The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a strategy and an operational policy designed to protect the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean and to support their development with identity, empowering their active participation in the development process while respecting their priorities, natural assets and cultural heritage.
“This strategy and policy are the first developed by the IDB to benefit indigenous peoples in a comprehensive and systematic framework. They ensure that consideration of the indigenous issues will be mainstreamed in relevant country strategies and operations across the board,” commented Anne Deruyttere, chief of the IDB Indigenous Peoples and Community Development Unit. “The policy in particular contains specific safeguards regarding the physical, territorial and cultural integrity of indigenous peoples," she added.
The preparation of the strategy and policy benefited from an unprecedented process of consultations with indigenous organizations and draws on the lessons learned from good practice projects the Bank has already supported. Among the requirements of the policy are consultations, good faith negotiations, and, where appropriate, agreement by indigenous communities on the implementation of development projects that may affect them.
The policy stipulates that the rights of indigenous communities to participate in resource management, as well as to receive benefits from these resources, be respected and put into practice as appropriate in each country. The policy provides for mitigation and compensation from the impacts of Bank-financed projects. It also supports indigenous peoples’ governance and their access to economic opportunities, information technology, technical assistance and socio-culturally appropriate social and financial services, with special emphasis on gender equality. The policy and the strategy also support the strengthening of land titling processes and adequate enforcement mechanisms to protect indigenous collective and individual rights. They cover urban, as well as rural, indigenous peoples and contain specific safeguards for those living in transborder areas and noncontacted indigenous peoples or those living in voluntary isolation.
Overall, this new normative framework for the Bank strengthens its commitment to nondiscrimination and socio-culturally appropriate inclusion of indigenous peoples.