United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

16 October 1995


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 111


        Report on progress made at the national, regional and international
        levels in accomplishing the objectives contained in paragraph 13 of
General Assembly resolution 49/214

Report of the Secretary-General


1.   In  paragraph 13  of its  resolution 49/214  of  23 December  1994, the
General   Assembly  recommends,  inter   alia,  that  the  Secretary-General
establish  the Voluntary Fund  for the  Decade and include that  Fund in the
annual  Pledging  Conference  for  Development  Activities;  request  United
Nations representatives  in countries  where there are indigenous  people to
promote their participation in  the planning and  implementation of projects
affecting them; urge United Nations conferences  convened during the  Decade
to facilitate  the input  of  the views  of indigenous  people; ensure  that
information   about  the   programme  of  activities  for   the  Decade  are
disseminated in all countries;  and report on progress  made to the  General
Assembly at its fiftieth session.  The present  report contains a summary of
the comments  received from  Governments, United  Nations organizations  and
indigenous and  non-governmental organizations,  as well  as other  relevant
information.   The proposed final  programme of  action for the  Decade also
requested  by the  General  Assembly  in the  above-mentioned resolution  is
contained in document A/50/511.


2.   The following Governments submitted information  about their activities
for the Decade:  Bolivia, Finland, Mexico.

95-31191 (E)   271095/...
3.   The  Bolivian  Government reported  on  the  results  of a  meeting  of

representatives  of  State,   private  and  international  organizations  to
compile a list of activities for the Decade.  The list included a series  of
seminars, presentations,  publications and  educational reform  plans to  be
undertaken in  conjunction with the  United Nations Educational,  Scientific
and Cultural  Organization, the United Nations  Children's Fund, the  United
Nations  Development   Programme   and  several   regional  indigenous   and
governmental  organizations.     The  Under-Secretary  for  Ethnic   Affairs
proposed a series of events including a  campaign on indigenous land issues,
a presentation on  programmes for highly vulnerable indigenous peoples,  and
an indigenous  musical festival  commemorating significant  events, such  as
the translation of the Constitution into Aymara, Quechua and Guarani.

4.    In August  1995,  the  Bolivian  Government  established the  National
Committee for the International Decade of  the World's Indigenous People  to
be  chaired  by  the  Vice-President  of  the  Republic  and  consisting  of
representatives of several ministries and indigenous organizations.

5.  The Government  of Finland considers the  elaboration and adoption  of a
declaration on indigenous peoples to be an  important step in the  evolution
of international human  rights standards.   Finland maintains its  position,
as one of the Governments having an indigenous  people (the Sami) within its
territory, in  support of the  adoption of the declaration.   The Government
of Finland is  of the opinion that all efforts  should be made to adopt  the
declaration during the first half of the Decade.

6.   In  this connection,  the  Government  of Finland  provided information
about  new domestic  developments in  the area of  legal protection  for the
Sami  people in Finland.  On  1 August 1995, a new chapter II of the Finnish
Constitution Act entered into force.   According to section 14, paragraph 3,
of  the Act, the  Sami, as  an indigenous  people, shall  have the  right to
maintain and develop  their own language  and culture.   The provision  also
constitutionally secures the right  of the Sami to use the Sami language  in
dealings with the authorities.

7.   Another constitutional  amendment protecting  the cultural  autonomy of
the  Sami as  an  indigenous people,  with  respect  to  their language  and
culture, has also been  adopted by Parliament and ratified by the  President
of the  Republic.    It  will enter  into  force on  1  January 1996.    The
operation of the Sami Parliament will be regulated by an Act of Parliament.

8.  The Mexican Government reported on  the implementation of the  Programme
of Action  for the Third Decade to Combat Racism  and Racial Discrimination.
In  1991,  Mexico ratified  Convention  No.  169  on  indigenous and  tribal
peoples of  the International Labour Organization.   In  1992, in accordance
with the  Convention, Congress  approved  an addendum  to article  4 of  the
Constitution which recognized  the pluricultural composition of the  country
and, in  1991, an  addition was made  to article 27  of the Constitution  to
protect the lands of indigenous groups. 

9.  The Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) has taken a number of  measures
to  improve   the  administration  of  justice  for  indigenous  people  and
supported 102 projects presented by civil  organizations.  The projects have
as a central  focus human rights,  legal services and  the dissemination  of
information about  the rights of indigenous  people, in  particular those of
indigenous women.

10.  INI has  published a series of  documents for the  public demonstrating
the richness of indigenous  culture.  Titles in  the collection include  "La
voz de  los ninos indigenas  de Mexico" and  "Pueblos Indigenas de  Mexico".
INI has  also provided indigenous organizations with video equipment through
the project, "Transferencia  de medios a  los pueblos indigenas".   To date,
there are 37 projects under  way, some with human rights organizations, such
as the  Comite de Defensa  de la Libertad  Indigena (Chiapas)  and the Union
Popular Campesina and the Servicios del Pueblo Mixe (Oaxaca).


11.   The following  United Nations  bodies provided  information about  the
activities related to the Decade:   Department of Public Information, United
Nations  Development  Programme  (including  UNDP  offices  in  Costa  Rica,
Thailand  and  Venezuela),  United  Nations  Centre  for  Human  Settlements
(Habitat), United Nations University.

