Armed with millennia-old knowledge of living in harmony with nature, Indigenous Peoples are stewards of the environment. Their vast territories preserve 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity and at least 24% of carbon stored above ground in the world’s tropical forests. Despite their environmental stewardship, Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately affected by climate change due to such ramifications as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts, forest fires and coastal erosion. Furthermore, they are increasingly negatively impacted by top-down climate actions on their lands and territories.

For too long, the important voices of Indigenous Peoples have not been heard and their land, territory and resource rights have been ignored at international fora where vital decisions are taken regarding the future of our planet. In recent years, this has started to change and Indigenous Peoples have achieved increasing recognition for the vital role played by their world views, values, knowledge and, above all, customary laws and governance systems in ensuring the sustainable use and management of their land, territories and resources. In fact, an emerging consensus recognises that respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights is one of the most effective means in the fight against climate change. Despite this, Indigenous Peoples’ rights continue to be violated in global climate action.

In recognition of these challenges, IWGIA’s climate change work strives to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are respected in climate action, further climate change impacts are avoided and Indigenous Peoples themselves are respected as key actors in claiming their rights and as key contributors of climate solutions, implementing their vast knowledge of biodiversity and sustainable nature resource management. Our focus for the next five years will primarily be on contributing to, advising and supporting Indigenous Peoples’ advocacy in the following three areas: at the national level in targeted countries, at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and within the Green Climate Fund (GCF).


Documenting: We will analyse, document and publicise the contributions Indigenous Peoples’ make in the fight against climate change, as well as the impact climate change has on Indigenous women, men and youth. We will also document and publicise violations of their rights, including violations to their lands, territories and resources, due to top-down mitigation and adaptation efforts. Our publications, documentary films and podcasts will be used in our advocacy work – disseminated in English, Spanish and Indigenous languages – to hold violators to account.

Advocating: At the UNFCCC, we will focus on the full and effective operationalisation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform and its Facilitative Working Group. We will support the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change and their advocacy in key negotiations and processes, including the Global Stocktake in 2023. Likewise, within the GCF, we will advance operationalisation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Advocacy Group, advocate for full compliance with the Indigenous Peoples’ Policy and use, and monitor the effectiveness of, the Independent Redress Mechanism.

Empowering: We will collaborate with our partners for their full and effective participation in national climate policy formulation and implementation. We will stand alongside our partners as they advocate for, and monitor the compliance of, Indigenous Peoples’ rights safeguards in the implementation of states’ nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, as well as in the implementation of GCF-funded projects. Based on our extensive experience from the UNFCCC, we will amplify and support our partners’ advocacy for the establishment of local and national Indigenous Peoples’ climate platforms.

  • IWGIA’s reaction to the outcome of COP26

    IWGIA’s reaction to the outcome of COP26 COP26 was attended by more lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry than representatives of Indigenous Peoples.

  • Press Release: Statement on the outcome of COP26

    IWGIA press statement on the outcome of COP26 13 November 2021

  • IWGIA and AIPP submit a statement to the UNFCCC

    Indigenous Peoples call for climate action amidst global pandemic

    In September 2020 the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) presented a joint submission to the UNFCCC calling for the full consideration and engagement of Indigenous Peoples’ in climate action. Indigenous Peoples are concerned by the fact...

  • Indigenous peoples commit to climate action at UNSG Climate Action Summit

    At the UNSG Climate Action Summit, indigenous peoples gave a statement on their commitments to climate action. IWGIA supports the statement and proposed climate actions, and we call for the international community to support indigenous peoples and their pledges by taking a rights-based approach to...

  • Indigenous peoples raise concerns at UN Climate Meeting in Abu Dhabi

    Despite being a small group of only eight people among the more than 1,000 participants at the UN Climate Meeting in Abu Dhabi in June, indigenous peoples were able to have their voices heard and put indigenous peoples’ rights on the agenda.

  • Do indigenous peoples hold the key to saving Myanmar’s remaining forest?

    Myanmar has some of the largest remaining forest areas in Asia, but also some of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Increased focus on the role of indigenous peoples’ rights and use of their knowledge through initiatives like REDD+ is essential for saving the forests and reducing CO2...

