Armed with millennia-old knowledge of living in harmony with nature, Indigenous Peoples are stewards of the environment. Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories constitute at least 28 per cent of the global land surface including unique ecosystems and vital biodiversity. 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.

Supporting empowerment: 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 - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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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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DK 1422 Copenhagen
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
CVR: 81294410

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