Indigenous peoples have repeatedly asked for a more systematic dialogue with United Nations agencies. In response to this request, IFAD has taken a series of initiatives in the past seven years and accumulated valuable experience in establishing constructive dialogue with indigenous peoples. The first global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD was held on 11-12 February 2013, in Rome in conjunction with IFAD Governing Council.
Watch the video from the first indigenous peoples' forum
Partnerships with indigenous peoples’ organizations
IFAD will pursue its efforts to systematically engage indigenous peoples at the local, national and international levels. To this end, IFAD will promote systematic dialogue with representatives of national and subnational indigenous peoples’ organizations to share information, consult with them on COSOPs, and promote their participation in institutional outreach and learning events. An indigenous peoples’ forum at IFAD will be established and will be held every other year, in conjunction with the IFAD Governing Council (alternating with the Farmers’ Forum global meeting). The forum will be a process of dialogue and consultation between representatives of indigenous peoples, IFAD staff and Member States. It will bring together between 20 and 30 indigenous peoples’ representatives, including members of the IPAF board, UNPFII and selected representatives of indigenous peoples’ communities involved in IFAD-supported programmes. The forum will also promote accountability in providing feedback on IFAD's operations.
Source: IFAD Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples
The IFAD Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples (approved by IFAD Executive Board in September 2009) includes partnership with indigenous peoples as one of the instruments to deploy its principles of engagement.
The proposal to establish an Indigenous Peoples’ Forum is a concrete attempt to institutionalize a process of consultation and dialogue with indigenous peoples’ representatives at the national, regional and international levels. The aim is to improve IFAD’s accountability to its target groups and its development effectiveness, and to exercise a leadership role among international development institutions.
IFAD is not new to such a consultation process. In establishing the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, IFAD will build on the lessons and experience deriving from the existing Farmers’ Forum.
From IFAD’s perspective, the objectives of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, as set forth in the annex to its Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples explaining the process, are to:
The activities of the Forum will focus on indigenous peoples’ consultations and involvement in the development of IFAD’s country strategies, project design, implementation and monitoring processes, and in policy dialogue and advocacy. In so doing, the Forum will also support IFAD in implementing its Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples and in translating its principles into action on the ground. Moreover, the Forum will promote accountability by encouraging feedback by indigenous peoples’ representatives on IFAD's operations.
The global meeting of the Forum would bring together, every other year, between 20 and 30 indigenous
peoples’ representatives, including the members of the IFAD Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF)
Board, selected members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), representatives of
indigenous peoples’ communities involved in IFAD-supported programmes, and representatives of national
and regional organizations of those countries where IFAD-funded projects are benefiting or are planning to benefit indigenous peoples.
Beyond the confines of IFAD’s direct consultation and partnership with indigenous peoples, the Forum would also have a role to play in promoting partnerships and networking by actively linking indigenous peoples’ grass-roots, national and regional organizations to their international representatives and to UNPFII.
Message by Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Food Movement to the first global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum
The workshop in February 2011
The first step towards establishing the Indigenous Peoples Forum at IFAD was a two-day workshop organized by IFAD with the support of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), scheduled to The objective of the workshop is to discuss and agree upon the purpose and modalities of the Forum.
Representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations and IFAD Staff will discuss the possible directions, scope and objectives of the Forum, and how it should be organized and operate, including governance and participation criteria.
The workshop produced a statement on the establishment of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD, providing clear direction and guidelines on what the forum will be and how it will operate. The workshop also agreed upon a “road map” on the Forum process for the next two years, after which the first global meeting of the Forum will take place in conjunction with IFAD’s Governing Council in 2013.