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Pueblos Indígenas

¿Cómo pueden los pueblos indígenas contribuir a la seguridad alimentaria mundial?

Jeffrey Campbell, experto forestal y gerente del Mecanismo de Bosques y Fincas de la FAO, explica las diversas formas en que los pueblos indígenas contribuyen a la seguridad alimentaria mundial. Desde la complejidad de sus sistemas alimentarios y sus conocimientos tradicionales hasta sus prácticas agrícolas resilientes frente al cambio climático, la FAO está convencida de que los pueblos indígenas pueden dar respuestas a los desafíos de la seguridad alimentaria mundial.

Who are indigenous peoples?

Who are indigenous peoples?

There is no one single definition of indigenous peoples at the international level that can be applicable to all indigenous communities due to the rich diversity of this group between regions and countries. However, some criteria have been defined, the most important being self-identification. On an individual basis, an indigenous person is one who belongs to these indigenous populations through self-identification as indigenous (group consciousness) and is recognized and accepted by these populations as one of its members (acceptance by the group).”

Other criteria included in the FAO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples that have been internationally recognized are:  

  • recognition by other groups, or by state authorities, as a distinct collectivity; 
  • priority in time (i.e., having the earliest historical continuity), with respect to occupation and use of a specific territory;
  • the voluntary perpetuation of cultural distinctiveness, which may include aspects of language, social organization, religion and spiritual values, modes of production, laws and institutions;
  • an experience of subjugation, marginalization, dispossession, exclusion or discrimination, whether or not these conditions persist.

Why indigenous peoples with an “s”?

Why indigenous peoples with an “s”?

The term “indigenous peoples” with “s” was internationally agreed by indigenous peoples themselves as a way to encompass diverse collectives that are also known as adivasi, janajatis, mountain dwellers, hill tribes, ethnic minorities, scheduled tribes, adat communities, highland peoples, hunter-gatherers, First Nations, aboriginals and pastoralists, as well as other groups that fit the characteristics outlined in working definitions of “indigenous peoples”.

How many indigenous peoples are there around the globe?

How many indigenous peoples are there around the globe?

To date, it is estimated that there are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous peoples in over 90 countries around the world, with the large majority living in Asia. 

Where do indigenous peoples live?

Where do indigenous peoples live?

There are indigenous peoples in all regions of the world. Indigenous peoples live mainly throughout Asia and the Pacific (more than 75 percent of the world indigenous population). For detailed map, click here: www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/en/.  

As defined by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), indigenous peoples divide the world into seven socio-cultural regions: Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; the Arctic; Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific.

Are pastoralists considered indigenous peoples?

Are pastoralists considered indigenous peoples?

Not all. Some pastoralist peoples self-identify as indigenous peoples, following the criteria detailed in the question above, “Who are indigenous peoples?”, in which case, they can benefit from all mechanisms in place for indigenous peoples detailed below.

There are an estimated 120 million pastoralists worldwide mainly in developing countries encompassing nomadic tribes, transhumant herders, agro-pastoralists and others. They live under challenging conditions, mostly in arid and semi-arid rangelands or lands that suffer from extreme seasonal frost, snow and drought. In some cases, their challenges and lack of respect for their rights place them in a situation of vulnerability similar to that of indigenous peoples.

Pastoralists are stewards of conserving rangeland biodiversity and protecting ecosystem services. Their livelihoods depend on their intimate knowledge of the surrounding ecosystem and on the well-being of their livestock.

Customary or traditional land tenure systems, extensive land use and production, mobility or freedom of movement, flexibility, adaptability and resilience strategies are at the heart of pastoralism, which are a vital response to unique ecological challenges and better solutions for more sustainable and equitable development. 

The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub is an initiative hosted by FAO, bringing together pastoralists and the main actors working with them to join forces and create synergies for dialogue and pastoralist development. For more information about the Hub, visit: www.fao.org/pastoralist-knowledge-hub/en/

Are indigenous peoples considered “minorities”?

