Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs of Canada and the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples of the United Mexican States Relating to Collaboration on Indigenous Priorities

The Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs of Canada (CIRNAC) and the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) of the United Mexican States (Mexico), hereinafter referred to as the "Participants", Considering that Canada and Mexico share a close, long standing and mutually beneficial relationship;

Recognizing the integral and unique role of Indigenous Peoples and the contributions of the Indigenous Peoples to the diversity and richness of the cultures and languages of Canada and Mexico;

Affirming the need to respect, and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples as reflected in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 13 September 2007 (the United Nations Declaration);

Wishing to strengthen cooperation on affairs involving the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to improve the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries by designing a mechanism to facilitate the exchange of best practices, information, experiences and knowledge;

Taking into account that the Indigenous Peoples have several unique ways of life, including languages, political, economic, social and cultural structures, customs and beliefs;

Considering that this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will strengthen the respect for and promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Mexico;

Have reached the following understanding:

1. Objectives

The objective of this MOU is for the Participants, within the ambit of their respective competencies, to strengthen the respect and promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples including, but not limited to, political, social, economic, cultural, spiritual and environmental rights and the development of Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries by:

  1. providing a mechanism for collaboration and engagement  in areas of mutual interest; and
  2. enabling information-sharing between the Participants and the Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries that will facilitate the development of policies, programs, projects, and strategies which seek to ensure the exercise and implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries while safeguarding the protection of personal data in accordance with the Participants' respective national laws.

2. Guiding principles

In carrying out the activities mentioned in this MOU, the Participants will be guided by the following principles:

  1. Partnership – adopting an approach based on partnership between the Participants and Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries, including meaningful and timely engagement with Indigenous Peoples;
  2. Diversity – acknowledging and valuing the rich diversity of traditional knowledge, cultures, customs, languages and histories among the Indigenous Peoples of their respective countries;
  3. Respect – conducting all engagement under this MOU with due respect for each other and for the Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries;
  4. Reconciliation – guided by the principles of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries, seeking peace and truth from shared experiences, including those shared with First Nations, Inuit, Métis in Canada and Indigenous Peoples and afromexicans of Mexico;
  5. Gender equality and cultural relevance – promoting the exercise of Indigenous rights of Indigenous women and girls, and gender diverse persons;
  6. Sustainability and territoriality – recognizing the special relationship of Indigenous Peoples with their lands, territories and natural resources, in harmony with nature.

3. Collaboration

  1. The Participants will collaborate on matters of interest to the Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries and will engage in constructive dialogue with them to identify their national priorities.
  2. The Participants have jointly decided to focus their collaboration on the themes of political, economic, and social development including in the following ways:
    1. Political Development - by supporting Indigenous-led processes of advancing self-determination, by supporting Indigenous Peoples' engaging freely in all their traditional and other economic activities, and by determining strategies and priorities for their right to development and the use of their lands, territories, and resources, in accordance with their own development plans and priorities, and cultural values and norms;
    2. Economic Development – by exchanging experiences and best practices and collaborating with Indigenous Peoples in co-developing, implementing, and strengthening policies and programmes that enhance Indigenous Peoples' improvement of their economic and social conditions;
    3. Social Development – by supporting Indigenous leadership in facilitating intergenerational dialogues, recovering Indigenous knowledge, transmitting of knowledge and traditional sports, empowering Indigenous women and girls in decision making processes, and thereby enabling the advancement of equitable and sustainable development and inclusive economic growth.
  3. The Participants will engage, in collaboration with the Indigenous partners listed in paragraph 2(iv), to identify priorities and jointly develop a work plan within one (1) year of the date of applicability of this MOU.

4. Meetings, dialogues and exchanges

  1. The Participants acknowledge the mutual benefits gained from exchanges of officials, experts, and members of Indigenous Peoples.
  2. The Participants may conduct such exchanges, in the manner, and in accordance with terms, that they jointly decide upon:
    1. The aim of the exchanges will be to provide opportunities to share knowledge, in areas that are jointly decided upon during annual dialogues, workshops, and through the Canada Mexico Partnership (CMP);
    2. The Participants, including Indigenous partners in each country, will attend such exchanges in person or online, in accordance with the conditions of each Participant.
  3. The Participants may carry out the collaboration in this MOU, to the extent permitted by their competencies, through new mechanisms or through existing mechanisms for cooperation between Canada and Mexico, including, but not limited to, the CMP and the Trilateral Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls.
  4. The Participants may hold additional policy forums, exchanges, workshops and any other event on the topics identified in this MOU for information and experience sharing related to experiences in their respective countries.
  5. At the working level, the Participants will jointly review their collaboration activities, priorities and work plan. The Participants' officials will perform the review by means of a written exchange and, if it would be useful and practicable, by holding a meeting electronically or in person.
  6. The Participants intend to designate representatives to coordinate the cooperation activities carried out under this MOU, through the development of a joint work plan.

5. Status of the MOU

This MOU is an administrative understanding between the Participants. It is not legally binding, and the collaboration activities contained herein will be carried out to the extent of the Participants' abilities.

6. Differences in interpretation or application

The Participants will resolve any difference between the Participants in the interpretation or application of this MOU amicably through dialogue and negotiation.

7. Final Dispositions

  1. This MOU is applicable as of the date of its signature and will remain valid for a period of five (5) years.
  2. The Participants may extend this MOU upon their mutual written consent.
  3. The Participants may amend this MOU upon their mutual written consent.
  4. Either Participant may terminate this MOU by giving at least one (1) month's written notice to the other Participant.

Signed in duplicate at _____ on this _____ day of _____ 202__, in the English, French and Spanish languages, each version being equally valid.

For the Department of Crown‑Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs of Canada

For the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples of the United Mexican States

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