International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 Aug, 2021 | Press Releases

Today, we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People as an opportunity to honour indigenous peoples as holders of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems.  

In line with this year’s theme, NPWJ and the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation highlight the importance of creating a new social contract where the perspectives and voices of indigenous peoples are listened to and amplified, where their needs are prioritised and their preferences respected. A vital component of this new social contract should be that indigenous peoples’ participation and involvement in decision-making processes are a fundamental element in the relationship between States and indigenous communities. 

Moreover, a new social contract should consider the choice of their own nutrition as an expression of the fulfilment of their fundamental rights, such as the right to adequate food and access to land. Access to land allows accessing natural resources that are at the core of traditional nutrition, which must be preserved to fulfil indigenous peoples’ right to adequate food from a culturally respectful perspective. Thus, indigenous peoples’ collective right to access land is the foundation for developing sustainable traditional food systems. In this line, the 2021 UN Food Systems Pre-Summit has underlined the importance of indigenous expertise in establishing new guidelines for creating sustainable food systems and achieving the 2030 SDGs.  

Indigenous peoples know how to generate food and livelihood without damaging the environment. However, their food systems are at risk, and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities, disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples. Therefore, this new social contract should be based on genuine participation and partnership that guarantees equal opportunities and respects the rights of all.