Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Delegation Calls for Acknowledgement of First Nations’ Rights, Laws, and Knowledge Systems at UN SDG and Climate Ambition Summits in New York

United Nations Headquarters - Image
United Nations Headquarters - Image

OTTAWA – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sending a delegation to this week’s upcoming United Nations (UN) Summits on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)and Climate Ambition in New York. Led by Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, the delegation is carrying a clear message: the UN cannot adopt a Political Declaration on Sustainable Development that marginalizes Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, if the UN intends to respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Agenda 2030. The AFN is urging the inclusion of a dedicated paragraph that distinctly acknowledges and recognizes the rights, laws, and knowledge systems of Indigenous Peoples, including their spiritual connection to land, territories and resources. Furthermore, the AFN seeks appropriate references in the Chair’s Summary at the Climate Ambition Summit.

The AFN is disappointed with the apparent marginalization of Indigenous Peoples in the process leading up to the SDG Summit, which is evident in the recent draft of the Political Declaration, slated for adoption on the first day of the Summit.

“The AFN delegation will remind everyone that the Agenda 2030 goal of ‘leaving no one behind’ requires that First Nations’ voices be heard and that requires more inclusive processes nationally and internationally, and in the content of UN outcome documents,” said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse. “First Nations are leaders in environmental stewardship and sustainable development. Our laws and priorities must be at the forefront of initiatives to protect the Lands and Waters. Our participation nationally and internationally is critical to ensure that the rights of First Nations’ children and the next seven generations are reflected in the implementation of the SDGs.”

The AFN delegation attending the 2023 UN SDG and Climate Ambition Summits includes Regional Chief Woodhouse, Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, Judy Wilson, and members of the AFN secretariat.

For additional information on the 2023 UN SDG Summit and the Climate Ambition Summit, please visit and

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