NSWALC AT THE UNITED NATIONS
NSWALC continues to hold special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the purpose of being able to consult with the UN through its various bodies and activities.
NSWALC participation in the work of the UN and more importantly the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is in line with a strategic decision by NSWALC to maintain a strategy of engagement in international advocacy.
This has in the past been an important function of the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). ATSIC's abolition in 2004 left a void in the capacity of Aboriginal peoples to raise issues at the international level.
The development of networks through international engagement also assists NSWALC in the management of its broader statutory functions.
Our international work is not simply about being critical. It is also about being practical and innovative in our approaches to overcoming Aboriginal disadvantage and looking at the broader way in which the adoption of human rights standards can be applied in Australia.
While changes come about slowly at the international level there are always ongoing developments that can assist in the way we go about our work.
The adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13th September 2007 by the UN General Assembly, for example, now provides an international framework for the adoption and recognition of uniform international standards on the rights of the world's indigenous peoples.
Much work still needs to be done to address how UN Member States respond to the declaration and how it might be applied domestically in places like Australia.
In 2009, much of the work of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), focused on reporting and follow-up from business conducted in previous years but especially on matters concerning, the rights of women, economic and social development, the impact of climate change, and implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.