UNDP: A Policy of Engagement

Excerpt from UNDP's website, Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Does UNDP have a policy of engagement with indigenous peoples?

A: UNDP and Indigenous Peoples: A Policy of Engagement (2001) provides UNDP staff with a framework to guide their work in building sustainable partnerships with indigenous peoples and their organizations. It sets out the critical issues for UNDP support; the priority areas of engagement; the principal objectives for an effective partnership; and the main principles guiding the relationship with indigenous peoples. For more information visit the policies and procedures page.

Q: What are the indigenous issues for UNDP support?

A: In the UNDP consultation process, representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs) identified the following areas for UNDP support.

Participation. Indigenous peoples seek participation and representation at all levels in decision-making processes, especially those that may affect their human, developmental and environmental rights.

Self-determination. Indigenous peoples look for assistance in the recognition of the right to self-determination as defined in the United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. By virtue of that right, they freely "determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” As clearly expressed in the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the United Nations Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, self-determination shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action that would impair the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent states.

Conflict prevention and peace-building. Indigenous peoples seek UNDP support in conflict prevention and peace-building strategies in addition to assisting in the rehabilitation and reintegration of displaced peoples.

Environment and sustainable development. Many indigenous peoples seek the recognition, support and development of sustainable communities based on their own cosmovision - a balance between land, nature, people and spirit.

Globalization. In addressing globalization, indigenous peoples urged that UNDP examine its effects on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples, especially with regard to food security, security of tenure, gender equity, intellectual and cultural property rights, and indigenous knowledge.

In recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, needs, and aspirations UNDP has identified four priority areas of engagement. They are: democratic governance and human rights, poverty reduction, conflict prevention and peace-building, and environment and sustainable development.

Q: Are there examples of UNDP projects involving indigenous peoples?

A: Please see the matrix of UNDP Projects with indigenous peoples.

Bonus Question:

Q: What has UNDP in the Republic of Congo done to address the issue of the continuing pressures of economic displacement of indigenous peoples and are its actions consistent with "A Policy of Engagement?"

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