Delivered by Malia Nobrega (October 28, 2010)
Our chants, proverbs, our traditional knowledge informs us of our past and teach us lessons for the future.
Indigenous Peoples are here in Nagoya and we have come from the 7 regions of the world. We are very pleased to meet on this occasion in Japan and we wish to firstly thank the Ainu, the Indigenous Peoples of Japan for allowing us to be here in their homeland and we also would like to thank the Japanese government for their hospitality.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly recognized and affirmed that Indigenous Peoples have equal rights and freedoms to all other peoples of the world.
We have the right to self-determination, and that means we have the right to make our own decisions regarding the access to our lands, territories, waters and natural resources. Our status and our rights, as Indigenous Peoples, are universally recognized and must now be respected and implemented by the Parties to this Convention.
A protocol that respects our rights by ensuring equitable benefits for Indigenous Peoples will guarantee our participation in any decision making regarding our resources.
Respect for the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, valuing our traditional knowledge, innovations, and practices are critical and invaluable requirements towards adequate holistic solutions for the future.
Ensuring the participation of all, including indigenous women, our elders, and our youth, is essential in achieving the objectives of the Convention and the revised strategic plan which includes the new goals and targets.
Securing indigenous peoples territories and land rights will deliver benefits for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Our cosmovision, ways of life and traditional practices have been in existence since time immemorial. Our indigenous visions and values propose a way of life that is respectful, responsible, balanced and harmonious with nature and offers equity and solidarity as the guiding principles of global wellbeing. Indigenous worldviews embody an organized, sustainable and dynamic economic system, as well as political, socio-cultural and environmental rights. This vindicates a social dimension of democracy that goes beyond formal democracy, where economy becomes a subordinate activity to the development of peoples in the name of humanity, solidarity and respect for Mother Earth.
Our genealogical chants passed on to me by my elders tell me that my land, my biodiversity, is a part of my genealogy, is a part of who I am. In Hawai’i and in the Pacific, such an example is our taro plant which we call Haloa. Haloa or the kalo is my elder brother. It is my responsibility to care for my elder brother, to care for my land, and in turn they will then care for me, they will feed me, and take care of all of humanity.
Mahalo and aloha.