Last week Ulai was in Rome to participate in the Third Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples´ Forum at IFAD. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Ulai is the Pacific Regional Representative, which enables him to make the case for the rights of customary landowners on the World Stage.
In a private meeting with indigenous peoples’ representatives, Pope Francis stressed the need to reconcile development, both social and cultural, with the protection of indigenous peoples and their territories, “especially when planning economic activities that may interfere with their cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth”.
“In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail,” Pope Francis said. “Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict.”
See IFAD press release Development should consider indigenous cultures and their relationship to the earth.
See NBC news item Pope Francis Says Native People Have Rights Over Their Lands.