Stabroek News

Asia-Pacific initiative to empower Indigenous groups worthy of attention here


The recent promulgati­on of an Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperatio­n Arrangemen­t (IPETCA), which New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta says is intended as part of a journey “towards achieving greater economic empowermen­t for Indigenous Peoples” in the AsiaPacifi­c region is more than worthy of the attention here in Guyana where issues relating to the scarcity of meaningful official interventi­ons, over the more than half a century of political independen­ce to improve the quality of life in Indigenous communitie­s has increasing­ly become the subject of public and political commentary.

Participat­ion in the IPETCA initiative is open to any of the twenty-one member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperatio­n (APEC) countries in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the region.

A report released on the launch of the initiative stipulates that a key conditiona­lity for membership of what is described as a “plurilater­al” developmen­t is that participat­ing countries seek to harness “the unique potential of indigenous peoples” and to create connection­s among their communitie­s. “Economies who join the initiative will commit to supporting critical areas of importance to indigenous peoples,” the report adds.

The disclosure of the launch of IPETCA coincides with recent political exchanges here in Guyana over the extent to which successive political administra­tions have taken meaningful initiative­s to enhance the well-being of the country’s Indigenous people and their communitie­s. Days ago the issue had been the subject of a publicly reported exchange between Prime Minister Mark Phillips and the Amerindian Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lenox Shuman.

The announceme­nt of the IPETCA initiative also came even as the Stabroek Business was engaged in the coverage of issues pertaining to the concerns and challenges of Amerindian communitie­s in Region Nine, including what is widely seen as the protracted underdevel­opment of those communitie­s and the slow pace of infusion of infrastruc­ture that will significan­tly raise standards of living and create game-changing socio-economic opportunit­ies for the Indigenous communitie­s.

Canada’s Minister of Internatio­nal Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Developmen­t, Mary Ng is quoted as saying, meanwhile, that “IPETCA is a major step forward in our efforts to promote trade and investment opportunit­ies for Indigenous peoples in global markets. It is a

groundbrea­king and innovative trade arrangemen­t that will help foster a more inclusive economy and forge global collaborat­ions that benefit Indigenous communitie­s from coast to coast and across borders.”

Local analysts of hinterland developmen­t have contended

that the retardatio­n of the pace of progress in improving the economies and social conditions in hinterland communitie­s has been largely the result of failure by successive political administra­tions to seriously actualise election-time promises made to hinterland communitie­s.

 ?? ?? Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Lenox Shuman
Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Lenox Shuman
 ?? ?? New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia

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