  • Indigenous peoples are some of the most affected by climate change

    Climate Change and indigenous peoples

    Indigenous peoples are some of the most affected by climate change. It is therefore extremely important that The Paris Agreement recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples in its preamble and that indigenous communities are included in relevant processes. This page collects some of the most...

  • UNFCCC: Update from Bonn Climate Change Conference

    From 4-15 June, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convened in Bonn, Germany. Indigenous representatives from around the world followed the negotiations and lobbied government delegations for greater inclusion, and respect for their rights and...

  • UNFCCC: The road towards COP 20 in Lima

    During the recent UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Bonn (June 4-15), the Peruvian government delegation expressed a clear commitment to facilitate indigenous peoples’ participation in the upcoming COP 20.

  • COP 20: National organisations question single indigenous participation

    Peruvian government carries on with “greenwashing plan” leading towards the COP 20. The Unity Pact of Indigenous Organizations of Peru questioned the allocation of a single indigenous participation space in the National Climate Change Commission (NCCC).

  • UN Special mandate-holders: Respect human rights in Climate Change negotiations

    This week, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action is meeting in Bonn. On this occasion, the Special Procedures mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, in an open letter, call upon States to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights for all in all climate...

  • UNFCCC: Indigenous peoples' key demands for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

    Indigenous peoples representatives from all over the world have been following the negotiations of the forthcoming global climate change agreement, which will be adopted by the UN at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris at the end of the year. On October 17, indigenous peoples together...

  • Cop 17: Implement safeguards on REDD Plus, indigenous caucus demands

    The recognition of rights, including rights to land, territories and resources, and Free, Prior Informed Consent is crucial for indigenous peoples as this will rectify the violation of their rights in the implementation of climate change solutions.

  • COP 17: Political will needed now!

    Press statement: POLITICAL WILL NEEDED NOW! Indigenous networks call on states-parties to act decisively in Durban 5 DECEMBER (Durban, South Africa) - Governments present in Durban continue to display lack of political will to move the Durban Climate Talks forward.

  • Indigenous peoples are key in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

    Why is climate change not only an environmental issue? This was the focus of a panel debate IWGIA and Forests of the World organized at the Danish Parliament last week. The objective was to pave the way for the upcoming discussions at COP22 in Morocco and reflect on Denmark’s commitments to ensure...

  • Ensure the full recognition of our rights in a Cancun climate decision

    The Indigenous Peoples’ Network on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (IPCSSD) welcomes the document (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/CRP.3) which was released today. We welcome the inclusion of paragraphs 7 and 8 which recognize the need for effective participation of indigenous peoples and fully...

  • Opening Statement by the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change

    16th Conference of the Parties, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Cancun, Mexico, 29 November to 10 December 2010 Opening Statement by the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, November 29th, 2010 Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the World held a...

  • COP 17: Preventing Kyoto Protocol Burial

    Ben Powless of the Indigenous Environmental network presented the following statement: "Thank you Mr. Chair, I speak to you on behalf of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change. We recognize that the Kyoto Protocol is the only legally binding international instrument we have...

  • NGOs: Climate initiatives must not include large hydropower projects

    Paris, 3 December 2015 In a global manifesto released today, a coalition of more than 300 civil society organizations from 53 countries called on governments and financiers at the Paris climate talks to keep large hydropower projects out of climate initiatives such as the Clean Development...

  • Indigenous peoples are recognised by the world's biggest climate fund

    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (WGIA) and Denmark have long pushed for the adoption of a “GCF Indigenous Peoples Policy” in the Green Climate Fund, that every year allocates billions of dollars to climate projects. Just recently this policy was finally approved. “This is an...

  • Thematic Focus 3/2006: Logging and indigenous peoples

    IWGIA has just published a thematic issue of our journal "Indigenous Affairs" focussing on logging. We bring articles documenting the threats of logging to the livelihoods of indigenous peoples as well as examples of innovative approaches that seek to respect the rights of indigenous peoples. The...



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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