The World Bank is continuing to deepen its understanding of Indigenous Peoples issues and needs at the country and regional levels through analytical studies that will improve the design and implementation of projects and programs that involve Indigenous Peoples and through direct dialogue with indigenous leaders and their representative Indigenous Peoples Organizations.
The Bank participates each year in a number of international Indigenous Peoples’ fora, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York. In building wider alliances with the international indigenous community, the Bank collaborates with various IPOs in developing countries
In April 2015, thirty Indigenous Peoples leaders from around the world held high level meetings with the World Bank as part of its engagement process. The Global Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples highlighted progress made and provided representatives of Indigenous People’s groups with a platform to help chart the Bank’s roadmap to continue strengthening its partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
The Bank is committed to both strengthening country capacity to enhance effective engagement with Indigenous Peoples as well as to build the capacity of Indigenous Peoples organizations. This support includes a dedicated grant mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and local communities by the Forest Investment Program (FIP), a Capacity Building Program for Forest-Dependent Indigenous Peoples by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), and global, regional, and local consultations in the context of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Selected through the UNPFII, Indigenous Peoples are also observers to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).
Through its work, the World Bank seeks to position excluded groups, such as 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;
- Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ capacity for self-development, based upon their own views and priorities, including cultural heritage and knowledge;
- Demonstrating the important role that Indigenous Peoples can play in the management of fragile ecosystems and biodiversity conservation; and in economic development, and;
- Disseminating experience and lessons learned from such indigenous development initiatives to national governments and the international donor community.
Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change
Indigenous Peoples are disproportionally 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 frequently depend primarily on surrounding biodiversity for subsistence as well as cultural survival. As a result, 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 of the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) agenda, where Indigenous Peoples are key stakeholders given their close relationships with and dependence on forested lands and resources.
The REDD+ readiness process that countries carry out with support of the FCPF has deepened the participation of and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and led to the establishment of engagement platforms in many participating countries. Some examples include:
- The use of “cultural mediators” in Costa Rica to facilitate social inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and campesino groups in the national REDD+ process by developing and using culturally appropriate materials and information.
- The creation of a special platform (Mesa National Indigena) by the government of El Salvador which includes 15 Indigenous People leaders representing all four indigenous areas in the country.
- A self-selection process to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and civil society representation in national REDD+ implementation in Uganda is transparent, open and legitimate.
Global Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples
In 2012, the World Bank began a process to update and consolidate the Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies, in an effort to better address new development demands and challenges. Part of the ongoing review is a Global Dialogue and Engagement process with Indigenous Peoples that aims to include Indigenous Peoples in the ongoing World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards Review and Update process.
Both consultation phases of the safeguards review included a number of dedicated Indigenous Peoples Dialogue sessions that have yielded excellent results in terms of participation, information gathered and the beginning of a renewed and stronger relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The Dialogue is ongoing.
In July 2015, the Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors authorized a third round of consultations on a second draft Environmental and Social Framework. This draft includes a proposal for an Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) 7 for Indigenous Peoples, which proposes to introduce the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
The World Bank will consult widely with governments, private sector, and civil society, including Indigenous Peoples. After conclusion of the consultation, the Bank will review and consider the feedback received and will present an updated proposal for discussion with the Committee on Development Effectiveness of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The full Board, which represents the World Bank’s 188 member states, will make the final decision about the proposed Framework including the Environmental and Social Standard for Indigenous Peoples.
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2015