Indigenous Peoples in the Americas

Draft discusssion paper (not an official view or policy of Canada International Development Agency).

Fredag d. 10. januar 1997
Canadian International Development Agency
Emnekreds: Oprindelige folk.

List of Acronyms
Executive Summary
1 Introduction
2 Situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas and the Caribbean
3. Policy Positions of Multilateral/Bilateral Agencies, Intergvnmntl and Non-gvnmtl Org's
Annex 1: Key International Documents

Draft discusssion paper (not an official view or policy of CIDA)
  • List of Acronyms
  • Executive Summary
  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas and the Caribbean
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Geographic and Demographic Distribution
    • 2.3 Social and Economic Conditions
    • 2.4 Legal Relations
    • 2.5 Community Relations
    • 2.6 Indigenous Peoples' Organizations
    • 2.7 Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
    • 2.8 International Agencies
  • 3 Policy Positions of Multilateral/Bilateral Agencies, Intergvmtl and Non-gvmtl Org's.
    • 3.1 United Nations
      • 3.1.1 United Nations Centre for Human Rights (UNCHR)
      • 3.1.2 Department of Public Information
    • 3.2 United Nations Specialized Agencies and Programs
      • 3.2.1 United Nations Development Program
      • 3.2.2 United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
      • 3.2.3 International Labour Organization (ILO)
    • 3.3 Organization of American States (OAS)
      • 3.3.1 Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
      • 3.3.2 Inter-American Women's Commission (CIM)
    • 3.4 United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
    • 3.5 Financial Institutions
      • 3.5.1 World Bank (WB)
      • 3.5.2 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
    • 3.6 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
      • 3.6.1 Inter-American Foundation - IAF
  • References
  • Annex Key International Documents

List of Acronyms
CIDA - Canadian International Development Agency

CIM - Inter-American Women's Commission

DPI - Department of Public Information

ECOSOC - Economic and Social Council

ICHR - Inter-American Commission for Human Rights

ICHR&DD - International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development

IDB - Inter-American Development Bank

ILO - International Labour Organization

NGOs - Non-Governmental Organizations

OAS - Organization of American States

PAHO - Pan-American Health Organization

UN - United Nations

UNCHR - United Nations Centre for Human Rights

UNDP - United Nations Development Program

UNESCO - United Nations Education, Science andCultural Organization

UNGA - United Nations General Assembly return to beginning

UNIFEM - United Nations Fund for Women

WB - World Bank

WCIP - World Council of Indigenous Peoples

WGIP - Working Group on Indigenous Populations

Executive Summary
The purpose of this paper is to situate indigenous peoples in the Americas region within the context of a number of issue areas including social and economic development, governance issues, human rights and sustainable development policy issues.

Poverty alleviation and longer-term social and economic development are a key priority for indigenous peoples in the region. While most national governments and international agencies have chosen to be indifferent, at best, to the socio-economic needs and concerns of indigenous peoples, the development programmes which have been attempted have largely failed to take adequate consideration of the particular circumstances... cultural, social and economic... of indigenous peoples.

Good governance, defined by international organizations to include more transparent and accountable systems and processes for economic management and political decision making, includes respect for human rights. The long-standing claims by indigenous peoples for political attention to concerns regarding land and territory lie at the heart of good governance as perceived by indigenous peoples.

Sustainable development has acquired most precise meaning and substantive content in relation to environmentally sustainable development. Poverty and marginalization are major limiting factors which affect many of the indigenous peoples of the region. Development assistance programming must eventually facilitate the reduction of poverty among indigenous peoples and permit them to contribute in a more integral manner to national and regional sustainable development efforts.

Canada's development assistance policies continue to emphasize poverty alleviation, good governance including respect for human rights and sustainable development. The contextual analysis of indigenous peoples demonstrates that development initiatives which facilitate their access to economic and political resources will be entirely consistent with Canada's development priorities.return to beginning

1 Introduction
Indigenous peoples form a significant component of societies throughout the Americas region. They inhabit all regions of the American continents, and have a social, economic, and political impact in all of the societies. Estimated population figures are 42 million.

Caribbean are now home to a burgeoning democratic movement. Political liberalization, mostly in the form of multiparty elected legislatures, is the first step towards what it is hoped will become a more widespread recognition of human rights in the region.

Economic and political liberalization are intimately bound together and are taking place worldwide. Market-friendly development has been demonstrated to produce higher rates of economic growth and thus the potential for more equitable distribution of the benefits of growth.

Good governance too is now widely recognized as a necessary component of sound economic management--through observance of the rule of law, public regulation of market imperfections and transparency in decision-making--as well as a requisite for social justice--decisions which reflect societies' values and transparency again in the decision-making process.

Neither economic nor political liberalization in the Americas region is guaranteed and there are real risks for setbacks. The degree of commitment to these values of economic liberalization and democratic development also varies across the region. return to beginning

Nevertheless, the process is under way in a majority of countries of the region. This may provide an opportunity for donors to play a supportive role in facilitating more market-oriented economic development, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, and indigenous peoples' meaningful participation in democratic processes.

