Indigenous People

A family in Vanuatu

©UNESCO/Peter Coles
A family in Vanuatu

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples in the world, representing approximately 5 per cent of the total world population. Indigenous people account for more than 5,000 languages in over 70 countries on six continents; that is, nearly 75 per cent of all languages believed to exist. In many cases their ecologically sustainable practices protect a significant part of the world’s biological diversity. Despite two UN Decades on Indigenous People, this group continues to face serious discrimination in terms of access to basic social services, including education and healthcare. A great number are marginalized and live in precarious conditions, often due to forced displacement and the impacts of globalization and climate change.

Some areas of interventions for indigenous people:

  • Developing guidelines for indigenous/tribal people relevant to their needs and aspirations, accommodating their culture, language and learning styles.
  • Supporting reflection and action to render curricula and teaching methodologies sensitive to indigenous peoples’ rights, perspectives, experiences and aspirations, notably by involving indigenous peoples in the work carried out in this area.
  • Developing educational and training programmes for indigenous people in relation to indigenous people's rights, techniques of negotiation, and leadership skills.
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