By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
The UN General Assembly had proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous People, and the same year, the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, starting on 10 December 1994 (resolution 48/163). The goal of the First International Decade was to strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health.
The Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People began in 2005.