Indigenous Peoples

The informal Rome Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples was launched on 14 November 2019, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome. It was established on the shared understanding of the potential of Indigenous Peoples traditional knowledge and food systems to contribute to and inform the global discussions on climate change and sustainable food systems. Canada is currently the acting Chair and the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit acts as Secretariat. In 2021, H.E. Ambassador Miguel García Winder, Ambassador of Mexico to Italy, became the chair of the Group of Friends.

The group was founded with the fundamental aim of reinforcing United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/71/321 (2017), titled Enhancing the Participation of Indigenous Peoples’ Representatives and Institutions in Meetings of Relevant United Nations Bodies on Issues Affecting Them, reaffirming the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the commitments made to uphold the principles of the declaration. The groups focus is to contribute to the improvement of the coordination amongst Member States on Indigenous Peoples issues at FAO, notably indigenous food systems and indigenous knowledge.



The groups guiding principles structured around their four main objectives of information-sharing, advocacy, inclusiveness and support;


  • Providing cross-regional support to change attitude towards Indigenous peoples and
  • Promoting a better understanding of the issues related to Indigenous food systems and Indigenous peoples and the work of the FAO.
  • Sharing country experiences on Indigenous peoples for food security and nutrition, including on Indigenous agri-businesses along the food value chain in various sectors such as fisheries, forestry, biodiversity and tourism. 
  • Enhancing participation of Indigenous peoples to UN meetings, such as the FAO Committees on Agriculture (COAG), Forestry (COFO) and Fisheries (COFI).
  • Advocating for integration of issues related to Indigenous peoples in ongoing policy discussions (e.g., zero draft of CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition to highlight the contribution of indigenous food systems), through coordinated cross-regional statements from the group.
  • Encouraging investments in Indigenous food systems, such as through a potential FAO multi-donor trust fund (government donors, resource partners, private sector) for Indigenous peoples’ activities and participation, through pilot projects. 


Co-organizing the Committee of Food Security 47 side-event Indigenous Peoples roadmap towards the UN Food Systems Summit.

This side-event gathered more than 220 attendees from many different regions of the world. This side-event was organized by the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit, the Government of Finland, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)IFADthe Sámi Parliamentthe Global-Hub on Indigenous Peoples' Food Systems, the Rome Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples and the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact.



Participation in the High-Level Expert Seminar on North American Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems, towards the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS).

The High-Level Expert Seminar on North American Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems, towards the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) provided a platform for experts to present and discuss the critical importance and contributions of North American Indigenous peoples’ food systems in relation to the primary objectives of the 2021 Food Systems Summit. The Seminar was co-hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office for North America, the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit, and the Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).