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United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was formed on July 28, 2000, comprising sixteen members—eight nominated by national governments and eight nominated by Indigenous Peoples’ organizations—that meet in yearly sessions dedicated to a specific issue. As one of three UN bodies specifically addressing Indigenous Peoples’ issues, UNPFII focuses on addressing Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health, and human rights. By providing expert recommendations concerning Indigenous issues to the UN, raising awareness of and discussing Indigenous issues, and promoting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), UNPFII advances the rights and representation of Indigenous Peoples at local, regional, and global levels.

This committee is designed for both beginners and experienced delegates alike. Position papers, although strongly recommended, are not required. However, delegates who wish to be considered for an award must submit their position papers by January 22nd, 2024, at 23:59 PT. More information about position papers can be found on page 3 of the Background Guide.

Topic A: Land Sovereignty (Click to show summary)

 

Land sovereignty is the right of Indigenous Peoples to access, use, and control traditional territories and ancestral lands as well as their resources. For many generations, Indigenous Peoples have developed and held strong cultural, social, spiritual, political, and economic connections with their land. However, many extractive industries and governments still disregard Indigenous land rights, thus threatening the livelihoods of Indigenous communities. The endangerment of the long standing relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their land exacerbates their marginalization, poor well-being, and lack of self-governance while hindering nations’ ability to tackle the global environmental crisis. Due to the diversity in groups of Indigenous Peoples, this multifaceted topic demands the consideration of various Indigenous perspectives.

Topic B: Indigenous Rights to Self-Governance (Click to show summary)

 

Rights to self-governance for Indigenous communities are crucial for gradual decolonization efforts and improving Indigenous communities’ access to self determination. Due to historical injustices leading to modern day issues in Indigenous communities, the independence to make and execute decisions is at the core of self-governance. Whether this be fully independent community leaders, an increase of Indigenous people in office, or variations of the two, Indigenous governments would be in charge of the political, economic, and social systems of their own societies. Due to systemic barriers and hundreds of years of oppression, however, it is still often difficult for Indigenous Peoples to access self-determination rights.



Renee Chan

Renee Chan | Co-Director

A Grade 12 student at Crofton House School, Renee is ecstatic to serve as the Co-Director of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for VMUN 2024. Since starting her MUN journey in Grade 9, she has been amazed by the close-knit community and the professionalism of the conferences. She has come to value MUN as a collaborative experience that has transformed her perspective on international cooperation and global issues. Renee believes VMUN will give delegates the opportunity to venture beyond their comfort zones through practicing public speaking, meeting other driven leaders, and engaging in invigorating debates. Outside of MUN, she can be found immersing herself in jazz piano, biking on the Arbutus Greenway, or enjoying a game of badminton. Renee hopes all delegates will have a memorable experience and looks forward to meeting everyone in UNPFII!


Finn Liu

Finn Liu | Co-Director

Going into his Grade 12 year at Fraser Heights Secondary, Finn is ready to rumble as the Co-Director of the UNPFII for this iteration of VMUN. Having been in Model UN for the past 4 years, he’s ecstatic to finish his final year of this activity with a bang. Entering his first committee room back in 2019, the awkward delegate who feared discourse and advocating for his own policies is now unrecognizable. Though Model UN can seem daunting upon entering the first committee sessions of a delegate’s short high school MUN lifespan, he urges all who stumble upon this opportunity to take it and hone it. Outside of the committee room, you won’t be able to find Finn (although he should go outside more). More often than not, Finn is stressing over work in a nearby Starbucks, looking for a new jar of pickles, and watching corecore videos.


Amy Lam

Amy Lam | Assistant Director

As a Grade 12 student at Little Flower Academy, Amy is thrilled to be serving as the Assistant Director of UNPFII at VMUN 2024. Amy first entered the world of VMUN in 2022 as a delegate in UNEP. She may be recognized at conferences by the striking white business attire she borrowed from (and never returned to) her esteemed grandmother, who leaps for joy each time Amy describes being nominated for “Best Dressed” during FunMUN. Whether backcountry camping or practicing sword routines in the rain, Amy is an outdoor enthusiast who is always eager to connect her passion for all things Mother Nature with her interest in BC’s local Indigenous groups. She looks forward to meeting all delegates at VMUN 2024!


You can contact the Director at unpfii@vmun.com. Any questions regarding the committee or its debate procedures will be answered by email. Position papers must also be submitted to this address.

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