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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

9 August, 2021

There are approximately 476 million Indigenous Peoples worldwide, in over 90 countries – 6 percent of the global population. Often lacking formal recognition over their lands, territories and natural resources, Indigenous People are often last to receive public investments in basic services and infrastructure, and face multiple barriers to participate fully in the formal economy, enjoy access to justice, and participate in political processes and decision making. While Indigenous Peoples own, occupy, or use a quarter of the world’s surface area, they safeguard 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. They hold vital ancestral knowledge and expertise on how to adapt, mitigate, and reduce climate and disaster risks. International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples marks the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations in 1982. Self-identification as indigenous or tribal is a fundamental criterion for determining the groups to which the provisions of the International Labour Organization’s Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries apply, and additional criteria that help to define Indigenous people include:

  • historical continuity with pre-invasion and/or pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories;
  • distinctiveness;
  • non-dominance;
  • a determination to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and identity as peoples in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.
  • a strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources;
  • distinct social, economic or political systems;
  • distinct language, culture and beliefs.



Image: International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Tree of Compassion