ILC publishes study on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories, and resources

This study assesses the international instruments, mechanisms, UN bodies, and other regional and global initiatives that address concerns relating to indigenous lands, territories, and resources. In addition, it carries out an extensive regional review, showing how the situation of indigenous peoples varies across regions and countries. It also analyses the terms in which indigenous peoples’ issues are posed in core thematic and transversal issues such as women’s land rights, environment, and climate change. The study concludes with an overview of global trends, challenges, and opportunities that pertain to indigenous peoples’ land and territorial rights. Readers may find of interest the annexed table on a possible set of indicators regarding key land-related provisions in international frameworks. These indicators are of high relevance in the current debate on Post 2015 development and sustainable goals and related indicators .

The author, Birgitte Feiring, is a renowned anthropologist who has worked on indigenous peoples’ rights and development for more than 25 years in several agencies worldwide, including as the ILO Chief Technical Adviser on Convention No. 169 and as an adviser to bilateral and multilateral agencies and to indigenous peoples themselves.

The study is the result of a consultative process that helped mobilise ILC members and partners to share their experiences and perspectives regarding indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories, and resources. This publication synthesises the outcomes of these consultations, and was peer reviewed by various indigenous peoples’ representatives and experts. The study confirms what was suspected: indigenous peoples entertain special relationships with their lands, territories and resources, as these are central to their world view, their cultures, livelihoods, spirituality, identity, and their continued existence as distinct peoples.

This publication will contribute to the debate toward the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.