12.  The Department  of Public Information is  the main United  Nations body
responsible  for   promoting  understanding   of  the   Organization's  work
including in the areas  of human rights and indigenous people.  In so doing,
the Department  launches  multi-media  information  programmes  focusing  on
specific issues.    Print material  produced  for  use in  these  programmes
includes such  items as brochures, backgrounders,  fact sheets, features  or
information kits,  which are distributed in  a variety  of languages through
the network  of 67 United Nations  information centres  (UNICs) and services
(UNIS).  Information on  the role of the Organization and its activities  is
also   disseminated  through   radio  and  television   programmes  produced
regularly by the Department  in a variety of languages.  These are broadcast
by national radio and television stations around the world.

13.   For the  International Decade  of the World's  Indigenous People,  the
Department  of Public  Information is  planning  a  number of  activities to
raise public awareness of the concerns  and rights of indigenous  people and
to  mobilize  greater  support  for  action  to  improve  the  situation  of
indigenous people around the world.  The impact of these activities will  be
further  enhanced by their being held in conjunction with the United Nations
Decade  for Human Rights  Education.   The activities  of  the Department of
Public  Information, developed  within the  framework of  the  International
Decade of the  World's Indigenous  People, will  be directed  to the  media,
non-governmental organizations  (NGOs),  government  officials,  the  United
Nations   system,  indigenous  organizations,  educational  groups  and  the
general public.

14.    On 9  December  1994,  the  Department published  and  disseminated a
backgrounder on  the Decade's objectives (DPI/1608)  in English, French  and
Spanish which was made  available to NGOs, the  general public and the media
at  a ceremony launching  the Decade held during  the United Nations General
Assembly. The  backgrounder was also distributed  world wide  to media, NGOs
and others through the United Nations  information centres and services  and
electronically  through the  Internet.   Several "UN  in Action"  television
programmes produced  by the  Department in  English for  "CNN World  Report"
(and in other languages for wider  distribution) featured issues relating to
indigenous  people.    The CNN  programmes are  broadcast  in more  than 120
countries.   For  instance, a  programme  entitled "UNHCR  helps  indigenous
Guatemalans return  home" was produced in  March 1995.   Radio documentaries
on  indigenous people will  be produced  as well  throughout the  Decade, as
part of  the  regular 15-minute  weekly  radio  series that  the  Department
produces in 15 languages.

15.   In advance of the  Fourth World Conference  on Women  which took place
this  year in Beijing,  a backgrounder  entitled "Indigenous  Women:  Taking
Control of  Their Destiny" (DPI/1717) was  published in  English, French and
Spanish.   Inter-agency  collaboration  is important  in  strengthening  the
strategies and  advancing the objectives  of the Decade.   At United Nations
Headquarters,  a  project  to  celebrate  the  first International  Day  for
Indigenous People is being  planned by the NGO  Committee for the  Decade in
collaboration with  the New  York Liaison  Office of  the  Centre for  Human
Rights and DPI.   On this occasion,  DPI will help  publicize the  event and
contact the  press.   United Nations  information centres  and services  are
being encouraged  to undertake special activities  to observe  this Day, and
the Department will ensure wide  distribution to all media of the Secretary-
General's message.

16.  For the next biennium (1996-1997), a series of backgrounders,  features
and  fact  sheets on  indigenous  concerns  will  be  published taking  into

consideration  ongoing United Nations  events such as the International Year
for the Eradication of Poverty (1996), the Second Youth Forum of the  United
Nations System (1996), the United Nations  Decade for Human Rights Education
(1995-2004),   and  the   Third   Decade  to   Combat   Racism   and  Racial
Discrimination  (1993-2003).   Since  all  these  observances  will  address
issues closely  related to  human rights,  information programmes will  also
stress this link.  One  of the major objectives of  the Decade is  education
in  indigenous  and   non-indigenous  societies.    Dissemination  of   such
information concerning  the situation, cultures,  rights and aspirations  of
indigenous  people  will help  raise awareness  of  problems encountered  by
indigenous  communities, such as  poverty and  illiteracy, as  well as their
need for development and  the realization of  their human rights.   Possible
topics for  these new  backgrounders include:   indigenous  youth and  their
concerns;  human  rights  and  indigenous  people;  indigenous  people   and
education; social and economic conditions of indigenous people.

17.    The  rights  of  indigenous people  could  also  be promoted  through
dissemination, in  the six  official languages,  of the  declaration on  the
rights of indigenous people  after its adoption by the General Assembly.  In
order to reach and inform a greater number of indigenous people about  their
rights, United Nations information centres will be asked to arrange for  the
translation  of  the declaration  into  indigenous  local  languages,  where
possible.   They will also be  asked, in the context  of the United  Nations
Decade  for  Human  Rights  Education,  to  contact  secondary  schools  and
colleges in their areas  in an effort to  include the teaching of indigenous
human rights issues in school curricula.  In observance of the International
Decade of the World's Indigenous People, a poster  will be published in  the
six official languages of the United Nations in 1996.

