Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development titled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” on 25 September 2015. The Agenda came into effect on 1 January 2016 and will carry through the next 15 years. It is a broad and universal policy agenda, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets which are described as integrated and indivisible. The Agenda promises to leave no one behind and reach the furthest behind first.


As a result of indigenous peoples’ strong engagement in the process towards the 2030 Agenda, the final resolution “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”  (A/RES/70/1) refers to indigenous peoples 6 times, three times in the political declaration; two in the targets under Goal 2 on Zero Hunger (target 2.3) and Goal 4 on education (target 4.5) – and one in the section on follow up and review that calls for indigenous peoples’ participation. See this overview of references to indigenous peoples: Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda Infographics

Apart from the direct references, many of the Sustainable Development Goals and associated targets are relevant for indigenous peoples. Moreover, the overarching framework of the 2030 Agenda contains numerous elements that can go towards articulating the development concerns of indigenous peoples. Of significance is the fact that human rights principles and standards are strongly reflected in the 2030 Agenda (A/RES/70/1 paragraph 10). Moreover, the 2030 Agenda overall focus on reducing inequalities is of particular relevance to indigenous peoples, who are almost universally in situations of disadvantage vis-à-vis other segments of the population.

The global indicator framework that will measure progress of implementation of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) includes two indicators that refers directly to indigenous peoples (Indicator 2.3.2 and 4.5.1) and several other indicators that are relevant for indigenous peoples, particularly indicator 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 on land rights. Moreover, there has been much focus on the need of disaggregation of data which the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues among others have been advocating for. The global indicator list states that “SDG indicators should be disaggregated, where relevant, by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, or other characteristics, in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics“. The global indicator framework was agreed by the Statistical Commission in 2017 as a voluntary and country-led instrument, but will still be work in progress and adjusted as necessary in the upcoming years. At this stage, indicators are being developed at the national and regional level. The full list of indicators is accessible here.

Follow-up and Review

The primary responsibility of implementation, review and follow-up lies at the national level as stated in A/RES/70/1. At the global level, the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the main UN platform for overseeing follow-up and review. The HLPF will be meeting once a year under auspices of Economic and Social Council and every 4th year under the auspices of General Assembly. Detailed decisions on the follow-up and review to the 2o30 Agenda are reflected in the resolution on follow-up and review (A/RES/70/299) .

The first meeting of the HLPF took place in New York from 11-20 July 2016, including thematic discussions, 22 countries undergoing national reviews and adoption of a Ministerial Declaration as the main outcome document. In 2017, the HLPF took place from 10-19 July, including thematic discussions, 44 voluntary national reviews and adoption of a Ministerial Declaration. Indigenous Peoples very present at both HLPF meetings to ensure that indigenous voices, priorities and concerns were raised.