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Indigenous peoples

Indigenous peoples: valuing, respecting and supporting diversity

Indigenous peoples have rich and ancient cultures and view their social, economic, environmental and spiritual systems as interdependent. They make valuable contributions to the world's heritage thanks to their traditional knowledge and their understanding of ecosystem management. But indigenous peoples are also among the world's most vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged groups. We must ensure that their voices are heard, their rights respected, and their well-being improved.

There are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous peoples in some 70 countries around the world. In Latin America alone there are more than 400 groups, each with a distinct language and culture. But the biggest concentration of indigenous peoples is in Asia and the Pacific – an estimated 70 per cent.

In focus



  • Too often development activities meant to assist poor rural women treat them as if they were all the same, says Myrna Cunningham Kain, President of the Centre for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples. In reality rural women are a diverse population with different cultural backgrounds, knowledge systems and development challenges. Read more

  • A small idea originating in one of the world's most isolated places could help empower women across Indonesia.

  • The Waroani Women's Association, an indigenous group of women from the Ecuadorian Amazon, are now entrepreneurs thanks to the Corridor Central project, financed by IFAD and implemented by the Ecuadorian Instituto Nacional de Economía Popular y Solidaria, They have improved and strengthened their organizational capacities and entrepreneurial capabilities, including developing “Waorani, Hecho a Mano” (hand-made handicrafts) and organic cocoa production.

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  • Antonella Cordone
    Senior Technical Specialist, Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Issues
    Via Paolo Di Dono, 44 Italy
    Rome, Italy
    Work: +39 0654592065
    Fax: +39 0654593065