 18.  A  backgrounder presenting some of  the successful projects  funded by
the  Voluntary  Fund for  the  Decade and  their  impact  on  the indigenous
communities  could illustrate  how the  United  Nations  system is  making a
difference in  the lives of indigenous  people.   Collaboration with outside
partners is  important in  publicizing  the Decade  and its  objectives.   A
video to promote  the Decade is being prepared  by Television Trust for  the
Environment (TVE).   At  the request  of the  Centre for  Human Rights,  DPI
reviewed its contents and provided technical advice.

19.   During the  Decade, United  Nations information  centres and  services
will be asked to undertake special  activities to heighten public  awareness
of the  issues that  concern indigenous  people.   Apart from  disseminating
relevant information  materials and translating  them into local  languages,
United  Nations information  centres and  services will  launch  promotional
activities in collaboration  with national authorities and  non-governmental
organizations.   Such  activities  could  consist of  national  painting  or
photography contests on  indigenous people, exhibits, organization of  press
conferences, briefings or  round tables,  and inclusion of relevant  stories
in UNIC  newsletters and press  releases. Information  centres can cooperate
with national authorities for issuance of  stamps to commemorate the Decade.
Centre  directors  will  also  give  interviews   to  the  local  media  and
participate  in  seminars,  panels and  lectures for  educational  and other

20.   During  the Decade,  DPI will  continue  to  provide press,  radio and
television coverage  of the Commission  on Human Rights and  to give special
attention  to  indigenous  peoples'  issues  in  its  ongoing  coverage  and
promotional activities.  The proclamation of  three decades closely  related
to human rights issues provides a  unique opportunity for the  international
community  to  spread  the  human  rights   message  world  wide  in   close
cooperation with various sectors and actors of society.

21.   The  United Nations  Development  Programme  (UNDP) is  undertaking  a
number of projects to implement the Decade.   The Regional Bureau for  Latin
America and  the Caribbean has proposed the establishment of  a special unit
in UNDP called  "Biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples Development  Facility".
The  Facility   would  finance   projects  stressing   sustainable  economic

development,  including biodiversity  preservation and  the strengthening of
indigenous communities, by  addressing their social and economic  exclusion,
strengthening  all  human  rights,   preserving  traditional  knowledge  and
opening    up   sustainable   economic   development   and   "green"   trade

22.   This indigenous  initiative by  UNDP began  in August  1994 and  since
then, nine  meetings  have  been  organized  in  Latin  America  (Guatemala,
Panama,  Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador,  Chile, Guyana,  Costa Rica  and Belize) to
consult with  indigenous people and  identify needs and  projects.  Part  of
the initiative is  to encourage  contacts, including economic ones,  between
indigenous people of the  North and the South.   The initiative  has limited
resources at the  moment, but hopes  to broaden  its financial base  through
intensive  fund-raising  with  Governments  as  well  as  with  the   Global
Environment  Facility.   Although  the focus  up  to  now  has been  on  the
Americas,  the UNDP indigenous initiative wishes to expand to other parts of
the world.

 23.   The regional  office in  Venezuela transmitted  information from  the
Director  of Indigenous Issues  of the  Ministry of  Education regarding the
details of  the agenda of  the Latin American  Indigenous Meeting that  will
take  place in  the  city of  Bolivar  on  9 August  1995  to celebrate  the
International  Day  of Indigenous  People.    Also  included  was the  draft
description of  an American festival of  indigenous music,  songs and dances
that the  American Indigenous Parliament intends  to organize  in Caracas in
October 1995.  

24.   The  regional office  of  UNDP  in Costa  Rica sent  a  report on  the
situation of indigenous peoples in that country.

25.   The office  in Thailand  described two  projects concerning indigenous
people in the region to be developed in the following countries:   Cambodia,
China, Lao  People's Democratic  Republic, Myanmar,  Thailand and Viet  Nam.
The first one is  entitled "Indo-China Sub-Regional  Programme:  Development
of Highland Peoples  Through Participatory Capacity Building"  (RAS/93/103).
The three-year  programme, from 1994-1997, addresses  the issues of  poverty
alleviation  and grass-roots participation  of highland peoples in the Indo-
China subregion through participatory  capacity-building enabling the  local
communities and Member States to better  utilize resources and manage  their
development efforts.  The programme emphasizes  participation of the  target
communities.  The  issue of "ethnicity" is  treated with sensitivity.   UNDP
recognizes ongoing disintegration of ethnicity and  is willing to tackle the
issue through  mutual learning and sharing  of skills  and knowledge leading
to the  overall integration of minority groups into the socio-economy of the
nation.   The second  project is  entitled "Reducing  Drug Use by  Capacity-
Building and Education Within the Highlands  of the Greater Mekong  Region".
The programme aims for  close interaction with the first project.  The  drug
problem among  highland communities indicates  not only  the difficulties of
highland peoples  in adjusting to modernization  and the  changing world but
also is  an  alarming sign  of  disintegration  and desperation  among  some
highland communities in the subregion.  There is  also a need to  re-examine
political, socio-economic,  historical and cultural  factors within a  broad
development context.