Indigenous peoples have been marginalized and relegated to poverty-stricken conditions, making them the poorest of the poor. Along with other poor sectors of society, indigenous peoples are dependent on the natural resource base for subsistence. Indigenous peoples also face the uncertainty of further encroachments on their ancestral territories, in addition to myriad cases which already exist and remain unresolved. These encroachments often lead to environmental degradation and intensified poverty.

Democratic development and promotion of human rights is intended to bring all people equally into the decision-making process as an exercise in good governance. The need for this has been neglected in the past: indigenous peoples have been the victims of colonization, vertical democracies, dictatorships, widespread discrimination, and the lack of respect for their rights in the region.

2 Situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas and the Caribbean

2.1 Introduction
The following chapter is designed to provide introductory information on the presence, conditions, and challenges facing indigenous peoples in the Americas. To the extent that this is possible, it will include information on demographics, political relations, and economic, social, and cultural variants common to indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on countries of particular interest to CIDA.

At the outset, it must be emphasized that indigenous peoples are distinct from one another, and that these distinctions are not dependent upon national boundaries.

For the purposes of this discussion, the term "indigenous peoples" applies to the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Americas and the Caribbean, using the definition provided in the International Labour Organizations Convention 169, adopted in June, 1989. The Convention includes a reference to self-identification as a fundamental criterion in determining who indigenous peoples are; indigenous peoples' names for themselves in their own languages, in almost all cases, refer to where they live and mean "the people of this land". Internationally, the word "Indigenous" has been used by the United Nations system as well as by the peoples themselves. return to beginning

With this in mind, indigenous peoples can be identified as the descendants of the original inhabitants of the region--a region occupied, by force, by foreigners who subsequently replaced their means of governance and curtailed their democratic development. Nevertheless, indigenous peoples still manifest cultural and social characteristics and practices distinct from the national varieties which surround them.

2.2 Geographic and Demographic Distribution
Indigenous peoples are present throughout the Americas, from the most northern regions of Canada and the United States to the most southern areas of Chile and Argentina. In all nation states of the Americas, indigenous peoples occupy territories which are generally considered remote--deserts, mountains/highlands, tropical forests, savannas, prairies, islands and coastal areas, as well as the arctic and subarctic. They are, as a result of population explosions and agricultural restructuring, also present in large numbers in urban centres, where their identity may be most imminently threatened.

Indigenous peoples live, moreover, in virtually every border area of nation states. Consequently, one people often faces the reality of being divided among two or three nation states. Their own nationalities are put into question, especially in areas where nation states have reoccurring disputes over boundaries.

Estimates of indigenous peoples' numbers vary widely depending upon the source. The lowest possible estimates are given by governments, while the highest possible numbers are provided by indigenous peoples. The figures generally range from twenty-five to fifty million people in the region. According to the data provided for the development of the Regional Fund for indigenous peoples, scientists currently indicate that the approximate population of indigenous peoples in the Americas and the Caribbean is forty-two million.

The population ratio of any given country ranges from about one percent in Costa Rica to seventy-five percent in Bolivia. Sometimes, then, indigenous peoples constitute minorities and sometimes majorities, but in all cases they influence the composition of the rest of the national societies. The most dispersed and sparsely populated peoples live in the Amazonian region--the lowlands of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana. Conversely, dense populations of indigenous peoples live in the Andean region of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and parts of Colombia. return to beginning

In Central America, with the exception of Guatemala, indigenous peoples are concentrated in specific regions. Indigenous peoples are said to make up approximately five percent of the population of Nicaragua and occupy two thirds of the state along its Atlantic Coast, with a few communities identified on the Pacific Coast. In Costa Rica, indigenous peoples constitute about one percent of the total population, and live on reserves throughout the country similar to those we are familiar with in Canada. In El Salvador, indigenous peoples constitute approximately seven percent of the population and are located in the vicinity of large cities and borders. They are, however, almost unidentifiable, since they were the objects of government massacres from 1928 to 1935 specifically aimed at their total annihilation. In Honduras, indigenous peoples live for the most part along the Atlantic coast, but other communities are distributed throughout the country. Indigenous peoples are estimated to constitute approximately fifteen percent of the Honduran population.

The population of Guatemala is predominantly indigenous. It has been estimated that indigenous peoples constitute at least sixty-five percent of the national population. Their largest concentration is in the Altiplano highlands, the result of mass displacements and redistributions which continue unabated. There are also large forced migrations to coastal areas, rain forests, and urban centres.

In addition, in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Guatemala, there is a strong presence of peoples who are of mixed African and Indigenous (predominantly Arawak and Carib) ancestry. They are descended from people expelled by the British from the Caribbean in the eighteenth century. Long identified by governments as "black", they consider themselves indigenous Garifunas, manifesting a similar phenomenon to that of the Métis in Canada. They maintain their cultural identity and language, and generally live in coastal areas or close to plantations. Unlike other indigenous peoples in the region, they have no clearly defined or claimable territory.

The distribution of indigenous peoples in South America shares an important feature with that in Central America: forced dislocation as a major determining factor. With the exception of Uruguay, where there are very few descendants of the original inhabitants and where they are no longer considered "indigenous", every South American country's population includes indigenous peoples. In these countries, the national population censuses do not record indigenous or ethnic affiliation, a fact which makes providing accurate numbers a difficult task. As noted above, estimates of indigenous populations vary substantially.

bolivia's indigenous population is estimated to be as high as seventy-five percent of the national population. The two most numerous peoples are the Quechua and the Aymara, who occupy the highlands. The Aymara are thought to consist of over two million people, while the Quechua are thought to number over two and a half million people. Approximately forty other distinct peoples occupy the lowlands.

