• Indigenous peoples’ contributions to human development

    19 May 2011

    Delegate at United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
    Delegate at United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Photo: UNDP

    This week 1,500 indigenous representatives have gathered in New York to discuss indigenous issues  related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

    The 10th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in realizing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples everywhere.

    It is also a chance to focus in on what can be done collectively to address the pressing priorities that remain.

    Expanding the rights, voice, participation and opportunities of the world’s 370 million indigenous people is essential to generate the kind of inclusive development that can build just, diverse and cohesive societies worldwide.

    Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator at UNDP, opened the forum on Monday remarking, “Human development is not possible where discrimination, injustice, and social exclusion prevail, and where there is a lack of recognition that all groups bring value to society with their different worldviews.”

    Encouraging more effective dialogue and consultative process and strengthening access to justice remains a priority. This will help to bridge the cultural divide that gives rise to discrimination and exclusion and will increase the voice of indigenous people’s decision-making at every level.

    It will also help to build fair and shared solutions to the conflicts that emerge over ancestral lands and the use of natural resources.

    UNDP is strengthening its capacity to work for the rights of indigenous peoples by supporting political processes that are truly participatory. Putting an end to exclusion and discrimination so as indigenous peoples can exercise their full rights in free and diverse societies will require a concerted effort to ensure that local and indigenous voices are heard, that they inform policy making, and that they are acted upon.

    Talk to us: What more can be done to overcome the persistent exclusion of indigenous communities worldwide from full and meaningful participation in development?