Beginning next week, the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) will host a two-day conference on Indigenous peoples, climate change and rural poverty in Manila, the Philippines.
To be attended by parliamentarians from different countries, the conference aims at raising awareness and build partnerships to help eradicate rural poverty.
The conference also intends to disseminate information on the impact of climate change through discussion and policy dialogue. Deliberations will also examine innovative approaches and solutions to indigenous issues, climate change and rural poverty.
Indigenous people are custodians of their own environment. Numbered at 370 million peoples in 90 countries, they total at five per cent of the world’s population and 15 per cent of the world’s poor. Put simply they are one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people.
They suffer high rates of poverty, landlessness, malnutrition in addition to internal displacement within society. They have lower levels of literacy and less access to health services and none to political or economic power.
The conference intends to correct this and through parliamentarians and decision makers ensure implementation of decisions taken at international levels. More often than not, lack of political will jeopardises the intention to improve the lot of indigenous people.
The conference, it is expected, will see action backing intent and expect parliamentarians to use their power back home to ensure that the agenda of the marginalised is hammered enough to generate the desired results. Better still, make it a part of discussions on national budgets.