FAO Launches Policy for Engaging with Indigenous Communities

26 November 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has developed a guidance document titled "FAO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples," aimed to guide systematic and responsible engagement with indigenous peoples and their organizations.

The policy paper seeks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas that will lead to the benefit of rural and indigenous communities, particularly in terms of land tenure issues, natural resource management and food security. The policy underscores that food security and sustainable development for indigenous peoples are being compromised by environmental degradation, and highlights the vulnerability of indigenous peoples' lands to climate change. The policy provides information on indigenous peoples' livelihoods, concerns about development, and core principles to be at the heart of joint activities. It also presents thematic areas for collaboration, particularly related to climate change and bioenergy, economic opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and cultural and biological diversity.

The paper introduces mechanisms for implementing the policy through: information sharing and analysis; policy dialogue and normative work; field programmes; and resource mobilization and increased coordination. The policy was prepared with indigenous representatives, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and individual experts, and is based on international instruments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [Policy Paper on on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples] [FAO Press Release]