Workshop establishing the Indigenous Peoples' Forum

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.

Partnerships with indigenous peoples' organizations
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.

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.

The workshop in February 2011
On 17 and 18 February 2011, IFAD, in cooperation with the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), organized a workshop on the establishment of an indigenous peoples' forum at IFAD as part of the implementation of its Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples.

This workshop gathered in Rome 28 representatives of indigenous peoples' organizations from all continents to discuss and agree upon the purpose and modalities of the Forum, its possible directions, scope and objectives, and how the Forum should be organized and operate, including governance and participation criteria.

The workshop  produced a concluding  statement on the establishment of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD, which provides clear direction and guidelines on what the forum will be and how it will operate. It also agreed upon a "Road map (2011-2013) towards the first global session of the indigenous peoples' forum at IFAD in 2013".

The establishment of an Indigenous Peoples' Forum is a concrete attempt to institutionalize a process of consultation and dialogue between representatives of indigenous peoples at the national, regional and international level, IFAD staff and Member States.

IFAD is not new to such a consultation process. In organizing the Indigenous Peoples' Forum, IFAD will build on the lessons and experience deriving from the existing Farmers' Forum.