World's Indigenous Peoples Day

Woman from Indigenous Community

Tell the World Bank to protect indigenous rights

This month we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. While recent years have shown a steady advancement in recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, in August the World Bank adopted a new policy framework that threatens to undermine this progress. At the same time, the Bank has recently decided not to apply the policy in several other projects.

We need you to urge the World Bank to fix the indigenous peoples policy and safeguard indigenous rights!

Decades ago the World Bank was a leader in establishing an Indigenous Peoples safeguard to ensure that the roads and dams and other projects it finances don’t end up evicting indigenous communities or destroying their environment. When the Bank revised its social and environmental policy framework, it added some new positive provisions, such as protections for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, but it also rolled back several key protections.

The new policy:
•    Replaces the legally recognized term “indigenous peoples” with the inappropriate and confusing phrase “Indigenous Peoples/ Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities.”
•    Undermines international standards on free, prior, and informed consent, or FPIC, by defining consent to be merely “an expression of collective support” rather than respecting the results of indigenous peoples’ independent and collective decision-making processes.
•    Restricts the situations in which FPIC is required.
•    Weakens existing requirements that indigenous peoples receive benefits from any commercialization of their lands or resources.
•    Allows the breaking up of indigenous peoples’ collective lands into individual parcels
•    Eliminates the ban on destruction of critical habitats protected by indigenous communities.
•    Erodes the requirement that an Indigenous Peoples Plan be developed together with indigenous communities.

The Bank will now be developing procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the policy. You can use the template below to send a letter to the World Bank president and Board telling them to engage in a good faith dialogue with indigenous peoples representatives, and to fix the policy so it safeguards the rights of indigenous peoples.


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Dear [Decision Maker],