Mikhail Pogodaev on the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples
Written by Philip Burgess   
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 00:04
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unpfii-pogoThe United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

The Permanent Forum holds annual two-week sessions. The first meeting of the Permanent Forum was held in May 2002, and yearly sessions take place in New York. As the 8th session of the UN Permanent Forum wrapped up, the Reindeer Portal  took the time to make a short interview with new Chair of the Board, Mikhail  Pogodaev about how the meeting was from the perspective of Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH), the connections  made and why the UNPFII is an important process for WRH to follow

Why was attending the UNPFII important for the Association of World Reindeer Herders

First of all, I would like that our organisation will continue to be represented in the UN Permanent Forum and I think that it is important that we continue to attend this process and develop good contact with  other indigenous peoples and the many international organisations that are present here. Also, the Permanent Forum is an important site for reindeer herders as we can use it as a forum to address our claims and hopes to the national states where reindeer husbandry exists. 

Was this a Successful Meeting from the Point of View of WRH?


I think it was very successful as we now have very good contact with people involved in the process of the UNPFII, we have learned more about this system as it relates to indigenous peoples rights and we have some points in the future that we can develop with international organisations in the UN system and other international organisations and agencies. I was also able to gift a copy  of the book EALAT, Reindeer Herders Voice to the President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmannafter his address to the UN Permanent Forum, where he stated unequivocally ""Our challenge now is to fully and effectively implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"

WRH was handing out as gifts many copies of the recently published book EALAT - Reindeer Herders Voice. Why?


Yes, well the book is of course a product of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group system and the book makes for a great gift to hand out to people as it makes is much easier to explain what the Association is about and our various activities. People we gifted the book to were very interested in reindeer husbandry and when they received the book they were willing to know more about it and perhaps cooperate with us in the future.


WRH made a statement to the UNPFII, which is an achievement as nearly 50 organisations did not get to address the Forum. How was that possible?

Yes, we were able to make a statement and this was a result of a good communication and cooperation with RAIPON. RAIPON is of course an internationally known indigenous people’s organisation and I think that we have many common points and issues that we work on and that we can find other areas to cooperate in.  We have many of the same goals and together I think we can achieve more results.


You focussed on connecting with members of the Russian delegation.

Yes, we had a very good cooperation with all the members of the Russian delegation.

There were people from different indigenous people’s organisations from Russia and we discussed many questions about reindeer husbandry in their regions. And also we had a very good meeting with several representatives of the Russian government, including people from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and people from the Committee of Northern Affairs of the Federal Council. They are willing to support international cooperation for reindeer husbandry and proposed various projects that we can develop together.

We also presented a copy of the EALAT book to  Vitaly Churkin, the Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN and with him we had a very good discussion about many relevant issues concerning reindeer husbandry in Russia and international cooperation in the Arctic, as he was the representative of the Russian federation in the  Arctic Council. Churkin has had good contact with WRH in the past and he spoke of his good memories of this cooperation. Another important contact that we made was with Gennady Oleynik who is a Senator from Khanty Mansisk. Importantly for WRH, he is also Chair of the Committee on Arctic and Indigenous Peoples in the Council of the Russian Federation and with whom we had a very good meeting.


Are there any concrete outcomes from the 8th Session for WRH?

There are 2 points – the firs t that we have made contact with the UNPFII and we and those we would like to apply for ECOSOC consultative status so that WRH can be an accredited organisation. Secondly, in our statement, which we hope to see in the recommendations to the UNPFII about loss of

pastures and we hope that this will be adopted into the Declaration of the Permanent Forum, so that the recommendations will then be sent to the national states where the issue of pasture losses is critical for reindeer husbandry.

Download the Statement by Mikahil Pogodaev to the UNPFII here (in Russian) 


ICR Interview, Mikhail Pogodaev, Pogodaev, UN, UNPFII, WRH Activities