NCD Alliance, PAHO and CARICOM to Highlight NCD emergency at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

23rd May 2011

The NCD Alliance, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat are holding a joint event on Monday, 23 May at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) taking place at UN Headquarters in New York to draw attention to the urgent need to take action on the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases in indigenous populations.

The event, 'Nothing About Us Without Us: Addressing the threat of NCDs in indigenous communities', will take place from 1:15 – 2:45 pm in Conference Room 1, North Lawn Building, UN Headquarters and will feature the following speakers:

Moderator: Dr. Karen Sealey, PAHO/WHO Special Advisor


H.E. Ms Pauline Sukhai, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Republic of Guyana

Ms. Myrna Cunningham Kain, Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Dr. Maria Ines Barbosa, Specialist in Cultural Diversity in Health, PAHO/WHO

Mr. Alex M. McComber, Member of the Bear Clan from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory

Mr. Shane Kawenata Bradbrook,

Teo Reo Marama Maori Smokefree Coalition (video) Indigenous peoples enjoy equal rights to the attainment of the highest standard of physical and mental health and to incorporate the use of traditional medicines and health practices in pursuit of this.

Article 24 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also assures these individuals the right to access health and social services. However, there exists significant health disparities between indigenous and non indigenous populations. Non communicable diseases (NCDs) pose a grave threat to the health and lives of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous peoples.

Where disaggregated data is available, it reveals increasing rates of premature death from lung cancer, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases and a health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. The Forum on Indigenous Issues will be attended by 30 UN and other inter-governmental organizations and about 60 governments.

In addition, the opening ceremony will be addressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang and White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, Ms. Kimberly Teehee More than 1300 delegates are expected to attend the tenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) at UN Headquarters in New York from 16 to 27 May 2011.

This year’s Permanent Forum will be especially significant, since it is the Permanent Forum’s review year. It will focus on the implementation of UNPFII recommendations on: i) economic and social development, ii) the environment, and iii) free, prior and informed consent.

The Permanent Forum will engage with Member States, United Nations agencies and civil society. These delegates will include the UN, intergovernmental organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs), NGOs and academia.

For more details on the NCD Alliance, PAHO and CARICOM side event please contact Ms. Jinny Klimas at [email protected] For media queries, including interviews with United Nations officials and indigenous representatives, please contact Newton Kanhema, tel: +1 212 963 5602 e-mail: [email protected] , United Nations Department of Public Information For a full schedule of Side Events, please see:

For more information on the tenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please see: