The World Bank continues to deepen its understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ priorities, needs, and issues through direct dialogue with Indigenous Peoples’ organizations at the global, regional, and national levels, through analytical studies, and the implementation of projects and programs that involve participation of Indigenous Peoples.
Each year, the World Bank participates in international Indigenous Peoples’ fora, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The Bank builds on relationships with Indigenous Peoples at the country level as well as their representative organizations that participate in regional and global fora and processes on climate change, environmental and forest management, and other development issues.
The World Bank has established a network of Regional and Global Focal Points, consisting of staff with expertise on Indigenous Peoples’ issues across different regions. This network will increase the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples into the main country planning systems, specifically the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD), Country Partnership Frameworks (CPF), national policy dialogue, and public investments.
In partnership with Indigenous Peoples organizations, the World Bank is forming an Inclusive Forum for Indigenous Peoples, which will serve as a platform to identify and share good practices across regions and deepen the understanding of initiatives to advance the integration of Indigenous Peoples’ issues in development efforts. This effort builds on regional dialogues with indigenous organizations and networks, such as the Abya Yala Indigenous Forum in Latin America, with which the Bank has held an ongoing upstream dialogue and engaged in strategic work since 2013.
The World Bank is committed to both strengthening country capacity to enhance effective engagement with Indigenous Peoples, and to building the capacity of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations. This includes support for national-level policy dialogue and upstream planning between Indigenous Peoples and governments; a Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities under the Forest Investment Program (FIP) in multiple countries; a capacity building program oriented partly toward Forest-Dependent Indigenous Peoples by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF); and analytical, strategic planning, and operational activities in the context of the FCPF and the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL). Selected through the UNPFII, Indigenous Peoples are also observers to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).
Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change
Indigenous Peoples face greater risk to the impacts of climate change since they often live in environmentally sensitive ecosystems – such as the Arctic region, tropical forests, grasslands, mountains, or deserts – and frequently depend on surrounding biodiversity for their physical, material, cultural and spiritual well-being.
The World Bank is engaging with Indigenous Peoples’ organizations to better understand and build upon traditional knowledge for climate change adaptation solutions at the local and national levels.
This is particularly relevant to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD+) agenda, where – given their close relationships with and dependence on forested lands and resources – Indigenous Peoples are key stakeholders.
Indigenous Peoples and the Review and Update of the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies
In an effort to address new development demands and challenges, from 2012 to 2016 the Bank undertook an extensive review process to update and consolidate the Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies – and Indigenous Peoples were an integral part of the dialogue around this review.
The three consultation phases of the safeguards review included several dedicated Indigenous Peoples Dialogue sessions, yielding a high level of participation, valuable inputs, and a renewed and stronger relationship between the World Bank and Indigenous Peoples.
On August 4, 2016, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) that expands protections for people and the environment in Bank-financed investment projects.
The ESF includes an Environmental and Social Standard (ESS) 7 on Indigenous Peoples/Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities, which introduces the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). FPIC is a specific right that recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination over decisions affecting them or their territories. ESS7 adopts the principle of FPIC in projects affecting Indigenous people’s territories, natural resources, cultural heritage or requiring involuntary resettlement. ESS7 also provides further guidance on Indigenous Peoples in urban areas and Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation.
ESS7 contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable development by ensuring that projects supported by the Bank enhance opportunities for Indigenous Peoples/Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities to participate in, and benefit from, the development process in ways that do not threaten their unique cultural identities and well-being.
Indigenous Peoples will continue to be a crucial partner in the roll-out and implementation of the ESF.
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2019