26.   The United  Nations Centre  For Human  Settlements (Habitat)  reported
that,  in  pursuance  of  its  general  mandate and  in  recognition  of its
responsibilities  as task-manager  of  the human  settlements  programme  of
Agenda  21, it had  embarked upon  programmes to  identify human settlements
needs  and  concerns  specific  to  indigenous  people  in  order  to advise
effectively  Governments and  indigenous  communities on  the  policies  and
strategies  for improved  living  conditions.   The  programmes are  largely
based on capacity-building and policy  advice in such critical areas as land
registration  and  use,  as  well  as  basic  infrastructure  provision  and

27.   Habitat will  publish a strategy  document focusing especially  on the

land and  basic services requirements of  indigenous people.   The document,
which will be circulated world-wide, is  intended to be a major contribution
by Habitat to the International Decade of the  World's Indigenous People, as
well as serve as a policy blueprint to  guide its future work in  this area.
The  first draft  of  the  document is  currently  under review  and  it  is
intended  that   it  should  eventually  be  reviewed  by  institutions  and
organizations of indigenous people prior to its publication.
  28.   In  response to  General  Assembly  resolution 49/214,  Habitat will
intensify its  efforts to urge concerned  Governments to involve  indigenous
people  in  national preparatory  activities leading  to  the second  United
Nations  Conference   on  Human   Settlements  (Habitat   II).     Concerned
Governments will be urged to include  indigenous people in their  respective
national Habitat II  committees so that  their views  may be represented  in
the  global plan of action expected  to emerge from  the Conference.  At the
Technical Meeting of  the Decade held in  July 1994, Habitat suggested  that
specific  years during the  Decade might  be devoted  to various activities.
For example, it  might be possible  to devote  1996, the  year in which  the
Habitat  II Conference will be  held, to issues  pertaining to the promotion
of shelter and related  infrastructure and also to  hold the meeting on land
rights and claims which was also proposed at the Technical Meeting.

29.   The United  Nations University  does not at present  have any academic
programmes  with  indigenous   peoples,  but  is  interested  in   including
activities in support of the International  Decade of the World's Indigenous


30.      The   following   specialized   agencies   submitted   information:
International Labour Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of  the
United   Nations,  United  Nations   Educational,  Scientific  and  Cultural
Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank.

31.  The  International Labour Organization  (ILO) reported  that Convention
No. 169 has now been ratified by eight  countries, with the ratification  by
Honduras  on 28  March  1995.   Denmark  is expected  to notify  ILO  of its
ratification shortly.   According to  recent information, the Parliament  of
the Netherlands  has approved  ratification, with  a view  to orienting  its
foreign assistance  programme.   Other countries  are at  a fairly  advanced
stage of consideration.

32.  Even  though the  Convention has so  far been  ratified by  only a  few
countries,  it has a  disproportionately strong  influence in  practice.  In
November  1994, ILO  again convened  an inter-agency  meeting to  coordinate
technical  work  among all  the concerned  United  Nations organizations  on
indigenous peoples.    Also  present were  representatives of  the  European
Parliament,  the   Inter-American   Development  Bank   and  several   donor
countries. This  has resulted  in a  better understanding  of the  different
programmes, for which  there is no other  formal coordination mechanism.  It
is generally agreed that  ILO Convention No. 169  is the reference  text for
all such action.

33.   ILO  was requested  by the  State Duma  of the  Russian  Federation to
undertake  a  mission to  advise  the  Government  on  the possibilities  of
adopting legislation  for  the indigenous  peoples  of  the country.    This
mission  was carried  out  in  May 1994.    It  was followed  by  a  further
invitation to  testify before the Duma  (November 1994)  on the desirability
of ratifying the Convention.  As a result, ILO is assisting in  preparations
for a  meeting to be  convened by the  Russian Ministry  of Nationalities in
September  1995, to gather  international assistance  for the indigenous and
tribal peoples of the country.
  34.   The United Nations sought  the help  of ILO on the  component of the
Guatemalan  peace plan entitled "Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples",
and an agreement has  been established which envisages a number of  measures
for the  special protection of  and assistance to the  indigenous peoples of

Guatemala.   An interregional project  covering several countries,  financed
by  the  Danish  Government,  has  just  been  launched  by  ILO to  promote
indigenous rights and combat poverty among  indigenous peoples.  The project
covers:  training of  indigenous  organizations  and  of  NGOs,  judges  and
lawyers  on indigenous  or  tribal  rights under  national  legislation  and
international  standards; land  and resource  rights; support  for  revising
regulations; and  the development of  service programmes (credit  extension,
marketing and management).  ILO carried out a mission to the Philippines  in
May 1995 to set up training and other programmes.

35.   In the  context of  a programme carried out  in cooperation with UNDP,
ILO  began in  January 1994  to  provide  in-service training  to indigenous
legal promoters on present legislation on  land, territory and resource  use
in  the Bolivian lowlands.  This  is one of  the components of a major UNDP-
sponsored  national   indigenous  programme.     ILO  also  administers   an
interregional programme  to support self-reliance  of indigenous and  tribal
communities  through   co-operatives  and   other  self-help   organizations
(INDISCO).   Since early 1993  this programme,  now operating in  India, the
Philippines and  Sri Lanka  with financial  support from  the Government  of
Denmark,  is  contributing   to  the  establishment  and  consolidation   of
indigenous  networks at the  national and  regional levels  to encourage the
exchange  of  ideas  and expertise.    It also  seeks  to assist  indigenous
communities or  organizations in the design  of locally managed  development
efforts and in the identification of possible donors.   In addition, it aims
at  encouraging the creation  of indigenous  cooperatives or  other forms of
associations which are suited to local  conditions and cultural patterns  of
indigenous and tribal peoples.

