On September 21, Estonia’s mission to the UN in Geneva hosted a side event “Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Rights: Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture as Example” as part of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council. The programme of cultural capitals was acknowledged by UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, by several states and representatives of indigenous peoples.  

In her statement, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz acknowledged Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme as a good practice of grassroots initiative that is inspired by appreciation of language kinship and that stimulates development on local level. According to UN Special Rapporteur, the programme could be a model of promoting and exercising cultural rights also for other indigenous peoples of the world.  

Mr. Alexey Tsykarev, Chair of UN’s Expert Mechanism on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) emphasized the relevance of Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme given the current global focus on indigenous peoples’ cultural rights as demonstrated by the recent EMRIP study on indigenous peoples and cultural heritage. Related to this, Mr. Tsykarev called on states who have not yet ratified UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage to do so, as this can provide new development opportunities for indigenous peoples with rich cultural heritage.

Practical experiences of implementing Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture year were shared by Ms. Yulia Shakhtina, head of the organizing committee of Bygy – Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2014 and by Ms. Annela Laaneots, communications director of Obinitsa, the current capital of culture.  

Presentations were followed by active discussion with the participation of state representatives of Finland and Hungary, as well as indigenous peoples from North America and Ecuador.

The event was moderated by Mr. Oliver Loode, Vice Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture is an initiative of Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) with an aim to stimulate local development in Finno-Ugric regions, strengthen common Finno-Ugric identity and to raise awareness of Finno-Ugric peoples, languages and cultures. The title of next Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture will be shared by the village of Iszkaszentgyörgy and the city of Veszprém from Hungary.  


More info:

Programme Bureau of Finno—Ugric Capitals of Culture


Tel. +372 513 2992