Are indigenous peoples considered “minorities”?

No. While they are often, although not always, in the minority in the states in which they reside, the legal status of indigenous peoples is distinct from that of minorities. Minorities and indigenous peoples have some similar rights under international law, although the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is arguably more comprehensive than international legal instruments associated with minorities.

 

 

Does FAO consider indigenous peoples vulnerable?

Does FAO consider indigenous peoples vulnerable?

No. FAO considers indigenous and tribal peoples key strategic partners in the fight against hunger due to their wealth of ancestral knowledge. Their voices must be heard in order to find a new balance between human needs and those of the planet, new mechanisms that can guarantee environmental and social justice, and new models of food production, distribution and consumption. This will relieve the pressure on natural resources and ensure that future generations will have the resources they need to feed themselves.

What is the purpose of the FAO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples?

What is the purpose of the FAO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples?

Consistent with its mandate to pursue a world free from hunger and malnutrition, in 2010, FAO adopted its Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in order to ensure that the Organization will make all due efforts to take into full consideration and promote indigenous issues in relevant work.

The central purpose of the policy is to provide a framework to guide FAO’s work with respect to indigenous peoples. It provides information about indigenous peoples’ livelihoods, world views and concerns about development, including certain core principles that should be at the heart of joint activities. The policy also defines a series of thematic areas where collaborative opportunities are most feasible. At the same time, a number of mechanisms are suggested that will allow cooperation with indigenous peoples to move forward in a more systematic way.

See the FAO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples at: www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/2ead5dd4-4fa1-46ef-9a3e-d6296fe39de9/

How does FAO coordinate the work with indigenous peoples?

How does FAO coordinate the work with indigenous peoples?

The indigenous peoples’ team, under the Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development Division (OPC) is the focal point team for indigenous peoples in FAO. The team ensures coordination of FAO’s work on indigenous issues mainly through the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and the Working Group on Indigenous Food Systems.

The indigenous peoples’ team also coordinates FAO’s participation in the United Nations Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

FAO has also set up an FPIC Task Force (see section on Free, prior and informed consent) and a network of focal points from FAO relevant Regional and Country Offices working on indigenous peoples’ issues (see www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/focal-points/en/). 

Contact the team at indigenous-peoples@fao.org

What is the focus of the work of indigenous peoples’ team at FAO?

What is the focus of the work of indigenous peoples’ team at FAO?

The team is currently focusing on a number of areas of work which derive from a meeting held at FAO headquarters in February 2015, a meeting which counted with the participation of indigenous representatives from the 7 socio-cultural regions in which indigenous peoples divide the world, FAO senior management and FAO technical staff.

These areas of work are: 

  • Coordination of FAO’s work with indigenous peoples
  • Advocacy on indigenous peoples’ issues
  • Indigenous Food Systems
  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent
  • The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure
  • Indicators for Food Security

 

 

More details on the pillars can be found here: http://www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/ourpillars/en/

How can indigenous peoples contribute to the world food security?

How can indigenous peoples contribute to the world food security?

Indigenous peoples with their traditional knowledge, livelihoods and food systems have many of the answers to the problems of world food security. Indeed, scientific evidence and development-based nutrition projects have shown in recent years that indigenous foods are particularly nutritious. Indigenous foods are also climate-resilient and adapt to their environment, making them a good source of nutrients in climate challenged areas. Altogether, indigenous food systems, through their foods and production system could be essential for world food security.

The agricultural, hunting, gathering, fishing, animal husbandry and forestry practices of indigenous peoples often integrate economic, environmental, social and cultural considerations. In parallel, many have developed knowledge systems, technologies and institutions for the sustainable management of local biodiversity. 

Mobilizing the expertise that originates from this heritage and these historical legacies is an important resource for addressing the challenges facing food and agriculture today and in the future. 

How to get involved in, and contribute to, the work of indigenous peoples?

How to get involved in, and contribute to, the work of indigenous peoples?

