Slow Food highlights the importance of indigenous foods at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

17 Apr 2023 | English

Slow Food highlights the importance of indigenous foods at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

New York, 17-28 April

The 23rd session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), held in New York from April 17 to 28, will focus on Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health and climate change: a rights-based approach.

Members of the Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ network will be present at the Forum, including six delegates from Taiwan, representing the Amis, Taroko and Paiwan indigenous peoples’ communities. They are there to showcase the incredible biodiversity of Taiwan, and how Indigenous communities have protected it. “We would like the world to be aware of our food cultures and our Slow Food projects to protect and promote food heritage”, comments Kung Lien Xiu, Amis member of the Slow Food network in Taiwan representing the Asia and Pacific region on the Advisory Board of the Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ Network. “Through my example, as an indigenous young woman, I would like to show other indigenous youth from Taiwan that if you really believe in your work and your community, you can even attend a UN event in New York to push your community’s dream forward.”

During UNPFII Slow Food will organize a side-event together with the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, with the purpose of sharing how food, languages, spirituality and rights are interconnected and can be key assets for sustainable, community-led development. This event will connect key public and private institutions to build partnerships for the protection and promotion of food heritage.

Hanieh Moghani from the Iranian Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CNESTA) and Tehran Slow Food indigenous community in Iran, is one of the 16 Members of the Permanent Forum. She is an Indigenous Peoples advocate and counsel for Asia. Her work examines Indigenous Peoples’ expertise in seed management, indigenous knowledge of food production and food sovereignty, and highlights good practices in climate adaptation, water management, and agriculture. She supports Indigenous and local communities in attaining food security and food sovereignty, improving nutrition and biodiversity protection, and guaranteeing the intellectual property of Indigenous traditional knowledge.

“The global food production system is seriously compromising the health of animals, humans, and the planet. It has transformed food into a commodity whose value is expressed only by its price. But food is more than a source of nutrients: it is a livelihood, a cultural expression, community, spirituality, family; it’s the result of thousands of years of our relationship with nature. Slow Food is working to promote another system: one based on food that is healthy and sustainable for the entire ecosystem, food that is produced in a fair and respectful way. But we can’t promote alternative food systems without a human rights approach. We need to defend these systems, these lands and the people who protect them. We, as Indigenous Peoples, with our ancestral traditions, play a significant role in preserving local biodiversity and cultures and we attend the UN events to advocate for all of this,” comments Dalì Nolasco Cruz, a Nahua indigenous woman from Tlaola Puebla, Mexico, and Slow Food Board member

Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ network members will attend an event organized by the International Land Coalition, “Unrecognized, Underreported and Unrelenting – Exposing the Hidden Violence against Indigenous Human Rights Defenders” that will highlight the disproportionate human rights abuses Indigenous Peoples suffer and the ways in which visibility of the issue can be increased, as well as the actions needed to address it.

The Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ network unites Indigenous and afro-descendent communities and aims to defend their rights to control their land, grow food, breed livestock, hunt, fish, and gather according to their own needs. Today, Indigenous Peoples fight against land and water grabbing, cultural erosion, social discrimination, and economic marginalization, in order to protect indigenous biodiversity. 

Currently the network involves thousands of individuals in over 370 communities in 86 countries around the world. More than 941indigenous products are already on the Ark of Taste  and 65Slow Food Presidia are run by Indigenous communities. Several Indigenous chefs are also active in the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance. 



The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is a high-level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. The Forum was established on July 28, 2000 by resolution 2000/22, with a mandate to deal with Indigenous issues relating to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.


More specifically, the Permanent Forum:


  • provides expert advice and recommendations on Indigenous issues to the Council, as well as to programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations, through ECOSOC;
  • raises awareness and promotes the integration and coordination of activities related to indigenous issues within the UN system;
  • prepares and disseminates information on Indigenous issues;
  • promotes respect for and full application of the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration (Art. 42 UNDRIP).




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