Similarly, in Peru, the Quechua and the Aymara are the most numerous indigenous inhabitants of the country. They live in the highlands for the most part, but are migrating to the coast and lowlands due to the pressures of military conflict in their territories combined with the lure of urbanization. Over eighty other distinct peoples populate the lowlands as well. Together, indigenous peoples make up approximately fifty percent of the population of Peru.

Ecuador, in area, is one of the smallest countries in South America, but has a population of over ten million people. Indigenous peoples make up approximately forty-five percent of that total. The Quechua population is the most numerous, inhabiting all sectors of the country. Twelve other distinct peoples populate the lowlands and coastal areas.

The indigenous population of Colombia is estimated at 800 000, and is distributed equally between the mountains, and the lowlands and coastal areas of the Pacific. There are over eighty distinct peoples which make up this figure.

Although geographically located on the South American continent, Guyana is geopolitically, economically, and culturally part of the Caribbean. Indigenous peoples there number approximately 46 000 out of a total national population of 756 000, and are heavily concentrated in interior and riverine areas. The majority are of Arawak and Carib descent.

In reviewing the current demographic situation in the English-speaking Caribbean countries, there are approximately 100 000 who self-identify as indigenous out of a total population of 5 000 000. Most of them live in Guyana, Dominica, Belize, St. Vincent, and Trinidad & Tobago. The Caribbean is a microcosm of the changes that indigenous peoples have undergone over the past 500 years. Their most significant experience which sets them apart from others in the hemisphere, however, is their participation as colonial subjects within micro-states that have acquired their political independence within the past twenty-five years. Nevertheless, as a group they have been relegated to minority status within the civil societies.

2.3 Social and Economic Conditions
Indigenous peoples have traditionally lived from subsistence economies, such as hunting, fishing, gathering, and seasonal herding. This has shifted gradually into forest farming, peasant cultivation, subservient employment in cash crop plantations, and in the most notorious and successful circumstances as crafts producers and traders in the informal sector.

Indigenous peoples often do not have access to financial institutions. Unstable relations with the nation state in regard to land ownership, attempted imposition of integrationist policies, racial discrimination, and lack of potential democratic participation, must all be dealt with by indigenous peoples in everyday life. Together these factors serve to put indigenous peoples at a perpetual disadvantage, combining to keep them at the bottom of national economies.

Indigenous peoples are proportionately under-represented in governments, banks, boards of education, cultural institutions, commercial ventures, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. Conversely, they are over-represented in the socially depressed sectors, and indigenous individuals often find themselves entangled with law and justice systems foreign to their cultural realities.

Access to education and health is extremely limited. Indigenous people's economic poverty does not allow them to defray the high costs of school fees, transportation, books, uniforms, medical attention, prescription or over-the-counter drugs, etc. As a result, indigenous peoples bloat illiteracy and health deficiency statistics. Governments have deliberately neglected the provision of these services to indigenous communities.

The imposition of foreign cultures invalidates the ideas, beliefs and values fundamental to a shared sense of identity, upon which social structures are built and successful ways of life are founded. This too contributes to malnutrition, poverty, and disease. return to beginning

It should be noted also that indigenous peoples do not find comfort with the existing educational systems. These systems often depict them as intellectually inferior, and the programs provided are not culturally appropriate; the languages of instruction, for example, are not indigenous. The same can be said of the national health systems, where indigenous medical practices have been deliberately obstructed and devalued. Indigenous peoples would like to see a total revision of these practices and to acquire control over these matters at all levels, in cooperation with other parties.

To aggravate the above problems, the appearance of sophisticated drug traffickers in the region in recent years has weakened the possibilities for indigenous peoples to freely cultivate their own products. Their lands are often used by drug producers and processing centres and frequently serve as battlefields for military and paramilitary forces. Indigenous communities often find themselves caught in a position where they are identified as enemies by both sides--by the government, as drug producers and traffickers, and by the drug traffickers as government informers--and penalized accordingly.

Indigenous cultural practices stem from their relationship to the "land", a term which encompasses the waters, the mountains, the air, and everything in between as a single whole component (the "environment", in other words). Sustainable use of local resources is the norm for all indigenous peoples. The goal is to maintain a way of life rooted in the uniqueness of a local place, and to preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations. These concepts and the practices used are transmitted from generation to generation through highly sophisticated methods of verbal communication based on cultural and spiritual traditions. These are, however, often misinterpreted and devalued by western trained specialists as trivial or lacking in scientific substance.

Indigenous peoples have innumerable techniques with which to husband their forests, grasslands, fisheries, and wildlife, often implementing strict codes of conduct to prevent over-exploitation of their resources. Indigenous conservation practices vary infinitely throughout the Americas, and of course often differ in their effectiveness.