36.    As  a  contribution  to  the  International  Decade  of  the  World's
Indigenous People, a booklet outlining  ILO's policies, programmes and means
of action  for indigenous  and tribal  peoples has  been prepared.   ILO  is
responsible  for the  only  two  international conventions  so  far  adopted
concerning the  rights  of these  peoples.   The first,  the Indigenous  and
Tribal  Populations  Convention,  1957   (No.  107),  was   ratified  by  27
countries.  While  it has a  strong protective  element, its provisions  are
now  considered outdated,  as it  takes  a rather  integrationist  approach.
Nevertheless, it remains in  effect for 22  countries and is often the  only
element of international protection available.   ILO Convention No. 107  was
revised  by the Indigenous  and Tribal  Peoples Convention,  1989 (No. 169),
which  has now  been ratified  by  eight countries.   The  latter Convention
takes  the point of view of  respect for the right of  indigenous and tribal
peoples  to determine  the course  of  their  lives, and  requires ratifying
countries  to respect  indigenous  cultures  and ways  of life.   ILO  has a
highly developed  supervisory mechanism  for countries  which have  ratified
its  conventions.    Each   year,  the  ILO  Committee  of  Experts  on  the
Application of  Conventions and  Recommendations examines  the situation  of
some  of  the  countries  that  have  ratified  each  Convention,  including
Convention Nos. 107  and 169.   The interval  between the  examination of  a
particular  country can be  as much  as five years, but  is usually shorter.
The Committee  met  most recently  in  February-March  1995 and  its  report
appeared  in April 1995 (in  English, French and  Spanish).  The Committee's
next session will be in November-December 1995.
  37.  The  Food and  Agriculture Organization  of the United Nations  (FAO)
has a  number of projects  affecting indigenous people.   FAO administers  a
fisheries programme for small island developing  States that will cover  six
areas:   institutional   strengthening   and   national   capacity-building,
especially  with   respect   to   human  resources   development,   enhanced
conservation  and  management  of  fisheries  with  particular  emphasis  on
sustainable    development;   fisheries   management   planning,   technical
development   and   in-shore   fishery  management;   improved  post-harvest
management and  marketing with a view to  ensuring that best  use is made of
resources and  that  post-harvest  losses  are  minimized;  safety  at  sea;
strengthening the  economic role  of national fisheries  industries and  the
privatization   of  fisheries   investments;  and   aquaculture  and  inland
fisheries conservation, management and food security for indigenous people.

38.    This  programme,  which  is  currently  being  elaborated,  will have
considerable benefits for indigenous populations, particularly in the  South
Pacific, West Africa and the Indian Ocean, and  represents an FAO initiative
in  support  of  sustainable  resource  management  and  food  security  for
indigenous people. Furthermore,  activities planned within the framework  of
implementation  of  the Code  of  Conduct  for  Responsible  Fishing may  be
formulated in such a  way that it would give special attention to indigenous
people's  rights,  particularly fishing  rights,  in  terms  of  traditional
users' rights and community-based management or co-management.

39.  In  spite of the financial constraints  faced by the organization,  FAO
has been pursuing  limited but  significant activities  in indigenous  areas
and  with  indigenous  people.    Following  are  some  highlights  of  1995
activities.   A  study  was  started in  Ecuador  to assess  the  impact  of
structural  adjustment on  communal  organization in  indigenous  areas,  to
determine indigenous populations' access to land  and the labour market  and
to promote  the institutional mechanisms that  permit equal  access to them.
FAO  agreed to  fund  a  project  in the  Philippines,  under its  Technical
Cooperation Programme, to support agrarian reform activities for  indigenous
groups.   The project, which  has just  started, aims  at strengthening  the
capability  of  indigenous communities  to  elaborate  their  own  community
plans,  at  designing  improved  legal  and  institutional  mechanisms   for
recognition   of  community-based   tenure  systems,   and  at   formulating
investment proposals in a participatory manner.

40.  FAO's Community Forestry Unit,  while not concentrating specifically on
the question of  indigenous people, is undertaking several activities  which
encompass,  among  other  things,  the  interests   of  these  groups.    In
particular,  under its Forests,  Trees and  People Programme,  the Unit has,
over the last year, initiated or continued  several relevant activities.  It
has conducted casestudies leading to a  concept paper on conflict management
of forest and tree resources.   These case-studies often concern  indigenous
forest-dwelling  groups in  tropical regions  of Latin  America,  Indonesia,
Thailand and other countries.  It has prepared a concept paper (in press) on
integration  of  wildlife   use  and  management  into  community   forestry
activities.   Many of  the examples  of traditional  management of  wildlife
populations  for  food  or  income  come  from  indigenous  people  in Latin
America, Africa and Asia.  Projects in this area include the preparation  of
a case-study on forest regeneration through indigenous management  practices
of the  hill  tribes  of  northern  Thailand.   It  has  undertaken  various
activities concerning  the reconsideration of the  value of local  knowledge
systems  and management  practices,  such as  works-in-progress  on  farmer-
initiated research  and extension,  the legal  bases (including  traditional
law)  for  the  management  of  forests as  common  property,  and  the  re-
examination  of shifting  cultivation as  an indigenous  system of  resource

