Info Kit

Key Facts about Indigenous Peoples


Did you know that…


  • Indigenous Peoples have been estimated to be more than 370 millions of individuals living in more than 70 countries distributed in all regions of the world.

  • There are at least 5000 different indigenous groups in the world, representing different cultures of the existing diversity of our planet.

  • Indigenous peoples represent over 4000 different languages of the 6700 languages that are believed to exist today.

  • Most of the indigenous languages are considered to be endangered, meaning they are at a high risk of being replaced by dominant languages by the end of the twenty-first century.

  • The Amazon River Basin is about 7 per cent of the world's surface area but harbours more than half of the world's biodiversity.  The Amazon River Basin is also home to about 400 different indigenous groups.

  • More than 100 pharmaceutical companies are currently funding projects to study indigenous plant knowledge and specific plants used by native/indigenous healers.

  • In many countries more than the 50 per cent of indigenous peoples live in cities. Over the last three decades indigenous peoples have moved from their traditional lands towards urban areas partly seeking opportunities for education and employment, partly because of human rights abuses and violations in particular to their land rights and cultural survival.

  • There is not sufficient data available on indigenous peoples' living conditions, income levels, employment, access to basic sanitation and health services, traditional medicinal practices and food availability making it difficult for UN agencies to develop appropriate policies.

  • Despite cultural diversity and differences in local ways of life, indigenous peoples share common features such as distinct languages, customary laws and conflict resolution practices, special relation with the land and its natural resources, traditional medicine practices and spiritual traditions and ceremonies.