Indigenous Peoples of Malaysia highlight issues on SDGs

A 3-day country workshop regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and indigenous peoples in Malaysia was held by AIPP and PACOS Trust on 11-13 April 2017 in Sabah, Malaysia.

Attended by more than 50 indigenous peoples from all over Malaysia, the workshop saw participants discussing the 17 SDGs and the role of indigenous peoples in the process. Discussion led to the drafting of a position paper to be sent to the leading government agency involved in the national SDG process to ensure that "no one is left behind," particularly indigenous peoples who are one of the Major Groups.

Among the issues highlighted in the position paper were the recognition of native customary rights and the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, protection against bio-piracy, multi-dimensional poverty reduction measures, recognition of small-scale and subsistence economic activities, re-evaluation of definitions, culturally-appropriate aid and support, transparency of development plans and information, participation and consultation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes, more inclusive school curriculums, recognition of traditional knowledge and ICCAs, necessity of environmental and social safeguards, as well as ensuring fair and equitable sharing of benefits.

On the whole, it was also recommended that the SDG process involve consultation in all three regions of Malaysia to ensure full participation, gender assessments and proper evaluation of conditions on the ground for development projects to be conducted. Data disaggregation and citizen science should be used to supplement comprehensive data, and full compliance be given to FPIC, EIAs, safeguards, protection of rights and to international standards, such as the UNDRIP and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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