41.    FAO  continued  in  1995   to  promote  participatory  research   and
information exchange on indigenous systems of pastoral resources  management
including assistance given to PRASET (Projet  regional d'appui au secteur de
l'elevage  transhumain)  to conduct  workshops  with  the  participation  of
researchers and pastoralists in the Sahel  to elaborate a strategy  proposal
in view of  the implementation of  the United Nations  Convention to  Combat
Desertification and  formulate action platforms  by pastoral populations  on
land tenure,  and access  to common  resources management.   Pastoral  women
were encouraged and actually formed special  working groups on gender issues
in the pastoral  mode of production and on  economic issues.  A project  was
approved  by FAO,  under its  Technical Cooperation  Programme,  to identify
appropriate  strategies  for  poverty  alleviation  and  strengthening local
institutions in  the Arhangai province of Mongolia using Participatory Rural
Appraisal  with  pastoral communities  to  assess  and  support  sustainable
institutional mechanisms and indigenous forms of  association to replace now
defunct pastoral collectives.

42.  The Executive  Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific  and
Cultural Organization  (UNESCO) adopted decision  146 EX/7.1.3  at its 146th

session held  from 16 May to  4 June 1995.   In the  decision, the Director-
General is  requested:  (a) to  encourage international  cooperation for the
solution of  problems faced by indigenous  people within  UNESCO's fields of
competence with  a view to developing  their endogenous  capacities; and (b)
to promote  and support activities carried  out by  the specialized agencies
of the United  Nations system, coordinated  by the Centre for  Human Rights,
and   to   work   with   other   intergovernmental   and    non-governmental
organizations, such as the Fund for the  Development of Indigenous People in
Latin America and the Caribbean (La Paz),  to ensure that the Decade makes a
positive contribution to a culture of peace and tolerance.

43.   UNESCO will  enhance  indigenous capabilities  in key  areas of  their
development.  It  therefore intends to  implement projects  in the areas  of
bilingual  education   (through  the   LINGUAPAX  programme),   contemporary
indigenous   literature  (through   setting  up   regional  workshops),  and
safeguarding tangible and  intangible cultural heritage.  Special  reference
will  be  made  to  the  preservation  of  oral  tradition  and  traditional
knowledge  in  the  areas  of  environmental  protection,  conservation   of
phytogenic  resources  and promotion  of crafts.    Furthermore, within  the
framework of  programmes and activities in the field of  education for human
rights, democracy and  peace, UNESCO will continue  its action on behalf  of
indigenous  people  under the  programme  of  action  for  the Decade,  with
special emphasis on training.

44.   The  48th  World Health  Assembly  of  the  World Health  Organization
adopted resolution 48.24 of  12 May 1995 on the International Decade of  the
World's Indigenous  People, drew attention to  the its  objective of "Health
for all by the year 2000" and confirmed its earlier resolution  47.27 of May
1994 on the participation  of WHO in the planning and implementation of  the
Decade's objectives.  The Assembly  requested the Director-General to report
to  the  49th  Assembly  on  the  implementation  of  WHA  resolution 47.27,
including measures  taken at the regional  level, and  invited member States
to designate focal points for indigenous health issues.

45.   The World  Bank reported  that its  policy towards  indigenous peoples
dates  back to 1982 and was initially designed  to address issues pertaining
to relatively isolated and unacculturated tribal  groups.  It focused mainly
on  the  protection of  land rights  and the  provision of  health services,
particularly  in relation  to  forest-dwelling indigenous  groups  who  were
being  affected by  Bank-financed projects  in  lowland  South America.   In
1991, the Bank issued a revised  policy (Operational Directive 4.20),  which
extends the  definition of indigenous peoples to include a  much wider array
of groups  who maintain social and  cultural identities  distinct from those
of the national societies in which they live, who have close attachments  to
their  ancestral lands, and  who are  susceptible to  being disadvantaged in
the  development  process.    The  revised  policy,  while  maintaining  the
protective measures of  the earlier directive, focuses particular  attention
on the rights of  indigenous peoples, if they  so choose, to  participate in
and benefit from development projects.   Special procedures are outlined  in
the  directive for  incorporating indigenous  peoples' concerns  into  Bank-
financed  investment  projects through  the  design  of  indigenous  peoples
development plans.

46.   In  the Latin  American and  Caribbean  region,  a number  of recently
prepared natural  resource  management projects  contain special  indigenous
land components which take  into account the  legal and other provisions  of
OD  4.20.  These  include natural  resource management  projects in Rondonia
and Mato Grosso, Brazil  and in Paraguay and Colombia.  The indigenous lands
project (currently  being negotiated)  is specifically  designed to  address
issues of  indigenous land demarcation  and protection.   It is  part of the
pilot programme to protect the Brazilian  rainforest.  The Environment  Unit
in the  Technical  Department of  the  Latin  America and  Caribbean  Region
(LATEN), in collaboration  with the Hemispheric Indigenous Peoples Fund  and
using Institutional Development Fund (IDF) grants,  has launched a series of
training workshops  for Latin  American indigenous  organizations to  assist
them in  designing and  managing their  own development  strategies.   These

have been implemented in  Bolivia, Chile and  Mexico.  IDF grants have  also
been awarded  to  Guatemala,  Costa Rica,  Colombia, Nicaragua  and  Ecuador
specifically  to assist  in the  development  and capacitybuilding  of local
indigenous  people's organizations  in the  design and  management  of self-
development projects.   Training workshops and seminars have been  conducted
on  preparing   development  strategies,   administrative  procedures,   and
monitoring and evaluation procedures.

