Towards a UNESCO policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples

UNESCO has been working towards a policy on ‘Engaging with Indigenous Peoples’. The policy draft is currently being reviewed, with an aim to being presented during the 201st session of the Executive Board in April 2017.

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, provide clear 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.

The process of formulating this policy was launched during a side 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.

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. The policy is now in its final stage, and comments are welcomed from all interested individuals and organizations. If you would like offer your views on the policy, please write to us at links(at)unesco.org before the 30th of November 2016.

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