FAO and indigenous peoples’ representatives decided to organize an informal caucus of seven indigenous peoples’ focal points to help FAO implement the joint work plan in the respective regions. If you are interested in collaborating with FAO to implement this work plan, contact us (indigenous-peoples@fao.org).

Also, for those interested in working on indigenous peoples-related issues (food security and nutrition; rights to land, territories and natural resources; free, prior and informed consent; and others),  contact indigenous-peoples@fao.org or the FAO indigenous peoples’ focal point in your region (www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/focal-points/en/). 

What is free, prior and informed consent?

What is free, prior and informed consent?

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is a right that pertains to indigenous peoples and local communities throughout the world, and has emerged as an international human rights standard that derives from the collective rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and to their lands, territories and other properties.

FPIC allows indigenous peoples to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or, once given, to withdraw it at any stage, giving them also the chance to negotiate the conditions under which the project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated. Indigenous peoples can also choose not to pursue an FPIC process; this decision should be respected and no further contact should be established.  

  • Free refers to a consent given voluntarily and absent of coercion, intimidation or manipulation. It also refers to a process that is self-directed by the community from whom consent is being sought, unencumbered by coercion, expectations or timelines that are externally imposed.
  • Prior means that consent is sought sufficiently in advance of any authorization or commencement of activities, at the early stages of a development or investment plan, and not only when the need arises to obtain approval from the community. 
  • Informed refers mainly to the nature of the engagement and type of information that should be provided prior to seeking consent and also as part of the ongoing consent process. 
  • Consent refers to the collective decision made by the rights-holders and reached through the customary decision-making processes of the affected peoples or communities. Consent must be sought and granted or withheld according to the unique formal or informal political-administrative dynamic of each community. Indigenous peoples and local communities must be able to participate through their own freely chosen representatives, while ensuring the participation of youth, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities as much as possible. 

 

 

 

How does FAO implement FPIC?

How does FAO implement FPIC?

FAO has reviewed its Environmental and Social Management Guidelines and Project Cycle, which now makes FPIC compulsory, hence projects will not be allowed to go ahead without the implementation of an FPIC process in those situations of potential impact to indigenous peoples.

To this end, FAO developed a Free, Prior and Informed Consent Manual for Project and Programme Implementation, which will provide practical guidance for field practitioners in relation to engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities.

What are the United Nations bodies mandated to focus on indigenous peoples?

What are the United Nations bodies mandated to focus on indigenous peoples?

There are three UN bodies which specifically focus on indigenous peoples: 

  • The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
  • The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)
  • The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Human Rights Council requests UNPFII, EMRIP and the Special Rapporteur to carry out their tasks in a coordinated manner.

These three bodies meet annually to coordinate their activities and share information. Representatives of the UNPFII usually attend the annual session of EMRIP and representatives of the Expert Mechanisms usually attend the Permanent Forum, while the Special Rapporteur attends the annual sessions of both the UNPFII and the EMRIP.

What is the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues?

What is the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues?

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. UNPFII is also mandated to: 

  • provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the Council, as well as to programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations, through the Council;
  • raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of activities related to indigenous issues within the United Nations system; 
  • prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.

UNPFII has 16 members, eight of whom are nominated by the member governments and the other eight directly by indigenous organizations, who are appointed by the President of ECOSOC. The Permanent Forum met for the first time in 2002. During its annual two-week sessions, it reviews and assesses the work of the United Nations system related to indigenous peoples and their rights. It considers issues with respect to its mandate, including human rights. It also identifies a specific theme as the overall framework for its sessions, alternating with a review every other year. Since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007, the Permanent Forum has focused on the implementation of the Declaration and carries out its mandate keeping this in mind. It also focuses on a specific region each year as a means of highlighting the situation of the indigenous peoples in that region and the challenges they face.

For more information, see: www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/unpfii-sessions-2.html 

What is the role of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous peoples?

What is the role of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous peoples?

The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) was established in 2007 by the Human Rights Council, of which it is a subsidiary body. It is composed of five experts on the rights of indigenous peoples, usually one from each of the world’s five geopolitical regions.

