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Indigenous peoples

Building a more inclusive, sustainable future

It is estimated that there are more than 476 million self-identified indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world. But, far too often, they continue to face discrimination and their voices continue to go unheard.

Indigenous peoples have been dispossessed of their lands, territories and resources over centuries and, as a result, have often lost control over their way of life. Worldwide, they account for 6 per cent of the population, but represent more than 18 per cent of those living in extreme poverty.

Invaluable knowledge for a changing planet

Indigenous peoples have a special role to play in the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. Their in-depth, varied, and locally rooted knowledge can help the world adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change. 

Indigenous peoples have unique food systems anchored in sustainable livelihood practices, which are adapted to the specific ecosystems of their territories.

Indigenous women, in particular, are full of untapped potential as stewards of natural resources and biodiversity. They are guardians of cultural diversity and peace brokers in conflict resolution.

At a community level and on the world stage

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s pledge to “leave no one behind”, and the framework of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, IFAD supports indigenous peoples’ self-driven development through projects that build their culture, identity, knowledge, natural resources, intellectual property, and human rights.

Since 2007, the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF) has financed small grants of up to US$50,000 for projects that are designed and implemented by indigenous peoples’ communities to improve their well-being based on their worldview and aspirations.

In 2009, IFAD’s Executive Board approved the Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples. It aims to enhance IFAD’s development effectiveness with rural indigenous peoples’ communities and to empower them to overcome poverty by building upon their identity and culture.

To convert policy commitments into action, the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD promotes dialogue and consultation among indigenous peoples' organizations and institutions, IFAD staff, and Member States. The Forum helps set the strategic direction for IFAD’s engagement with indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women and youth.

Whether preserving cultural heritage or adapting to climate change, IFAD is guided by the principle of free, prior, and informed consent. In this way, indigenous peoples’ knowledge and community-driven development is reflected in projects, country strategies, and policy dialogues.

This participatory approach creates strong, trusting partnerships between IFAD, indigenous peoples’ organizations, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues, and like-minded organizations that support indigenous peoples.

Spotlight

Spotlight

How agrobiodiversity can nourish the planet

For our people and planet to flourish, we need agrobiodiversity: agricultural systems that enhance our wealth of ecosystems and living beings instead of diminishing it. Our work has long recognized the importance of agrobiodiversity for sustainable food systems, and now we’re taking this commitment even further.

Tags: CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT, CROPS, NUTRITION

Projects

Projects

Philippines

Rural Agro-enterprise Partnerships for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID)

Brazil

Policy Coordination and Dialogue for Reducing Poverty and Inequalities in Semi-Arid North-east Brazil

Kenya

Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project

Asset Publisher

Experts

Stories and news

Stories and news

Indigenous Peoples are critical to build a more sustainable post-pandemic world, says IFAD President

February 2021 - NEWS
Indigenous Peoples have suffered disproportionately from the economic impacts of COVID-19, yet they hold essential knowledge for rebuilding a more sustainable and resilient post-pandemic world, free of poverty and hunger, said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, at the opening of the Fifth global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum today.

IFAD-funded project to help preserve Amazonian forest in one of Brazil’s poorest states

May 2022 - NEWS
IFAD and the Government of the State of Maranhão signed a financing agreement today for the implementation of the Amazon Sustainable Management Project (PAGES). Implemented in Brazil’s state with the highest poverty and food insecurity rates, the project will address the entrenched environmental degradation of the Amazonian forest.

Why free, prior and informed consent is so important for indigenous peoples

April 2022 - STORY
At the heart of this year’s session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is “free, prior and informed consent.” Quite a mouthful! But what does it really mean? And why does it matter?

Indigenous peoples lead adaptation efforts through IFAD’s dedicated funding

April 2022 - STORY
Over the millennia, indigenous peoples have developed practices that honour the interconnectedness of people and nature – yet all too often, their contributions are overlooked and devalued. IFAD is committed to supporting indigenous peoples in overcoming poverty and meeting global challenges through building on their identities and cultures.

Related videos

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Related publications

Related publications

Sustainable and resilient Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems for improved nutrition

May 2022
This toolbox provides guidelines on how to design and assess food biodiversity and dietary diversity projects with local communities, with the aim of improving the diets and nutrition of Indigenous Peoples.

Glossary for Indigenous People

September 2021
This second edition includes new terms that are emerging from most recent IFAD's publications and other recent sources related to Indigenous Peoples.

Good practices in IFAD’s engagement with indigenous peoples

February 2021
This publication shares good practices for engagement with indigenous peoples as described in IFAD's investment projects as well as in the small projects financed through the Indigenous Peoples’ Assistance Facility (IPAF).

Related documents

Related documents