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                                             A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. III)
                                             14 August 1992

                                             ORIGINAL:  ENGLISH


                  (Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992)

                             Chapter 26

                        AND THEIR COMMUNITIES

                           PROGRAMME AREA

Basis for action

26.1.  Indigenous people and their communities have an historical
relationship with their lands and are generally descendants of the
original inhabitants of such lands.  In the context of this chapter the
term "lands" is understood to include the environment of the areas
which the people concerned traditionally occupy.  Indigenous people and
their communities represent a significant percentage of the global
population.  They have developed over many generations a holistic
traditional scientific knowledge of their lands, natural resources and
environment.  Indigenous people and their communities shall enjoy the
full measure of human rights and fundamental freedoms without hindrance
or discrimination.  Their ability to participate fully in sustainable
development practices on their lands has tended to be limited as a
result of factors of an economic, social and historical nature.  In
view of the interrelationship between the natural environment and its
sustainable development and the cultural, social, economic and physical
well-being of indigenous people, national and international efforts to
implement environmentally sound and sustainable development should
recognize, accommodate, promote and strengthen the role of indigenous
people and their communities.
26.2.  Some of the goals inherent in the objectives and activities of
this programme area are already contained in such international legal
instruments as the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No.
169) and are being incorporated into the draft universal declaration on
indigenous rights, being prepared by the United Nations working group
on indigenous populations.  The International Year for the World's
Indigenous People (1993), proclaimed by the General Assembly in its
resolution 45/164 of 18 December 1990, presents a timely opportunity to
mobilize further international technical and financial cooperation.


26.3.  In full partnership with indigenous people and their
communities, Governments and, where appropriate, intergovernmental
organizations should aim at fulfilling the following objectives:

      (a)   Establishment of a process to empower indigenous people and
their communities through measures that include:

      (i)   Adoption or strengthening of appropriate policies and/or
            legal instruments at the national level;

    (ii)    Recognition that the lands of indigenous people and their
            communities should be protected from activities that are
            environmentally unsound or that the indigenous people
            concerned consider to be socially and culturally

   (iii)    Recognition of their values, traditional knowledge and
            resource management practices with a view to promoting
            environmentally sound and sustainable development;

    (iv)    Recognition that traditional and direct dependence on
            renewable resources and ecosystems, including sustainable
            harvesting, continues to be essential to the cultural,
            economic and physical well-being of indigenous people and
            their communities;

      (v)   Development and strengthening of national
            dispute-resolution arrangements in relation to settlement
            of land and resource-management concerns;

    (vi)    Support for alternative environmentally sound means of
            production to ensure a range of choices on how to improve
            their quality of life so that they effectively participate
            in sustainable development;

   (vii)    Enhancement of capacity-building for indigenous
            communities, based on the adaptation and exchange of
            traditional experience, knowledge and resource-management
            practices, to ensure their sustainable development;

      (b)   Establishment, where appropriate, of arrangements to
strengthen the active participation of indigenous people and their
communities in the national formulation of policies, laws and
programmes relating to resource management and other development
processes that may affect them, and their initiation of proposals for
such policies and programmes;

      (c)   Involvement of indigenous people and their communities at
the national and local levels in resource management and conservation
strategies and other relevant programmes established to support and
review sustainable development strategies, such as those suggested in
other programme areas of Agenda 21.


26.4.  Some indigenous people and their communities may require, in
accordance with national legislation, greater control over their lands,
self-management of their resources, participation in development
decisions affecting them, including, where appropriate, participation
in the establishment or management of protected areas.  The following
are some of the specific measures which Governments could take:

      (a)   Consider the ratification and application of existing
international conventions relevant to indigenous people and their
communities (where not yet done) and provide support for the adoption
by the General Assembly of a declaration on indigenous rights;

      (b)   Adopt or strengthen appropriate policies and/or legal
instruments that will protect indigenous intellectual and cultural
property and the right to preserve customary and administrative systems
and practices.

26.5.  United Nations organizations and other international development
and finance organizations and Governments should, drawing on the active
participation of indigenous people and their communities, as
appropriate, take the following measures, inter alia, to incorporate
their values, views and knowledge, including the unique contribution of
indigenous women, in resource management and other policies and
programmes that may affect them:

      (a)   Appoint a special focal point within each international
organization, and organize annual interorganizational coordination
meetings in consultation with Governments and indigenous organizations,
as appropriate, and develop a procedure within and between operational
agencies for assisting Governments in ensuring the coherent and
coordinated incorporation of the views of indigenous people in the
design and implementation of policies and programmes.  Under this
procedure, indigenous people and their communities should be informed
and consulted and allowed to participate in national decision-making,
in particular regarding regional and international cooperative efforts. 
In addition, these policies and programmes should take fully into
account strategies based on local indigenous initiatives;

      (b)   Provide technical and financial assistance for
capacity-building programmes to support the sustainable
self-development of indigenous people and their communities;

      (c)   Strengthen research and education programmes aimed at:

      (i)   Achieving a better understanding of indigenous people's
            knowledge and management experience related to the
            environment, and applying this to contemporary development

    (ii)    Increasing the efficiency of indigenous people's resource
            management systems, for example, by promoting the
            adaptation and dissemination of suitable technological

      (d)   Contribute to the endeavours of indigenous people and their
communities in resource management and conservation strategies (such as
those that may be developed under appropriate projects funded through
the Global Environment Facility and the Tropical Forestry Action Plan)
and other programme areas of Agenda 21, including programmes to
collect, analyse and use data and other information in support of
sustainable development projects.

26.6.  Governments, in full partnership with indigenous people and
their communities should, where appropriate:

      (a)   Develop or strengthen national arrangements to consult with
indigenous people and their communities with a view to reflecting their
needs and incorporating their values and traditional and other
knowledge and practices in national policies and programmes in the
field of natural resource management and conservation and other
development programmes affecting them;

      (b)   Cooperate at the regional level, where appropriate, to
address common indigenous issues with a view to recognizing and
strengthening their participation in sustainable development.

Means of implementation

(a) Financing and cost evaluation

26.7.  The Conference secretariat has estimated the average total
annual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this
programme to be about $3 million on grant or concessional terms.  These
are indicative and order-of-magnitude estimates only and have not been
reviewed by Governments.  Actual costs and financial terms, including
any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the
specific strategies and programmes Governments decide upon for

(b)   Legal and administrative frameworks

26.8.  Governments should incorporate, in collaboration with the
indigenous people affected, the rights and responsibilities of
indigenous people and their communities in the legislation of each
country, suitable to the country's specific situation.  Developing
countries may require technical assistance to implement these

(c)   Human resource development

26.9.  International development agencies and Governments should commit
financial and other resources to education and training for indigenous
people and their communities to develop their capacities to achieve
their sustainable self-development, and to contribute to and
participate in sustainable and equitable development at the national
level.  Particular attention should be given to strengthening the role
of indigenous women.