EMRIP’s mandate is to provide the Human Rights Council with thematic expertise, mainly in the form of studies and research, on the rights of indigenous peoples as directed by the Council. EMRIP may also make proposals to the Council for its consideration and approval, within the scope of its work, as set out by the Council.

For more information, see: www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/EMRIP/Pages/EMRIPIndex.aspx 

What is the role of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples?

What is the role of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples?

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is a special procedure of the Human Rights Council. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was established in 2001 by the Commission on Human Rights and renewed by the Human Rights Council in 2007. The Special Rapporteur reports to the Human Rights Council each year.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, inter alia:

  • examines ways and means of overcoming obstacles to the full and effective protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, in conformity with his/her mandate, and identifies, exchanges and promotes best practices;
  • gathers, requests, receives and exchanges information and communications from all relevant sources, including governments, indigenous peoples and their communities and organizations, on alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples;
  • formulates recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures and activities to prevent and remedy violations of the rights of indigenous peoples; 
  • works in close cooperation and coordination with other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Council, in particular with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, relevant United Nations bodies, the treaty bodies and regional human rights organizations.

In fulfilling this mandate, the Special Rapporteur: assesses the situation of indigenous peoples in specific countries; carries out thematic studies; communicates with Governments, indigenous peoples and others concerning allegations of violations of indigenous Peoples’ rights; and promotes good practices for the protection of these rights. The Special Rapporteur also reports annually to the Human Rights Council on particular human rights issues involving indigenous peoples and coordinates work with the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2014.

For more information, visit: www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/SRIndigenousPeoples/Pages/SRIPeoplesIndex.aspx.  

What is the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues?

What is the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues?

The Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues is the United Nations coordinating body on indigenous issues. It meets annually to coordinate related activities among United Nations entities in consultation with the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues especially. In addition, the Permanent Forum considers annual reports from United Nations agencies on their engagement in indigenous peoples’ issues and makes recommendations to them in relation to their work on indigenous issues.

What are the main international standards and agreements for the rights of indigenous peoples?

What are the main international standards and agreements for the rights of indigenous peoples?

The main and foremost international instrument is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), approved in 2007. This United Nations Declaration is largely based on International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 169), which is also one of the main international standards adopted.

There are also other highly important conventions that address issues such as biological and cultural diversity, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and various United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) instruments.

1. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the UN General Assembly by 147 countries on 13 September 2007 to enshrine (Article 43) the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world”.

The UNDRIP applies human rights to indigenous peoples and their specific situations, thereby helping to reverse their historical exclusion from the international legal system.

The Declaration sets the highest international standard on protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, reflecting the commitment of the United Nations Member States to move towards this direction. See the Declaration here: at: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

2. International Labour Organization’s Convention 169

As of 2015, ILO’s Convention 169, also known as the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 1989 (No. 169), which was ratified by 22 countries, was the primary document to recognize the aspirations of indigenous peoples in their own economic and political institutions, economic development, and the maintenance of their identities, languages and religions, and values and customs. This Convention ensures indigenous peoples’ control over their legal status, internal structures and environment, and guarantees them rights to ownership and possession of the total environment they occupy or use. 

For more information, see: www.ilo.org/indigenous/Conventions/no169/lang–en/index.htm. 

3. The Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international agreement established by the United Nations. It was signed by 150 governments in 1992 at the Rio Summit with an aim to preserve biological diversity around the world. The CBD has three main objectives: to conserve biodiversity; to enhance its sustainable use; and to ensure an equitable sharing of benefits linked to the exploitation of genetic resources.

The Programme of Work on the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions of the CBD states that “access to traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities should be subject to prior informed consent or prior informed approval from the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices”.

Read more about the CDB at www.cbd.int/.

4. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The key contribution of Indigenous peoples to the cultural diversity of this planet has been recognized in various United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) instruments, spearheaded by the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. 

For information, see: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001271/127162e.pdf