The quality of the lands and the abundance of resources on indigenous territory dramatically differs from neighboring areas under different management systems. Ironically, this strength makes it vulnerable to outsiders who covet indigenous lands and resources. Then begin the clear cutting of forests, irrational hunting and fishing practices, and infrastructural development, most often linked to rapid economic growth of one sector. The demise of indigenous peoples is then imminent due to the loss of land, change of cultural behaviour and poverty.

The importance of the preservation of biological diversity is linked directly to the importance of cultural diversity. The disappearance of cultures is proving to be a factor in the lack of knowledge of the preservation of plants and animals; unfortunately, cultures, languages, and knowledge are disappearing at an alarming rate.

2.4 Legal Relations
While no discrimination is allowed under the law, and in theory indigenous peoples enjoy the same rights as all members of the national societies protected in their respective constitutions, traditionally the laws have been applied on an unequal basis and systemic, social, economic, cultural and political discrimination exists in every country.

National legal systems have failed to recognize indigenous distinct traditions, in effect excluding indigenous peoples in many ways from that national legal system.

The legal conflicts date back to colonial relations, marginalization and oppression, specific indigenous demands for the right to a territory, use of languages, justice systems, cultural pluralism, socio-economic diversification, and democratic participation. All of these have yet to be settled; the appropriation of indigenous lands continues to cause concern and is one of the most fundamental impediments to improving conditions.

Few states specifically recognize indigenous peoples right over territories; where they do, those rights are partial, ambiguous, or unenforceable. States prefer to restrict land rights to limited "use and occupation" and not "ownership" definitions.

Legislative and constitutional revisions have occurred in a number of countries in the 1980s and 1990s. Due to the pressure and organizational strength of indigenous peoples, some of these reforms have included indigenous peoples' rights, with emphasis on the recognition of indigenous peoples' contribution to the cultural plurality of the nation state. This contributes to the consolidation or building of democracies.

Examples of the above include: the development of the Autonomy Law of the Atlantic Region of Nicaragua; land demarcation amendments to the Brazilian constitution; language and territorial rights entrenched in the Colombian constitution; and cultural plurality recognized constitutionally in Mexico. Most states in the region are currently involved in tackling similar issues. return to beginning

2.5 Community Relations
For indigenous peoples, social harmony has been the key factor to cultural continuity. The dependence on mutual support and cooperation is demonstrated in all their activities. In many cultures men and women have developed complementary roles, considered equal in the political decisions and other social arrangements that benefit the entire community, arrived by consensus in many cultures.

The extended family fostering the tradition of belonging to a group is in most cases the predominant factor of community relations. Children are not immediately tied to the parents, and acquire a variety of role models. The elderly, for their part, are traditionally respected by the entire community and play important roles in decision making.

Women play a vital role in the process of cultural transmission as well as in activities of income generation and household management. Many factors have contributed to the drastic modification of community structures and the complementary roles of men and women. Physical and environmental relocations due to progressive colonization, and the consequent economic dependency on the outside world which employs primarily males, make men more active in the money economy and relegate women to subsistence means of production. The introduction of foreign religious beliefs, and governance systems based on vertical practices, run contrary to the equal pairing of the male and female principles.

Indigenous women at present are faced with multiple levels of discrimination by virtue of being indigenous and women. They have very few opportunities to participate in decisions affecting them, and are poorly educated. They are the first victims of social breakdown, family and community violence, and finally live in the most extreme poverty. return to beginning

2.6 Indigenous Peoples' Organizations
Indigenous peoples have organized themselves, particularly over the course of the past twenty years in order to seek solutions to the problems they face. The organizations thus formed operate at the local, national, and international levels, using a variety of methods to effect change.

At the international level, there are twelve recognized indigenous organizations with consultative status at the ECOSOC of the United Nations, with the right to speak and disseminate information.

Most indigenous peoples have national bodies recognized as such by the people. Their operations are often extremely limited, however, due to financial constraints, a lack of managerial expertise and, in most cases, hostile government disposition. Their effectiveness and influence therefore depends heavily on international support. This fluctuating dependency results in a lack of stability and often raises questions of leadership representativity.

2.7 Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
NGOs have historically supported indigenous peoples' development, but very few have integrated the specific concerns which affect indigenous peoples in their operation plans.

The main characteristics of support range from the protectionist role to political development support, to self-determination. Most of these strategies have been conceptualized with little or no involvement of the peoples concerned, generating a climate of discontent, confusion, and often discord among indigenous organizations and communities.

With the increased emergence of indigenous peoples' organizations and their ability to interact with non-governmental organizations at the international level, there has been a period of awareness in which educational exchanges have been fundamental in promoting the elimination of paternalistic practices conducive to perpetual dependency.

Moreover, with the reality being the existence of internal conflicts, violation of human rights, marginalization of democratic, economic, social and cultural development, NGOs have played an important role in forging solidarity linkages and strategies with indigenous peoples.

NGOs have been instrumental in supporting the development of indigenous organizations nationally, regionally, and internationally, and have paved the way for indigenous peoples to represent themselves. There is a trend today among NGOs away from playing leading or intermediary roles and towards remaining at the supportive level.

