Manila, Philippines – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (IDWIP) is celebrated to highlight the importance of indigenous media in challenging stereotypes, forging indigenous peoples’ identities, communicating with the outside world, and influencing the social and political agenda. The focus of this year’s observance is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices.” An interactive dialogue on “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices” will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United Nations of America. In the Philippines, an Indigenous People’s Education Office was created as a sub-agency under the Department of Education early this year to serve as a clearing house and lead planning, implementing, and monitoring activities related to indigenous peoples’ education.
The annual observance was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 23, 1994 during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, from 2005-2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.” The IDWIP is observed annually on August 9 in commemoration
of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on IP in Geneva in 1982.
The past decades has seen how indigenous people have developed their own media to reflect and highlight indigenous values and correct myths and misconceptions about them. In his message for the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “Let us use the media indigenous and non-indigenous, and especially new outlets to create bridges and establish a truly intercultural world, where diversity is celebrated; a world where different cultures not only coexist but value each other for their contributions and potential.“
Member states and mainstream media likewise urged “to create and maintain opportunities for indigenous peoples to articulate their perspectives, priorities and aspirations.“ Media workers would do well to explore alternative perspectives in order that development models can include the indigenous experience to foster deeper mutual respect and intercultural understanding.
We greet the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD/Department of Economic and Social Affairs-Economic and Social Council, the UN Department of Public Information, and the Non-Government Organizations Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples led by Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, UndersecretaryGeneral for Communications and Public Information Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Director of DSPD Daniela Bas, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Grand Chief Edward John (TI’azt’en, Canada), and Chairperson of the Non-Government Organizations Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taino, Puerto Rico) on the occasion of this year’s observance of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. COPNGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!