Economic Reconciliation and the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Historically, the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) has concerned itself primarily with rights-based issues, as Indigenous Peoples around the world struggled for their recognition as peoples, often within settler states with a history of displacement.This year’s theme, “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy, and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent,” represents an opportunity to amplify the economic rights, interests, and accomplishments of Indigenous peoples and communities.

On June 21, 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDA) received Royal Assent in Canada. This legislation contains three legal obligations, all to be carried out in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples:

  • Take “all measures necessary” to ensure consistency of federal laws
  • Develop an action plan within two years of Royal Assent
  • Submit annual reports to Parliament on progress

This side event provides an opportunity to share views on the implementation of the UN Declaration in various states, its links to the economic development of Indigenous peoples, and how the Declaration can be leveraged as a tool for the full realization of the economic potential of Indigenous Peoples. It includes presentations from prominent Indigenous leaders as well as a moderated discussion on how the United Nations system and other States could utilize these findings.

In June 2020, the Government of Canada committed to increasing the participation of Indigenous businesses in federal procurement by creating a new target to have 5% of federal contracts awarded to businesses managed and led by Indigenous peoples.

In response to this initiative, the Board is currently putting the finishing touches on a business plan for an Indigenous Procurement Institute. We hope this will be well received, as the proposed Institute is the single most important investment that could be undertaken in the short term to achieve economic reconciliation.

Modeled after Supply Nation Australia, this Institute would be tasked with the creation of a functional and comprehensive database of verified and certified Indigenous businesses, and would help build Indigenous economic capacity, share leading practices, and deliver programs and services.

Dawn Madahbee Leach, Chairperson of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board


  • Dawn Madahbee Leach, Chairperson, National Indigenous Economic Development Board, Canada
  • Joe Morrison, CEO, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC), Australia
  • Lars-Anders Baer, Senior Adviser, External Affairs for the Sami Parliament, Finland and former President of the Sami Parliament, Sweden
  • Harold Calla, Executive Chair, First Nations Financial Management Board
  • Kevin Brahim, Group Manager, National Indigenous Australians Agency


  • The Hon. Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada


  • Winona Embuldeniya, A/Director General, Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, Nòkwewashk, Natural Resources Canada
  • Jose Enrique Garcilazo, Head of the Regional and Rural Policy Unit, Centre for Entrepreneurship SME’s, Regions and Cities, OECD

Full Press Release