International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Aug 9, 2013


UNDP Statement by Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi,
Chairperson of the UNDP Indigenous Peoples Liaison Committee (IPLC)

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated to promote and endorse the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This day also presents an opportunity to honour diverse indigenous cultures and recognize the achievements and valuable contributions of an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples.

This year’s commemoration is organized under the theme “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honoring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements" which is inspired by the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, an educational advocacy campaign organized by the Haudenosaunee First Nation People to honor their first treaty concluded with Dutch immigrants in 1613.

For the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 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. Expanding the rights, voices, participation and opportunities for indigenous peoples is essential, not only as objectives in their own right, but also crucial to any society that aims to generate the kind of inclusive development that will build communities that are more just, diverse and cohesive.

UNDP works to support national governance systems become more effective in addressing discrimination and structural inequalities that can disproportionately affect indigenous peoples. Guaranteeing access to opportunities and supporting an enabling environment where indigenous peoples are empowered and develop their full potential to lead dignified lives in harmony with their world vision and traditional values are at the core of UNDP’s work.

This is why in the past year, the UN system and governments have engaged in partnerships across the globe to ensure effective participation in the post-2015 development agenda and the emerging sustainable development goals. One of the key messages of the consultations was that empowerment and meaningful participation of individuals and civil society in governance systems are necessary to tackle inequality and promote social inclusion. Participants concluded that a key building block of good governance is empowerment; with enhanced and meaningful participation in decision-making processes and that in particular a focus should be placed on populations who may in fact lack access to power including indigenous peoples. Against this backdrop, it was suggested that traditional public-private partnerships be recast as public-people partnerships, which would encompass a vibrant private sector with a stake in contributing to enhancing development at national and local levels.

Today, as we are commemorating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, UNDP will continue to support robust engagement and collaboration and further build alliances between different partners to put an end to exclusion and discrimination and to enable indigenous peoples to exercise their full rights in free and diverse societies.

Contact information

Shireen Said
Policy Advisor on Human Rights 
Tel: +1 212.906.6602

UNDP Around the world