same time, because of their close traditional relationship with the environment, indigenous peoples are uniquely positioned to respond to major environmental changes.

"At present there are 370 million indigenous peoples in 90 countries around the world. They suffer higher rates of poverty, landlessness, and malnutrition. Parliamentarians are one of the key agents of change who can support indigenous peoples' participation in national policy formulation and implementation, said Yasuo Fukuda, Chair of the AFPPD and former Prime Minister of Japan.

The seminar will represent an opportunity for parliamentarians to learn about indigenous peoples' needs and potential and for indigenous peoples to find in the parliamentarians a willing ally.

Agatha Sangma, Indian Minister for Rural Development, and Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, will voice the major challenges faced by indigenous peoples in relation to climate change, rural poverty and discrimination.

This regional seminar is being organized by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) in collaboration with the Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development, Inc. (PLCPD). (PIA) [top]

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