NGOs have not developed specific policies regarding cooperation with indigenous peoples, as they are largely issue- and country-oriented. Few are developing mechanisms to include indigenous peoples in the overall decisions of their respective organizations, by inviting them to sit in the Board of Directors or by hiring them as officers--processes which need encouragement. return to beginning

Responding to the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Peoples, NGOs with consultative status with ECOSOC established a Committee in New York, to support the activities of the year and to play a role in the dissemination of information, promotion of dialogue and exchanges between NGOs, the UN system, and indigenous peoples.

2.8 International Agencies
The international community's level of awareness on indigenous peoples' issues has increased dramatically over the past ten years. This has been primarily due to the lobbying capacity of indigenous peoples and their constant demands for attention to be paid to their concerns. A more detailed examination of various international agencies is contained in Chapter 3.

The international organizations carrying out activities of major concern to indigenous peoples are as follows:

The United Nations declared 1993 to be the International Year of the World's Indigenous People, aimed at seeking solutions to problems faced by indigenous peoples.

The UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations will conclude its deliberations in its eleventh session (to take place in Vienna from July 20-30 1993). It is widely expected that a Universal Declaration on Indigenous Rights will be presented to the next session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (February - March 1994).

The International Labour Organization has adopted a newly revised convention pertaining to indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries. This Convention 169 eliminates the concept of "integration"; it accepts the term "peoples" and promotes meaningful participation by indigenous peoples in all decisions affecting them. The ILO is at present collaborating with indigenous peoples' organizations to bring about the ratification of Convention 169, and encourages dialogue with other agencies in indigenous peoples' issues. return to beginning

The Organization of American States has mandated the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to develop a juridical instrument for indigenous peoples. At present, this instrument is in its drafting stages, after a preliminary consultation with governments, international agencies, and indigenous peoples' organizations.

The Pan-American Health Organization has conducted a study into, and co-sponsored a workshop on the state of indigenous peoples' health. This workshop took place in Winnipeg from April 13-17, 1993, with the participation of indigenous peoples' organizations, government officials, international agencies, and Pan-American Health officers. A set of recommendations was produced for the organization to set in motion an indigenous health program as an integral part of its operations.

The Regional Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, an initiative of the government of Bolivia and heavily supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, was established in Madrid in 1992. The Fund has an Operational Interim Committee, which met for the first time on April 28, 1993, in Mexico City. To date, the Fund has not met its admittedly very high expectations. Governments have not committed financial resources to it, and they have not ratified its constituting statute (except for Bolivia). Further developments should be followed very closely, as indigenous peoples continue to believe the Fund's potential to be high.

3. Policy Positions of Multilateral/Bilateral Agencies, Intergvnmntl and Non-gvnmtl Org's
All agencies concerned with development issues have, to varying degrees, affected indigenous peoples. Most often, however, the impact has bee indirect or accidental, for few of these agencies have made specific efforts to cooperate directly with indigenous peoples.

3.1 United Nations

/////3.1.1 United Nations Centre for Human Rights (UNCHR)
The UN Centre for Human Rights (UNCHR) is responsible for carrying out the tasks set forth by the UN General Assembly for the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples. These tasks include administering the UN Voluntary Fund established for the purposes of the International Year.

The UNCHR operates from Geneva and New York. The office in Geneva enjoys the cooperation of indigenous officers from Greenland, Norway, and Australia, who assist the Centre's Secretary in the overall program of the International Year. The office in New York maintains liaisons with indigenous peoples' organizations and intergovernmental agencies, thus ensuring a continuous dialogue between partners in conformity with the objectives of the UNGA Resolution. return to beginning

/////3.1.2 Department of Public Information
Within the Department of Public Information, the UN has the services of one officer working full time on the promotion of the International Year and its activities. The section does not enjoy meaningful human or financial support and it is not anticipated that it will have a great impact within the system. It could, however, serve as a contact for schools or private organizations for the dissemination of information on the International Year. It could also help to bring forward suggestions for the DPI's annual NGO Conference.

3.2 United Nations Specialized Agencies and Programs

/////3.2.1 United Nations Development Program
UNDP is the world's largest multilateral grant developmental assistance organization. It maintains a network of offices in 115 countries, and has long been associated with the concerns and issues of indigenous peoples.

Examples of support activities of the UNDP include, 1) management of natural resources and the promotion of alternatives for the management of timber and other resources by indigenous peoples in forest areas; 2) technical assistance to the Government of Bolivia for the establishment of the Regional Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples; 3) Support to the Bolivian National Development Program; 4) Support to the World's Indigenous Conference in Kari-Oca in May 1992; and 5) A rural development project in Laos for isolated hill tribes.

The UNDP has identified four areas of concentration for possible support to indigenous peoples:

- Improvement of living standards;

- Economic and technological development;

- Cultural revitalization; and

- Preservation of natural resources.

These four areas will be under an overall framework of sustainable development, management of resources, and capacity by building. They can be obtained by increasing access to support dialogues with indigenous interlocutors and their communities, giving priority to activities identified at the local and regional levels.

The UNDP will be producing a document on indigenous peoples and intellectual and property rights aimed at the protection of indigenous peoples and ensuring that indigenous communities benefit from their knowledge. That paper will deal with the moral and ethical considerations surrounding development connected to large pharmaceutical interests which prospect indigenous peoples and their knowledge.