47.   The  Bank is  currently  preparing  its first  stand-alone  indigenous
peoples  project  in Ecuador,  in  cooperation  with  the  new Secretary  of
Indigenous Affairs and  regional and national  indigenous organizations.  In
Bolivia and Nicaragua, project preparation is  nearly completed for a  rural
water and sanitation project where ethnicity, gender  and indigenous culture
are intrinsic parts of project design.  The  communities' views and cultural
preferences have been incorporated through local community consultation  and
participation  and  women  will  be  trained  in  the  process  of planning,
implementing and managing sanitation, hygiene and water services.

 48.   In the Asian  and Pacific  region, much of  the work  has focused  on
improving the  performance of the  Bank and  its Borrowers  in the  critical
area  of  resettlement  planning  and   in  incorporating  the  concerns  of
indigenous peoples and other  ethnic and cultural  minorities into  forestry
management  and  conservation projects.    In  the  relatively  new area  of
education for  indigenous peoples, the  Bank-funded Vet Am Primary Education
Project is  also noteworthy for its  emphasis on  mother-tongue literacy for
indigenous  children.   The  Asia  Technical  Department's  Social Unit  has
recently initiated an exercise which will result in  the production of a set
of  country-level  profiles   of  indigenous  peoples  and  other   cultural
minorities,  and  regional   guidelines  for  implementing   OD  4.20.    An
innovative mapping project on vulnerable  indigenous groups in  Indonesia is
also being carried out by the Social Unit in the Bank's Resident Mission  in
Jakarta.  The Asia Technical Department's  Environmental Unit has launched a
study  on  the  role  of  Asian   systems  of  knowledge  and   biodiversity

49.  Focus in  the African region has  been on generating  greater awareness
of the role which indigenous African  knowledge systems and institutions can
play in the development process.  The Bank's Africa Management 90 group  has
just completed a  report on the subject, and the Southern Africa Agriculture
Department  is  co-sponsoring  a  set  of  NGO  workshops  on  the  role  of
indigenous knowledge  systems in  natural resource management.   A  training
workshop on  indigenous  knowledge systems  and institutions  in Africa  was
recently organized for regional Bank staff.

50.  In the  Middle East and North  African region, the  first Bank-financed
project  directed at  an indigenous population, the  Matruh Natural Resource
Management  Project in  Egypt, is  now  under  implementation.   The project
draws heavily upon the land-use knowledge  and participation of the  Bedouin
people  (including Bedouin women) and promises to  provide important lessons
for  natural resource  management and  rural development  planning in  other
arid areas of the Middle East and North Africa.

51.   In  the  European and  Central Asian  region,  the  Russian Federation
Petroleum   Joint  Venture  Development  Project,   now  under  preparation,
contains  an environmental  impact assessment which will  include the design
of a  special indigenous peoples development  plan for  indigenous and other
local  populations  affected by  this  new  development in  Western Siberia.
Indigenous  peoples' concerns have  also been  included in  a recent Russian
Federation forest policy review and biodiversity conservation project.

52.   A growing amount of research  and sector work is also  taking place in
the Bank which applies to  indigenous peoples and other  ethnic and minority
groups. A major focus of this  work is in the areas of education and poverty
alleviation   and  directed  by  the  Bank's  Education  and  Social  Policy
Department.   The Environment  Department's Social  Policy and  Resettlement
Division is also involved in research  and sector work concerning indigenous

peoples,  especially  as  it  relates  to  popular  participation,   natural
resource management and biodiversity conservation.   In 1992, as part of its
participation in  the International Year  of the  World's Indigenous People,
the Small Grants Program  committed itself to  supporting small  initiatives
on  development-related issues  proposed by  and of  interest to  indigenous
organizations, especially  in developing countries.   It has since sponsored
several  activities of  this type,  many  of them  proposed and  executed by
indigenous organizations.  The Bank intends to  continue to give priority to
these types of activities during the Decade and will  be actively soliciting


53.  In May  1995, the first General  Assembly of the  Development Fund  for
Indigenous  Peoples of Latin America  and the Caribbean was held in Bolivia.
The  General Assembly  of the  Fund elected  its first Advisory  Board which
included   non-governmental   indigenous  representatives   from   Colombia,
Honduras  and  Paraguay and  government  representatives  from  Bolivia,  El
Salvador  and Mexico, and  elected Spain  as an  extra-regional member State
representative, in accordance with the Fund Agreement.


