The following open letter was written to the chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Intervention that ran 21 – 30 May.
Dear Catherine Davis,
The following is a response to the May 24th Pacific Caucus intervention to the World Bank.
Although we applaud the Pacific Caucus at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues adopting the Moana Nui 2011 statement, we ask that when using it, you reference it in its entirety:
“We, the peoples of Moana Nui, connected by the currents of our ocean home, declare that we will not cooperate with the commodification of life and land as represented by APEC’s predatory capitalistic practices, distorted information and secret trade negotiations and agreements.
“We invoke our rights to free, prior and informed consent. We choose cooperative trans-Pacific dialogue, action, advocacy, and solidarity between and amongst the peoples of the Pacific, rooted in traditional cultural practices and wisdom.”
The problem with omitting the last line (see below)– in reference to the World Bank Agenda item– is that it dismisses the scope of the statement by ignoring “trans-Pacific dialogue, action, advocacy and solidarity between and amongst the peoples of the Pacific, rooted in traditional cultural practices and wisdom.”
The strength of Moana Nui are the peoples, those who have been most marginalized, not those who seek to control or determine outcomes through stacking seats or lobbying efforts.
Distorted information, secret negotiations and agreements are the processes of governments, financial institutions and corporate lobbyists, not Moana Nui.
Although some may agree with your position on the monitoring of corporate operational policies, including trade and investment protocols, we strongly disagree with any program that alludes to giving the World Bank or any financial institution a seat towards establishing a procedure for systematizing “Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”
Further, since marginalized indigenous communities have been excluded from certain high-level meetings by what is appearing to look like a regional cabal in the Permanent Forum’s body, we maintain that the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent remain with the under-represented indigenous communities and not with the larger Hawaii, NZ and Australia triumvirate dictating terms on behalf of Pacific peoples.