The World Bank aims to promote indigenous peoples' development in a manner which ensures that the development process fosters full respect for the dignity, human rights, and uniqueness of indigenous peoples. Read More »
The World Bank supports the efforts of client countries to better address poverty and social exclusion among Indigenous Peoples. Since 1992, the World Bank has financed approximately 700 projects involving Indigenous Peoples. The current portfolio contains 446 projects under supervision, with another 100 projects in the pipeline.
Within the broader framework of the operational policy (OP 4.10), the World Bank is assisting Indigenous Peoples in the following programs: projects in the Bank’s six regions, the Global Environmental Facility, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, partnerships with other agencies, and building a knowledge base on Indigenous Peoples issues.
The World Bank is finalizing an assessment of poverty among Indigenous Peoples worldwide. The study confirms that Indigenous Peoples make up a disproportionate number of the worlds’ poor. An earlier regional study for Latin America (2006) confirmed the higher incidence of poverty among Indigenous Peoples across the region but, more importantly, found that Indigenous Peoples experience fewer benefits from economic growth and poverty reduction than the rest of the population.
Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change
As the World Bank expands its efforts to address climate change, it notes that Indigenous Peoples are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, given that they often live in environmentally sensitive areas (e.g., the arctic region, tropical forests, coastal zones, mountains, deserts, etc.), and often depend primarily on their surrounding biodiversity for subsistence as well as cultural survival. At the same time, Indigenous Peoples hold traditional knowledge that may be critical to climate change adaptation.
The Bank will build on Indigenous Peoples' knowledge when assisting countries in developing strategies to adapt to changing environmental patterns and conditions. It will work to address the specific needs of Indigenous Peoples communities in dealing with climate change.
The World Bank seeks to position excluded groups, such as the indigenous peoples, at the center of the development agenda. This includes:
Strengthening the policy and institutional frameworks affecting indigenous peoples and their relations with other members of society;
Building indigenous peoples’ capacity for self-development, based upon their cultural heritage and knowledge;
Demonstrating the important role that indigenous peoples can play in the management of fragile ecosystems and biodiversity conservation and in Climate Change Adaptation;
Disseminating experience and lessons learned from such indigenous development initiatives to national governments and the international donor community.
In recent years, the World Bank has engaged directly with indigenous leaders and their representative Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs). The Bank participates each year in a number of high-level international indigenous peoples’ fora, including the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. In building wider alliances with the international indigenous community, the Bank has collaborated with various IPOs in developing countries. In May 2013, the Bank participated at the UNPFII in New York with a delegation of 30 Bank staff and organized side meetings and events covering a wide spectrum of thematic areas of high interest for indigenous peoples.
Indigenous peoples are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, given that they often live in environmentally sensitive areas (e.g., the Arctic region, tropical forests, mountains, deserts, etc.); and depend primarily on surrounding biodiversity for subsistence as well as cultural survival. At the same time, indigenous peoples hold traditional knowledge that may be critical to climate change adaptation. The Bank aims to build on indigenous peoples’ knowledge when assisting countries in developing strategies to adapt to changing environmental patterns and conditions.
This is particularly relevant in the case ofthe REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) agenda, where indigenous peoples are important stakeholders given their close relationships with and dependence on forested lands and resources.
Selected through the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), indigenous peoples are observers to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The regional caucuses nominated nine indigenous people observers through a regional self-selection process, which was finalized in May 2012.
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), housed within the World Bank, as well as the Forest Investment Program – one of the CIF funds - provides direct grants to indigenous organizations to strengthen their capacity in areas of forest protection and climate change.
The FCPF financed a series of global and regional dialogues with indigenous peoples’ representatives in 2012 to ensure their full participation in the design and implementation of REDD+. The effort was part of the overall FCPF indigenous peoples capacity-building program, supported by a $3.5 million budget over four years.
The third High-Level Direct Dialogue between the World Bank and representatives of the global indigenous community was held in Durban, South Africa, during the United Nations COP17 climate change talks in December 2011. Meeting participants discussed the mechanics of the new Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. It will make up to $50 million available to indigenous peoples to enable direct engagement in designing national and regional forest policies.
Another initiative, Climate Change Impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Knowledge, analyzes the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples; identifies practices by indigenous peoples that minimize the adverse impacts of climate change; and strengthens indigenous peoples’ capacity to participate in the formulation of national and international public policies regarding climate change.
The Indigenous Peoples issues in the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation) agenda revolve around providing proper information to Indigenous Peoples about REDD, involving them in REDD preparedness, design and implementation, learning from Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge, ensuring that REDD design supports rather than undermines customary rights to land and natural resources, and incorporates benefit sharing systems so that Indigenous Peoples benefit from REDD. There is now a better understanding that the REDD mechanisms need to properly address the challenges regarding land and resources as well as provide greater recognition of indigenous peoples’ knowledge systems, as witnessed in the provisions of the December 2010 Cancun Decision on REDD.
In 2012, the World Bank began a two-year process to update and consolidate the Bank’s policy framework for social sustainability and safeguards, in an effort to better address new development demands and challenges. The Bank carried out a series of pre-dialogues with indigenous peoples between March and May 2013 in order to agree on and plan a formal dedicated Dialogue to be implemented between September and November of this year. This Dialogue seeks to strengthen the relationship between the Bank and the Indigenous Peoples around the world and will inform the Safeguard review and update process.
Establishment of an Independent World Bank Advisory Council. The World Bank endorsed the notion of the establishment of an Independent World Bank Advisory Council following discussions held with indigenous peoples leaders attending the UN Permanent Forum in New York on May 10, 2012. The proposed Advisory Council would replace the "Direct Dialogues" currently held bi-annually with a dedicated Council that would be self-selected from among the IP Leaders within the framework of the UN Permanent Forum.
Establishment of consultative mechanisms at national and regional levels to better provide indigenous peoples with the ability to provide effective inputs to the World Bank's operational units. Moving forward, the World Bank aims to establish consultative mechanisms on a region-by-region basis, building on the experience of the consultative mechanism already established in the Latin America and Caribbean. In addition, the dedicated Climate Change Funds (FCPF, REDD+, and other FIFs) are conducting regional consultations, including with indigenous peoples groups. For example, the FCPF has already initiated a series of "regional dialogues."
Dedicated financial support for capacity building for indigenous peoples. The World Bank is committed to strengthen the capacity of our clients to enhance effective engagement with indigenous peoples to achieve development impact. This support includes a dedicated grant mechanism for indigenous peoples and local communities by the Forest Investment Program (FIP), and global consultations in the context of Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). We will continue to work closely with indigenous peoples groups, either as part of policy reforms or within the context of the World Bank’s lending and knowledge instruments.
Over the last eight years, the World Bank has engaged directly with indigenous peoples leaders and their representative Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs). The World Bank also participates each year in high-level international indigenous peoples’ fora, including the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).
In building wider alliances with the international indigenous community, the Bank also has collaborated with various IPOs in developing countries.
In addition, as part of the initiative on “Direct Engagement with Forests People in Forest and Climate Change Operations,” the Bank is making a concerted effort to assist indigenous peoples to:
strengthen their capacity to effectively participate in the design and implementation of Bank forest and climate change operations
hold a policy dialogue on relevant operations with national governments in selected countries
network with other stakeholder groups; and
access global funds for forests and climate change mitigation and adaptation.