Here Come the COPPs

Here Come the COPPs

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May 14, 2013

As I noted recently in regard to the credibility issue haunting the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus, these indigenous lobbyists at the UN have grown so accustomed to the prestige of hobnobbing with UN bureaucrats and diplomats that they have lost sight of what is at stake in the UN process. While indigenous governing authorities struggle to democratize the UN — which has marginalized them simultaneously with providing a play pen for indigenous NGOs at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues — the UN bureaucracy is busy creating the illusion of inclusion.

To wit, the secretariat for the Permanent Forum this week announced the UNPFII Twelfth Session, May 20-31 in New York, will include a “dialogue” with the World Bank. As perhaps the most hostile of UN agencies to the indigenous peoples movement and the implementation of indigenous sovereignty under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the World Bank will no doubt generate bags of bromides for the indigenous patsies to use in press releases to impress their foundation funders. How to posture around this topic and others will likely consume the Indigenous Global Caucus (a.k.a. COPPs–charlatans, opportunists and pious poseurs) that meets May 18 and 19 at UN Plaza.

The only potential bright spot in the secretariat announcement is the May 22 meeting with indigenous journalists to “strategize” on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, also to be held at UN Headquarters in New York.  Somehow, though, I don’t think the UN staff has Intercontinental Cry Magazine in mind.

Update: Current grandstanding by First Peoples Worldwide — in the form of a “Proud to be Indigenous” campaign — reminds us that corporate-financed NGO promises are, as always, Too Good to be True. As I noted in March, The Corporate Buy-In promoted by FPW’s president, Rebecca Adamson, is valuable brokering to her backers like Shell Oil. While her poverty-pimping brokerage attracts corrupt tribal leaders, it also undermines the indigenous movement. As the leading exponent of indigenous assimilation, First Peoples Worldwide might be able to co-opt their NAIPC friends, but the grassroots activists know a COPP when they see one.

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