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International Processes & Initiatives

Every year IWGIA reports on the situation of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Our global report, The Indigenous World, documents the state of Indigenous Peoples' rights in countries on all continents with detailed country reports authored by distinguished experts, Indigenous activists and scholars. 

It is IWGIA's hope that Indigenous Peoples and their organisations will find our reports useful in their advocacy work, and that a wider audience will use our information on Indigenous Peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World has been published every year since 1986.

This section focuses on International Processes and Initiatives which have a special focus on Indigenous Peoples.

Read all the individual country reports here or download any of the annual editions of The Indigenous World here


The Indigenous World 2021: European Union engagement with Indigenous Issues

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 Member States established in 1951. Its legislative and executive powers are divided between the EU main institutions: the European Parliament (co-legislative authority), the Council of the European Union (co-legislative and executive authority) and the European Commission (executive authority). In addition, the EU has its own diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (with EU Delegations throughout the world).

The EU is part of the international process of promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Four EU Member States have ratified ILO Convention No 169[1] and the EU supported the adoption of the UNDRIP in 2007 as well as the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014.

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The Indigenous World 2021: Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Indigenous Peoples have always been “data warriors”.[1] Our ancient traditions recorded and protected information and knowledge through art, carving, song, chants and other practices. Deliberate efforts to expunge these knowledge systems were part and parcel of colonisation, along with state-imposed practices of counting and classifying Indigenous populations. As a result, Indigenous Peoples often encounter severe data deficits when trying to access high-quality, culturally-relevant data to pursue their goals but an abundance of data that reflects and serves government interests regarding Indigenous Peoples and their lands.

The concept of Indigenous Data Sovereignty is a relatively recent one, with the first major publication on the topic only appearing in 2016.[2] Indigenous Data Sovereignty is defined as the right of Indigenous Peoples to own, control, access and possess data that derive from them, and which pertain to their members, knowledge systems, customs or territories.[3],[4],[5] Indigenous Data Sovereignty is supported by Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights of self-determination and governance over their peoples, territories and resources as affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), as well as in domestic treaties. Indigenous Data Sovereignty recognises that data is a strategic resource and provides a framework for the ethical use of data to advance collective Indigenous wellbeing and self-determination.[6],[7]

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The Indigenous World 2021: Indigenous Youth: their role in protecting of their communities

Indigenous youth are aware that the world and its regions are going through a time of change marked, on the one hand, by key actors committed to respecting human rights and, on the other, by current movements ranged against the implementation of those rights.

The global situation in which Indigenous Peoples find themselves as a result of COVID-19 has specific features that differ from those of the general population, mainly due to geographical, cultural and historical conditions and contexts which, in turn, are different in each of the seven socio-cultural regions in which the world's Indigenous Peoples live.

It is important to remember that despite historical efforts to achieve recognition of the individual and collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples, they continue to live in a situation of particular vulnerability. Indigenous Peoples have demonstrated their resilience, mainly due to their own community processes and their lands and territories. Indigenous youth from different regions of the world have made great efforts to incorporate their perspectives into dialogues and policy agendas as a priority. In the current context of social and health emergency, there is a visible lack of progress in eradicating poverty and hunger and in promoting peace and justice in the world, to name just two of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must therefore demand real commitment from states to meet the objectives to which they have signed up.

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The Indigenous World 2021: Food and Agriculture Organizaion of the UN (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and malnutrition. FAO was founded in 1945, and its primary goal is to achieve food security for all making sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives. With over 194 Members, FAO has offices in over 130 countries worldwide.

FAO recognizes Indigenous Peoples as key allies, not only as technical assistance recipients but primarily as equal partners, and as fundamental stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The Indigenous World 2021: Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network (IPWDGN)

Over 1 billion people, or approximately 15% of the world’s population, are persons with disabilities.[1] Applying this percentage to the estimated 476 million Indigenous Peoples globally, the number of Indigenous persons with disabilities stands at approximately 71 million.[2] Similarly, if this percentage of 15% of the population with disabilities were applied to the estimated 185 million Indigenous women worldwide, it would come to 28 million Indigenous women with disabilities globally[3] The Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network (IPWDGN) estimates that 45 million of these Indigenous people with disabilities live in the Asia Pacific region in developing and underdeveloped countries.[4]

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The Indigenous World 2021: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

IFAD’s Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples aims to enhance its development effectiveness in its engagement with Indigenous Peoples’ communities in rural areas. As a key instrument for implementing the IFAD Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum was established at IFAD in 2011. The Forum is a permanent process of consultation and dialogue between representatives from Indigenous Peoples’ institutions and organizations, IFAD and governments.

The Forum enables participants to jointly assess IFAD’s engagement with Indigenous Peoples, consult on rural development and poverty reduction and promote the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations in IFAD’s activities at the country, regional and international levels. Overall, these activities help and guide IFAD in implementing its policy and translating its principles into action on the ground.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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