Towards a UNESCO policy on engaging with indigenous peoples

UNESCO has broad mandates in the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Its policies, programmes and projects provide opportunities and have significant impacts (positive and negative) for indigenous peoples worldwide.

The 2030 Agenda commitment to ‘Leave no one behind’ brings new impetus to ensure that indigenous peoples’ priorities are heard. Following the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, and the UN Development Group (UNDG) Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues issued in 2008, it is increasingly important that UN agencies, including UNESCO, consider how to provide guidance on engaging with indigenous peoples. In this light, UNESCO’s draft policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples seeks to outline a house-wide approach that will guide all of UNESCO’s programme sectors in their interactions with indigenous people’s organizations. more...

Information session with Member States, July 2017

A second information session on the draft policy was held on 12 July 2017 at the UNESCO headquarters, Paris. The presentation made by the Secretariat can be downloaded here.

Consultation with Member States, May-June 2017

Following the discussions at the 201st session of the Executive Board to organize consultations on the UNESCO Policy on Indigenous Peoples, Member States have been invited to submit comments on the draft presented before 29 June 2017.  more...

Executive Board discussion on the policy, April 2017

The 201st session of the Executive Board saw a first discussion on the UNESCO policy on engaging with indigenous peoples. more...

Information meeting, February 2017

An information session with Permanent Delegations to UNESCO was held on 2 February 2017, in preparation for the item’s consideration at the 201st session of the Executive Board in April 2017. more...

Drafting process

Over the last four years, UNESCO has held several consultations and meetings with indigenous peoples’ representatives and UNESCO staff in Santiago (Chile), Luanda (Angola), Chiang Mai (Thailand), New York (USA), Geneva (Switzerland) and Paris (France). Nearly 150 experts, both internal and external, have provided their inputs and contributed to the shaping of this draft. 

Launch of policy drafting process

UNESCO’s work on developing a policy on engaging with indigenous peoples was launched during the 36th General Conference, at an event organized on 10 November 2011 within the framework of the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the Celebration of World Science Day 2011 for Peace and Development. more...

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