UN Decade on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

In 1994 the United Nations General Assembly launched the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004) in an effort to increase the UN’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

In 2004 the United Nations declared a Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014). The theme of the Decade was “Partnership for Action and Dignity”. The goal of this second Decade was the further strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development, by means of action oriented programmes and specific projects, increased technical assistance and relevant standard setting activities.

The five objectives of the Decade were:

  1. Promoting non-discrimination and inclusion of indigenous peoples in the design, implementation and evaluation of international, regional and national processes regarding laws, policies, resources, programmes and projects;
  2. Promoting full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in decisions which directly or indirectly affect their life styles, traditional lands and territories, their cultural integrity as indigenous peoples with collective rights or any other aspect of their lives, considering the principle of free, prior and informed consent;
  3. Re-defining development policies that depart from a vision of equity and that are culturally appropriate, including respect for cultural and linguistic diversity of indigenous peoples;
  4. Adopting targeted policies, programmes, projects and budgets for the development of indigenous peoples, including concrete benchmarks, and particular emphasis on indigenous women, children and youth;
  5. Developing strong monitoring mechanisms and enhancing accountability at the international, regional and particularly the national level, regarding the implementation of legal, policy and operational frameworks for the protection of indigenous peoples and the improvement of their lives.

For further information about the Decade, and the work of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please click here.

For information about the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, please click here.