/////3.2.2 United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
UNIFEM was established in 1976 as the Voluntary Fund for the Decade for Women. It provides direct financial and technical support to low-income women in developing countries in an effort to raise standards of living and to promote women into the mainstream of development decision making.

In its general activities supporting projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, the priority of UNIFEM is concentrated on rural women, strengthening networks, food technology, refugees (particularly in Guatemala), training, empowerment, leadership, and means of economic development.

UNIFEM does not specifically target indigenous women. Its approach is more generic, but it does concentrate on problems facing minorities and peasant communities.

By the nature of its activities and scope, UNIFEM shows great sensitivity towards marginalized peoples. Its experience in rural areas has enabled it to carry out projects with indigenous women in Bolivia and Chile, as well as other countries. Its experience in mainstreaming could be a very useful tool if encouraged to collaborate more with indigenous women. UNIFEM has set up national committees and has regional offices in Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil and Barbados. return to beginning

/////3.2.3 International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO is a tripartite international organization which involves governments, labour, and employers' organizations in its structure. It devotes its efforts mainly towards legal instruments.

In its earlier relations with indigenous peoples, the ILO embraced the concepts of protection and integration. In 1989, however, it adopted two conventions pertaining to indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries, Conventions 107 and 169. The former was unacceptable to indigenous peoples and is no longer open for ratification: the latter has been widely accepted and the ratification is being promoted in full consultation with indigenous peoples. Five countries in Latin America have ratified the convention, namely Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Costa Rica; other countries are considering its ratification.

The Convention so far has served as a basis for revisions of national constitutions and legislation pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples. In addition, it has become a framework for structuring the Regional Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Convention provides a definition of indigenous peoples and accepts self-identification. It also offers a qualifier on the use of the term "peoples", considering the legal implications and the discussions on this subject at the United Nations level.

The ILO has taken the lead in promoting dialogue between international organizations and indigenous peoples and maintains close links. It has contributed to the important development of an informal inter-agency network which shares information on approaches to relationships with indigenous peoples.

The ILO recognizes the slow process in modifying the system in order to achieve a permanent agenda for peace, sovereignty and democracy. It also acknowledges that some governments are uncomfortable with the use of the terms "territories" and "peoples" in reference to indigenous peoples, due to long standing misconceptions and racial prejudices. They often view indigenous peoples as obstacles to national identity and development, recognizing indigenous populations only as transient rather than permanent. Moreover, in government working strategies, indigenous peoples are considered as components or footnotes, instead of protagonists and equal participants in the making of the nation-state.

The ILO also noted the positive advances made to date. Some governments have revised their constitutions to recognize the pluralistic nature of their societies, and are engaging in open dialogues with indigenous peoples and international agencies to foster their development. This would have been unthinkable ten years ago.

3.3 Organization of American States (OAS)

/////3.3.1 Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
The OAS has devoted its energies to the consolidation of homogeneous societies under the parameters of the sovereignty of the Nation State. Very little attention, if any, has been oriented towards the development of indigenous peoples. The recognition of indigenous peoples has been through the use of elements of indigenous culture for international consumption, such as exhibitions of paintings or "arts and crafts".

Some educational programs have involved indigenous communities in the use of community radio stations and bilingual education. These projects have been carried out through social or religious institutions.

There are specialized independent organs to support the work of the OAS. The Inter-American Indigenist Institute, for example, carries out studies and advises national governments. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) has the mandate to produce a juridical instrument pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas. The Commission approved a methodology and plan of action for this undertaking in 1991. At present the ICHR has approved the first summary of findings after receiving responses to a 1992 questionnaire from eleven member states, two intergovernmental organizations, and approximately twenty indigenous organizations. return to beginning

/////3.3.2 Inter-American Women's Commission (CIM)
CIM was established in 1928 expressly to ensure recognition of the civil and political rights of women, and enjoys full technical autonomy from the OAS.

Among its functions, CIM formulates strategies to enable women and men to complement their responsibilities as equals, proposes solutions to make compatible the role of women as mothers and workers, and identifies through research areas in which it is necessary to step up the integral participation of women in the economic and social development of peoples.

It also mobilizes resources for training and organizational development for the continuous planning and execution of programs, promotes access by all women to education paying particular attention to working women and disadvantaged sectors, and maintains close cooperation with other inter-American or international organizations whose activities affect women.

CIM recognizes that little or nothing has been done with indigenous women. Some programs involving rural communities, however, have related to indigenous peoples.

3.4 United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
The United States has exercised direct influence in the affairs and development process in Latin America and the Caribbean throughout the twentieth century. Thus, the experience of USAID would be like that of no other agency in terms of its knowledge and impact on indigenous peoples. It would require profound analysis of programs and projects conducted over the years in order to have a clear indication in this regard.

Indigenous peoples have not been a specific target although, again, many programs and projects have dealt with rural areas. The agency is conscious of the situation of indigenous peoples in the region (particularly in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), and would like to encourage greater democratic participation, devolution of authority, and bilingual education programs.

3.5 Financial Institutions

/////3.5.1 World Bank (WB)
The World Bank recognizes its adverse historic impact on indigenous peoples' lives through its traditional lending practices for colonization programs, road construction, hydro-electric development, resource extraction activities, and lack of consultation with local communities. Scientific evidence has helped to convince the WB of the negative results of much of its work.

Within these streams of criticism the WB has developed alternative strategies to redirect its lending practices in areas concerning indigenous peoples--no longer, for example, does it support major hydro-electric projects. It is addressing issues on indigenous peoples through a) country economic and sector work, b) technical assistance, and c) investment projects components or provisions. Each can involve a variety of sectors, such as agriculture, road construction, forestry, hydropower, mining, tourism, education, and the environment.

The WB participates in inter-agency discussions with other international institutions concerning the development of indigenous peoples. It has permanent technical officers for overall strategy and regional action on a full-time basis. It also provides in-house training for bank personnel involving indigenous professional associations or individuals based in North America or elsewhere. Dialogue and knowledge among the Bank and indigenous peoples is thus encouraged. return to beginning

The WB is responding to the problems experienced in earlier projects. Latin American and Caribbean staff are changing procedures according to WB report #19 for current projects under preparation, to pay more attention to indigenous peoples components. These changes include conducting more detailed baseline studies, setting more explicit conditions for implementation prior to signing loans, and more recently, seeking the cooperation of indigenous organizations and NGOs as active participants in the design of the programs.

The Bank has issued an operational directive as a manual to task managers to exercise judgment in determining to which populations the directive applies. It describes the Bank's policies, and processing procedures for projects that affect indigenous peoples, sets basic definitions, policy objectives, guidelines and processing, and documentation requirements.

The Bank will give priority to poverty alleviation programs with emphasis on projects supporting education, agriculture, health, and women's participation. This will ensure that the development process fosters full respect for the dignity, human rights, and cultural uniqueness of indigenous peoples, and more specifically to ensure that they do not suffer adverse effects from Bank financed projects.

The objective of training is to foster change in the culture of the Bank; it has conducted two training sessions, one on forestry and another on policy matters.

The Bank recognizes the difficult relations that exist between government and indigenous peoples at the national and provincial (or state) levels. Internal contradictions are noticeable from country to country; while positive progress has been achieved on the recognition of peoples at the constitutional level, local practices from regional governments and private corporations are not open to dialogue with indigenous peoples.

The Bank is experiencing important advances in its relationships with indigenous peoples by inviting them to act as implementing project agencies in cooperation with other organizations and extending its dialogue with governments, showing positive signs in Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico, to mention a few examples.

/////3.5.2 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
The Inter-American Development Bank is an international financial institution established in 1959 to help accelerate economic and social development in Latin America, its membership consists of forty-four nation states from Latin America, North America and Western Europe. Its headquarters are based in Washington, DC., USA.

In its twenty-eight years of operation, the Bank has fostered a more equitable distribution of benefits from development, supporting the design of projects to improve the quality of life of the lower income sector of the region's population. Indigenous peoples, however, have not been of concern to the Bank.

The Bank and other international agencies have gained experience in supporting projects that affect directly indigenous peoples. Even though these projects have been intended to benefit indigenous peoples and local populations, often they have seriously threatened their physical and socio-cultural survival, and sometimes have contributed to the extinction of entire groups or the creation of relationships of extreme dependency. The Bank's approach was of a reactive informal nature at first and more recently of a responsive nature providing strategies aimed at eliminating negative factors. return to beginning

The Bank has developed guidelines and strategies for consideration, particularly related to the negative impacts at the environmental sector, socio-cultural issues, with mitigation components in a systematic way to ensure indigenous peoples are considered by the Bank, particularly in projects dealing with land demarcation, hydropower, education, and strengthening of institutions.

The projects supported by the Bank include a fund for social emergencies, small projects support bringing marginalized peoples into the mainstream and major support to the establishment and operation of the Regional Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Bank has provided loans, through its small projects program and the Fund for special operations, to support projects in which indigenous knowledge is a key factor or component.

The Bank also processes all projects through its environmental division, taking into specific consideration the socio-cultural aspects of indigenous peoples in areas of human rights, land tenure, poverty, women and infancy, population, and archaeological and historical heritage.

In the context of the Bank's involvement in the Indigenous Peoples Fund, three technical meetings have been financed to assist in the discussions of its creation and establishment. The Bank continues its support to the Fund and will provide an initial administration cooperation agreement for three years in the amount of $2.5 million.

3.6 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

/////3.6.1 Inter-American Foundation - IAF
The Inter-American Foundation is an independent agency of the US Government created in 1969 as an experimental alternative to establish US. foreign assistance programs benefiting Latin America and the Caribbean. Its objectives are to promote equitable, responsive and participatory approaches to self-help development through awarding grants to local organizations throughout the region.

The IAF is entirely funded by the US Congress and operates in twenty-two countries. Its grants allow requests of technical assistance for rural community development, environmental, and gender concerns, and support participation in conferences for the purposes of sharing knowledge and fostering links.

The IAF's early practices of giving large amounts of money to local communities and organizations with no accountability has been heavily criticized as instrumental in destroying the development process of indigenous peoples in some countries. The Foundation recognizes that many negative effects resulted from its initial inexperienced approach.

The Foundation does not have a specific policy on its relations with indigenous peoples. Its support is largely aimed at community development in rural areas and is not directly concerned with human rights.

