UNPFII 2024 Press Release Is Out

16 April 2024
Indigenous Photo

At Annual Forum, United Nations Issues Call for Closing Financial Gaps for Indigenous Peoples

NEW YORK, 15 April (Department of Global Communications) — The largest global annual gathering of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, commenced its twenty-third session today at UN Headquarters in New York and will run until 26 April 2024.

The proceedings began with a ceremonial welcome by Chief Tadodaho Sid Hill of the Onondaga Nation.  Over 2,000 participants convened at the Forum joined by representatives from the United Nations, including Dennis Francis, President of the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly; Paula Narvaez, President of the Economic and Social Council; and Li Junhua, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Opening the Forum, David Choquehuanca, Vice-President of Bolivia, highlighted the role of Indigenous Peoples in putting the planet first.  “We must transition from an anthropocentric to a biocentric approach to ensure our youth hands over a healthier Mother Earth to the generations to come.  This necessitates redirecting financial resources directly into the hands of Indigenous Peoples, the stewards of our planet’s biodiversity,” he said.

The theme of this year’s global gathering spotlights Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination and voices of Indigenous youth.  A key component in ensuring the right to self-determination is access to financing, to enable Indigenous Peoples to better assert their rights, pursue their economic, social and cultural development and fund their governance structures, as stipulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The elimination of obstacles to financial flows is crucial to ensure direct access to Indigenous Peoples for the implementation of our actions and programmes, to have the ways and means to finance our self-government and to maintain our self-determination,” stressed Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

However, financing for Indigenous Peoples, particularly international climate and development assistance, falls significantly short of their needs.  Although Indigenous Peoples are custodians of 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, funding for their forest tenure rights and management from 2011 to 2020 was less than 1 per cent of international climate aid, with actual receipts likely as low as 0.13 per cent, as funds are often routed through intermediaries.

Lack of investments in Indigenous women and girls remain particularly acute.  The Forum also pressed for special attention on promoting Indigenous women-led initiatives to strengthen their economic rights, further empowering Indigenous women and girls and dispelling harmful stereotypes that reinforce discrimination.

“The contributions of Indigenous women are invaluable to our societies.  We must take action now to ensure they have equal access to finance and support, empowering them to lead and succeed,” urged Sonia Guajajara, Minister for Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.

Complications also arise in collecting and analysing data on donor allocations specifically directed to Indigenous Peoples, particularly when they are conflated with other groups.  The lack of data available underscores the insufficiency in direct funding.

Addressing this issue necessitates the implementation of direct funding mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples and the elimination of bureaucratic obstacles to ensure Indigenous Peoples have the financial autonomy to lead their initiatives.

“We need scaled-up long-term, predictable and direct funding to Indigenous Peoples, including through public, private and Indigenous-led funding mechanisms that effectively engage Indigenous women and youth,” stressed Mr. Li.

Member States, global financial institutions, donors and other financers need to work in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to develop and prioritize strategies to enhance catalytic, concessional and blended financing, alongside defining assessment criteria and benchmarks for supporting Indigenous Peoples’ initiatives.  The Forum also encourages global financial institutions to acknowledge policy and legal milestones, particularly those concerning land and territorial tenure, social representation and economic development.

On the margins of the Forum, the President of the General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting on Wednesday, 17 April, at the General Assembly Hall to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.  This event provides an important platform to reiterate Member States’ commitment to uphold, promote and advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples without compromise.

All sessions can be viewed live on UN Web TV, and interpretation in all six official UN languages will be available.  

For media queries please contact:  Ines Belchior, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, email:; Paulina Kubiak, UN Department of Global Communications, email:

For more information, please visit UNPFII 2024.

Available at: UN press releases.

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