Assembly of First Nations National Chief Underscores Essential Role of Indigenous Peoples and Commitment Needed by States Following Rio+20

OTTAWA, June 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo continued calls for full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples in order to achieve sustainable development in Canada and globally, commenting on outcomes following the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that took place in Brazil last week.

"The recommendations and commitments emerging from Rio+20 are only a starting point, and we must continue to press for concrete action in terms of recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights, and respect for our expertise and sacred responsibilities," said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "AFN appreciates the opportunity and will continue to engage directly with Indigenous peoples across the globe on ways we can work together to achieve full participation of our peoples in achieving sustainable development. Across the globe, Indigenous peoples are driving change and creating the communities our peoples can live, grow and thrive, and we do it in balance with our sacred responsibilities and duties to the lands and our future generations. We must achieve the respect and recognition to do this in ways that can benefit all of us."

The conference, which took place in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22, saw heads of state renew their commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the planet and for present and future generations. State parties agreed to a process to develop long-term goals for sustainable development, pay more attention to climate change and increase aid for development and research.

The Rio+20 outcomes document, "The Future We Want", identifies a number of specific recommendations the AFN was seeking, including the need for recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights (specifically the right to self-determination), respect for the authority and expertise of First Nations institutions, the need to adopt a rights-based approach to achieving safe-drinking water, the importance of creating balance between economic development and protecting the environment to addressing poverty among First Nations, and references to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a guide to achieving basic standards.

For more information on Rio+20 visit

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates and @AFN_Comms.


For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or

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