Indigenous Peoples Call on UN to Improve World Bank Policies

15 May 2012

New York, New York -- Today, the Indian Law Resource Center called on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to engage with the World Bank regarding its impacts on indigenous peoples. The statement was delivered by Senior Staff Attorney Leonardo Crippa during the Permanent Forum’s 11th Session in New York City, and stresses the need to strengthen the Bank’s safeguard policies relating to local indigenous communities.

The World Bank has a far-reaching impact on indigenous peoples throughout the world through its financing of projects and policy reforms - from land management reforms to construction of large dams and roads. Though the Bank is a UN specialized agency, its policies regarding indigenous peoples are not currently adequate to ensure that indigenous rights are protected, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Permanent Forum, as the UN body in charge of implementing the UN Declaration within UN agencies, has an important role to play in urging and assisting the Bank with raising its standards and improving its conduct with local indigenous communities.

The statement issued today reiterates a recommendation by the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus for a focal discussion on the Bank’s impacts on indigenous peoples, and calls on the Permanent Forum to engage with the World Bank throughout an upcoming review of its safeguard policies. The statement was fully supported by the Mexico and Central and South America Indigenous Caucus as well as the Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus.