The World Bank, Indigenous Lands, and Development

On October 9, the Indian Law Resource Center hosted a panel discussion to highlight Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and the impacts of development activities financed by the World Bank. The event, “Indigenous Peoples’ Lands and Development: World Bank Interventions and Lessons Learned”, was held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, as part of the Civil Society Forum in conjunction with the World Bank’s Annual Meetings. The panel brought together development and indigenous rights experts to identify key issues regarding indigenous peoples and land, and explore lessons from past World Bank interventions.

The discussion comes at a time when the World Bank is increasing its attention to land access, security of land tenure, and land administration as strategies for development. While land is a critical issue for development, when indigenous peoples’ lands are at issue, development outcomes often depend on the extent to which project design and implementation recognize the unique nature of indigenous peoples’ relationship to the land and their collective ownership rights over their lands and resources. Panelists examined various Bank projects, including World Bank support for demarcation and titling of indigenous territories in Nicaragua to implement the landmark Awas Tingni decision by the Inter-American Court, land and forest interventions in Honduras, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cambodia, as well as ongoing financing for land surveying and registry through the Guatemala Land Administration projects.


Agenda and Panelist Biographies

PowerPoint Presentations: