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Senior UN official named to coordinate world action on indigenous peoples

23 October 2014:UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday designated Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, as the senior UN official to coordinate world action to improve the well-being of indigenous peoples.

Wu, a Chinese national, was designated as the Senior Official of the United Nations system responsible for coordinating follow-up action for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

This designation is in response to the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, in which the UN chief is invited to accord an existing senior UN official the responsibility for coordinating a UN action plan, raising awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples and increasing the coherence of UN activities in this regard, Dujarric said.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which is headed by Wu, is the technical and substantive department on indigenous issues and houses the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), the spokesman said.

On Sept. 23, the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples concluded at the UN headquarters in New York, with a focus on protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Convened as the first high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly's 69th session, the two-day conference brought together more than 1,000 indigenous and non-indigenous delegates to discuss the realization of their rights, including pursuing the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted in 2007.

The conference approved an outcome document strengthening the rights for more than 370 million indigenous people worldwide.

The document also focuses on the rights of indigenous women and addresses the issue of violence against women.

Wu was appointed the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs on Aug. 1, 2012. Prior to his appointment, he had served as the Chinese ambassador to Germany since 2009.
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