Indigenous Peoples Day is official

Indigenous Peoples and Conservation: WWF Policy Statement

Indigenous peoples inhabit nearly twenty percent of our planet, mostly in areas where they have been resident for thousands of years. Indigenous peoples are among the most important preservers of the earth. This is expressed in the high degree of correspondence between the territories of indigenous peoples and the areas of great biodiversity that still remain today.

The WWF has been working with many indigenous peoples and their organizations for five decades: in the management of nature reserves, in the sustainable use of natural resources and in the representation of political interests when it comes to common concerns.

Initiatives in all regions of the world

Initiatives of this kind exist, for example, with theCandoshi andAchuar in Peru, theMapuche in Chile, theAwa and Embera in Colombia, theYup’ik and Chu’pik in Alaska, theInuit in Canada, theEvenkin Siberia, theSan in Namibia, theBagyeli in Cameroon, the Karen in Thailand, theRaiLumba and Sherpas in Nepal, theDayak peoples on Borneo, theSibuyan Mangyan Tababukid in the Philippines, a number of peoples in New Guinea and the South Pacific, and a large number of other peoples worldwide. The WWF is currently working with indigenous peoples in all regions of the world, in Europe, South, Central and North America, Asia, the Pacific and Africa. 

The WWF policy statement on indigenous peoples and nature conservation was first developed in 1996. The WWF was the first large environmental protection organization with an officially adopted declaration of principle in which the rights of indigenous peoples are recognized. With this commitment, we wanted to eliminate the earlier erosion of the rights of indigenous peoples and take appropriate measures to ensure that our nature conservation measures do not lead to any further impairment of these rights. Other reasons for this were the invaluable contribution of indigenous peoples to the preservation of many of the world's most fragile ecosystems, including ours Belief that partnership with indigenous peoples is fundamental to achieving our conservation goals

Scientific studies support the WWF principles

Since 1996, WWF has endeavored to regularly learn from the experience of working with indigenous peoples and to share information and knowledge with a wider public. In 2000 the WWF published a series of case studies under the titleIndigenous Peoples and Conservation Organizations: Experiences in Collaboration (Indigenous peoples and nature conservation organizations: experiences from cooperation).

The report also published in 2000 by WWF and TerralinguaIndigenous and Traditional Peoples of the World and Ecoregion Conservation (Indigenous and traditional peoples of the world and protection of ecoregions) emphasizes the close interlinking of priority nature conservation regions with the areas of indigenous and traditional peoples.

The study was published in 2007Strengthening WWF Partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (Strengthening the partnership between WWF with indigenous peoples and local communities) with recommendations that include a reaffirmation of the guiding principles of our policies and measures to strengthen their implementation and monitoring. This new edition of the WWF Declaration of Principles takes into account new developments in international standards and reaffirms our commitment to this policy and its consistent implementation in the entire programmatic work of the WWF.

WWF principles are essential for fair and effective nature conservation

In addition, based on its reviews and experience, WWF is stepping up the application and monitoring of these principles. To this end, we are expanding our capacities on an international and national level and have issued new guidelines for the application of the principles as part of our program management standards. In view of the expected significant growth and further development of institutions and representations of indigenous peoples, the WWF will continue and expand its partnership with these organizations at local, national, regional and international level.

We are convinced that the principles presented here are essential for the fair and effective fulfillment of our nature conservation goals. We are also aware that we as an organization are constantly learning and that this position will also need to be updated in the future. We therefore expressly welcome comments and criticism from the readers of this declaration in order to continuously improve our concept and our contribution in this area.

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