UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)


The proposal to create a Permanent Forum focused on Indigenous Issues was officially introduced at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. Its establishment then became one of the central objectives of the programme of activities for the First International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 - 2004). Subsequently, two UN workshops were held to discuss the possibility of a permanent forum.

The first workshop took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1995 (for the report see E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1995/7) and the second in Santiago de Chile in 1997. A review conducted by the Secretary General supported the creation of a permanent forum. In February 1999, an ad hoc working group of the Commission on Human Rights met in Geneva to elaborate proposals for the forum.

A second ad hoc working group met the following year, in February 2000, to finalize a proposal for the Commission on Human Rights. At its fifty-sixth session, the Commission on Human Rights decided to recommend to the Economic and Social Council that it set up a permanent forum on Indigenous issues.

On July 28, 2000, the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution establishing the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).


The 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. According to its mandate, the Permanent Forum will:

Provide expert advice and recommendations on Indigenous issues to the Council, as well as to programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations, through the Council.

Raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of activities related to indigenous issues within the UN system. Prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.

The Permanent Forum holds annual two-week sessions, generally in May.

The first meeting of the Permanent Forum was held in May 2002, and until now the yearly sessions took place in New York.


The indigenous peoples, the States, the bodies and organizations of the United Nations, the intergovernmental organizations and the nongovernmental organizations with advisory statute at the ECOSOC are invited to take part.


The Permanent Forum is composed of sixteen experts.

Eight members are nominated by governments and elected by the Economic and Social Council; and eight are nominated by the President of the Council after consultation in due form with the governments, which in their turn will have examined the candidatures of the interested with the organizations of the indigenous peoples.

The sixteen members serve in their personal capacities as independent experts on indigenous issues. They are appointed for a period of three years with the possibility of re-election or reappointment for another 3-year period. Decisions are made by consensus of the sixteen members.

Here the list of the members of the Permanent Forum, whose exercise will expire at the end of 2013:

Indigenous experts

Ms. Anna Naykanchina (Evenk, Russian Federation) - Eastern European States

Ms. Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inuit, United States) - North America

Mr. Edward John (Canada) - North America

Ms. Myrna Cunningham Kain (Miskita, Nicaragua) - Latin America

Mr. Paul Kanyinke Sena (Kenya) - African Group

Mr. Saul Vicente Vazquez (Mexico) - Latin America

Mr. Devasish Roy (Taungya, Bangladesh) - Asian Group

Ms. Valmaine Toki (Maori, New Zealand) - Pacific

State nominated experts

Mr. Alvaro Esteban Pop (Guatemala - Latin America

Mr. Andrey A. Nikiforov (Russian Federation) - Eastern European States

Mr. Bertie Xavier (Guyana) - Latin America

Ms. Eva Biaudet (Finland) - Western Europe

Ms. Helen Kaljulate (Estonia) - Eastern European States

Ms. Megan Davis (Australia) - Pacific

Ms. Paimaneh Hasteh (Iran) - Asian Group

Mr. Simon William M'Viboudoulou (Republic of Congo) - African Group


*The following text is largely inspired by the United Nations Guide for Indigenous Peoples, published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Permanent Forum News

Pre-registration to the 13th session of the UNPFII
March,25 2014

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) will take place in New York at the UN Headquarters from May 12 to 23, 2014. The pre-registration to this 13th session is now open. You will find all information related to this 13th session at the  ...  [more]

UNPFII 2013 : statements
May,28 2013

The statements read during the first week of the 12th Session of the Permanent Forum, and received by doCip, are now available on our online documentation database. To view, please click here or go to www.docip.org->Documentation->Online  ...  [more]

doCip’s support service on Special Procedures during the UNPFII
May,28 2013

In the framework of the 12th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and until Friday May 31, 2013, doCip offers a support service to indigenous delegates and organisations interested in Special Procedures. If you wish to send  ...  [more]