54.   The following indigenous  and non-governmental organizations  provided
information about the Decade:  Comision  Juridica para el Autodesarrollo  de
los Pueblos  Originarios Andinos,  Vision Huichola  de Mexico,  Coordinadora
Cakchiquel   de    Desarrollo   Integral,   Asociacion   Nacional   Indigena
Salvadorena,  Parlamento Indigena  de America,  Centro Cultural  WIPHALA  de
Bolivia,  Pacific Asia  Council of  Indigenous Peoples,  Sengwer  Cherangany
Cultural Group-Kenya,  West  Papuan  Indigenous  Peoples,  Nepal  Indigenous
Peoples Development  Information Service Centre, International Indian Treaty
Council, Comision  Juridica de  los Pueblos  de Integracion  Tawantinsuyana,
URI-MARKA  de  Conacin,   Helsinki  University,  Association  of  Indigenous
Minorities  of  the  North,  Siberia  and  the  Far  East  of  the   Russian
Federation,  Cordillera Peoples  Alliance,  Centro  di Documentazione  delle
Etnie.  The organizations drew attention to the areas itemized below.

Training and education

55.   In  this field,  emphasis was  placed  on  the need  to hold  courses,
forums, workshops, seminars and meetings at  the national and  international
levels on  international human rights law  for indigenous people,  involving
indigenous  professional personnel and leaders, as well as the establishment
of  comprehensive national  education policies  with a  view to safeguarding
respect for the distinctive values of indigenous people.

Economic rights, territorial rights and land

56.   Mention was  made of the importance of  holding meetings of experts in
the field  of economy, territories and  land; the  subjects discussed should
include land  recovery plans, boundary agreements  to overcome the  division
of  indigenous  people  and  allow freedom  of  transit  and  communication,
promotion  of  bank  loans  for  productive  projects, market  research  for
agricultural,   handicraft  and   other  products,   protection  of  natural
resources  and the  restructuring of  traditional economic  models,  with an
adequate transfer of technology that respects the indigenous technology,  as
well  as programmes  to eradicate the  evils caused by  drug trafficking and

Publication and dissemination of information

57.   Attention was drawn to  the value of  promoting publications on  human
rights, indigenous rights, culture, celebration  of the International Day of

Indigenous   People   and   knowledge   of   indigenous  people,   including
intellectual  property rights,  and  the establishment  of  periodicals  and
reviews which  help to  publicize progress  and achievements  in the  fields
concerned and  then become means  of training  indigenous people,  including
the preparation  and publication of practical  guides to  the protection and
promotion of human rights for indigenous people.

58.  In regard to information, mention was made of  the need for a database,
organized  by the United Nations  and accessible both to  Governments and to
organizations  and individuals concerned with indigenous people, and for the
creation of  information networks at the  local and regional levels in order
to ensure speedy communication, in  particular in connection  with reporting
violations of indigenous rights, through the Internet.

59.   It is suggested  that censuses should  be taken  of indigenous people,
with  the participation of  governmental bodies  specializing in this field,
as a  means  of supporting  economic  and  social development  projects  for
indigenous people.

National and international legislation

60.   It is proposed in  this connection that constitutional and legislative
reforms  should  be   encouraged  that  would  create  mechanisms  for   the
implementation of  development programmes  and projects  that fully  respect
both the  indigenous  and non-indigenous  sectors  of  the population.    In
regard to  America, it is  proposed that an  instrument of legal  protection
should  be  formulated  that would  ensure  the  defence of  the  rights  of
indigenous  people.   At the  international  level,  it is  recommended that
International Labour Organization  Convention No. 169  should be ratified by
all countries.   In addition, the  Commission on  Human Rights  is urged  to
support  the contents of the  draft declaration on the  rights of indigenous
peoples.  It is suggested  that in the near future the United Nations should
promote the  relevant mechanisms  for the  proclamation of an  international
convention on indigenous peoples.

Cultural development

61.   In this respect, mention was made of  the need to implement programmes
and  projects  which  revitalize  and  promote  indigenous  culture  through
festivals  and through  enhancement  of  the  traditions  and  languages  of
indigenous people.  Programmes should be  implemented to educate  indigenous
children and young people in their own culture.


62.    Importance was  attached  to  this  area, especially  as  regards the
recognition  of traditional  medicine  and its  links with  modern medicine.
Mention  is made in this regard of the need for the  latter to be adapted to
the  circumstances of indigenous  people.  It is  suggested that a technical
meeting should be  held in the  field of indigenous health  (traditional and
non-traditional medicine).

Environment and ecology

63.  In regard  to the environment,  it is suggested that specific  policies
and  programmes  should  be  implemented,  and  that  a  unit  dealing  with
biodiversity  and  development of  indigenous  people  should be  created in
UNDP.  Chapter 26 of Agenda 21 should be implemented.


64.   All the organizations  referred to the  strengthening of the Voluntary
Fund for the Decade and the financing  of development projects as  essential
requirements for  the implementation of plans  and projects  for the Decade.
For the  Decade to  be successful, it  is considered  important that  United
Nations   specialized  agencies   which  have   their  own   programmes   in

consultation with indigenous  people should maintain permanent contact  with
the Coordinator for the Decade in order to ensure the successful outcome  of
all action undertaken for  the benefit of indigenous  people.  In  addition,
it   is  recommended  that  Governments  should  be   invited  to  undertake
programmes of action in collaboration with  indigenous people, to share  the
resulting  information  with  the  Coordinator's  office and  to  make  such
information available to other Governments and to indigenous people.


65.   In early 1995, the Voluntary Fund for  the International Decade of the
World's Indigenous People was  opened.  The Fund is included in the Pledging
Conference for Development Activities for the year.



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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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