12 December, 2019

Indigenous Peoples Strengthen Engagement and Partnership with IFAD

By: Ruby Bangilan-Española


“In many countries, I have seen that indigenous peoples generally live better if they have autonomous governance arrangements. They are able to protect their territories from incursions of unwanted third parties whether these are mining or logging companies or drug syndicates. They are able to pursue their traditional livelihood and run their schools and health care systems in culturally appropriate ways… Even their capacities to adapt and mitigate climate change are higher when they are self-governing.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNSRRIP) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz highlighted the remarkable outcomes of indigenous governance in self-governed indigenous communities in her keynote address at the Fourth Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held in Rome, Italy on February 12-13, 2019. Inspired by the self-governed development models of indigenous peoples, she urged IFAD and other institutions to support indigenous governance given that insufficiency of financial and technical support are the major challenges among indigenous communities.

Since IFAD as an international financial institution and specialized United Nations (UN) agency, has been investing significant amount of resources in rural areas that include indigenous peoples’ land and territories, the UNSRRIP pointed out the need to analyze and understand the impacts of IFAD projects on indigenous peoples in the countries where these projects have been implemented. She also stressed that it is important to know how the indigenous peoples have participated in the design, implementation and evaluation processes of IFAD projects.

Thirty-four (34) representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations and institutions from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean participated in the fourth global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD. The global meeting of the forum, with a thematic focus on the promotion of indigenous peoples’ knowledge and innovations for climate resilience and sustainable development, provided an opportunity to assess the progress made in IFAD’s partnership with indigenous peoples and strategize on how to strengthen the engagement of indigenous peoples with IFAD at the country and regional levels.

The global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum happens every other year in conjunction with the Governing Council of IFAD.  The Indigenous Peoples’ Forum established in 2011 serves as a permanent process of consultation and dialogues between representatives of indigenous peoples’ institutions and organizations, IFAD and governments making it a unique process within the UN system.

At the end of the global meeting, the indigenous delegates come up with the synthesis of deliberations comprised of their commitments and their recommendations to IFAD and governments in strengthening their collaboration for climate resilience and sustainable development. The synthesis of deliberations are delivered at the IFAD Governing Council after the meeting.