Aga Khan, Sadruddin and Hassan bin Talal. Indigenous Peoples: A Global Quest for Justice: A Report for the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues. London: Zed Books, 1987.

Amnesty International. Human Rights Violations Against Indigenous Peoples. New York: Amnesty International, 1992.

Beauclerk, J.J. Narby and J. Townsend. Indigenous Peoples: A Filed Guide for Development. Oxford: Oxfam, 1988.

Brown, Lester R. The State of the World 1993: a Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1993.

Burger, Julian. The Gaia Atlas of First Peoples: a Future for the Indigenous World. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1990.

Clarkson, Linda, Vern Morrisette and Gabriel Regallet. Our Responsibility to the Seventh Generation: Indigenous Peoples and Sustainable Development. Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1992.

Davis, Shelton H., ed. Indigenous Views of Land and the Environment. World Bank Discussion Papers, Washington DC, 1993.

Godland, Robert. Tribal Peoples and Economic Development: Human Ecological Considerations. The World Bank, Washington DC, 1982.

Gray, Andrew. Indigenous Self-Development in the Americas. Copenhagen: International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs, 1989.

Guevara Berger, Marcos, and Rubén Chacón Castro. Territorios indios en Costa Rica: orígenes, situación actual y perspectivas. San José: García Hermanos, 1992.

Mires, Fernando. El discurso de la Indianidad: la cuestion indígena en América Latina. Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-ayala, 1992.

UNESCO Amerindia 1992 Program. Commemoration of the Encounter of Two Worlds 1492- 1992. UNESCO, 1989.

Presencia y significación de los pueblos indígenas de América. Guatemala City: VII Ibero-American Conference of National Commissions for the Commemoration of the Discovery of America--Encounter of Two Worlds, 1989.

Annex 1: Key International Documents
The following documents are listed in order of their appearance here.

United Nations

International Year for the World's Indigenous People (information package). UN Department of Public Information (DPI), 1993.

FAO's Activities in Support of Indigenous People. UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1993.

UNDP and Indigenous and Tribal People. Information from United Nations Development Programme, 1993.

Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Second Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination: Report of the Meeting of Experts to Review the Experience of Countries in the Operation of Schemes of Internal Self-Government for Indigenous Peoples. 48th session of the Commission on Human Rights, UN Economic and Social Council, Nuuk, Greenland, September 1991.

Dr. Mary Anderson. Focusing On Women: UNIFEM's Experience in Mainstreaming. United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), 1993.

UNIFEM Annual Report 1991. UNIFEM,1991.

World's First Children. Excerpted from briefing kit on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, UNICEF, 1991.

ILO Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. International Labour Organization, 1989.

Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank and Indigenous Peoples Issues. IDB, 1993.

Inter-American Development Bank Program for the Financing of Small Projects Directed to Indigenous Groups. IDB, June 1992.

Strategies and Procedures on Socio-Cultural Issues as Related to the Environment. IDB Environmental Committee, June 1990.

Strategies and Procedures for the Interaction Between the Inter-American Development Bank and Nongovernmental Environmental Organizations. IDB Environmental Committee, May 1990.

Microenterprise and the IDB: Credit Where it's Due. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Washington DC.

Ten Years of Small Projects: Bringing the Margin Into the Mainstream. IDB, Washington.

Inter-American Foundation

Grassroots Development--Journal of the Inter-American Foundation (focus on "Native Americans and the Quincentenary") Vol. XVI, No. 2, 1992.

1991 in Review. IAF annual report, 1991.

Organization of American States

Report on the First round of Consultations Concerning the Future Inter-American Legal Instrument on the Rights of Indigenous Populations. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1993.

Inter-American Commission of Women program guidelines for 1994-1995, and information brochure, 1993.

Proposal on the Method for Preparing the Juridical Instrument Relative to Human Rights of Indian People. 80th session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Washington DC, September 1991.

La educación: revista interamericana de desarrollo educativo. No. 98, 1985.

World Bank

Davis, Shelton H., ed. Indigenous Views of Land and the Environment. World Bank Discussion Papers, 1993.

Davis, Shelton H., and Alaka Wali. Indigenous Territories and Tropical Forest Management in Latin America. Policy research working papers, environmental assessments and programs, Environment Department, February 1993.

Davis, Shelton, and Alaka Wali. Protecting Amerindian Lands: A Review of World Bank Experience with Indigenous Land Regularization Programs in Lowland South America. Latin America and the Caribbean Technical Department, Regional Studies Program, Report No. 19, 1992.

Operational Directive 4.20: Indigenous Peoples. World Bank, September 1991.

Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean

What is the Indigenous Peoples Fund? The Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, March 1993.

Updated Information on Indigenous Peoples Fund. February, 1993.

Agreement Establishing the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. Second Summit Meeting of Ibero-American Heads of State, Madrid, July 1992.

Information brochure, July 1991.

Pan-American Health Organization

Coloma, Carlos, and Madeleine Dion Stout. Indigenous Peoples and Health, Background Document for Workshop '93. PAHO, 1993.

Health of Indigenous Peoples. 18th meeting, Subcommittee on Planning and Programming of the Executive Committee of the Directing Council, April 1992. return to beginning