25 November, 2017
27 Mar 12

Indigenous Peoples  Contributions to Sustainable  Development

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IPs Contributions to SDIndigenous peoples' statement, Dialogue with Executive Coordinators, 26 March 2012, during the First Round of Informal Informal Negotiations of the Zero Draft of the Outcome Document.


"Walking to the future in the footsteps of our ancestors"


Indigenous Peoples commit to these fundamental requirements of sustainable development.

1. Strengthening culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development

The greatest wealth is nature’s diversity and its associated cultural diversity, both of which are intimately connected and which should be protected in the same way. Cultures are ways of being and  living with nature, underpinning our values, moral and ethical choices and our actions.

Indigenous Peoples’ traditional practices embodied in Sumak Kawsay and Buen Vivir exemplify the balanced living required to address contemporary global problems.

We are committed to renewing and revitalizing our spiritual traditions, cosmovisions and cultural practices of living in harmony with nature,  and strengthening culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development.

2. Full Exercise of our human and collective rights

Sustainable development is realized through the full exercise and fulfillment of human rights. Indigenous Peoples see sustainable development and self-determination as two sides of the same coin.  Progress in various countries has happened to the extent that States have fulfilled their duties to respect, protect and promote our human rights, while conflicts have escalated where governments have imposed top-down development, whether labeled “sustainable”, “pro-poor” or “green”.  Sustainable human development means incorporating the perspective of human and collective rights in the elaboration, design, discussion, approval, and implementation of all programmes, plans and projects regarding sustainable development at all levels. 

Sustainable development indicators must be linked to social and ecological equity and justice, and the advancement of economic, social and cultural rights.

3. Strengthening diverse local economies and territorial management

For Indigenous Peoples, self determination is the basis for Sumak Kawsay good living, and this is realised through territorial management and the the building of vibrant community economies.  These local economies provide sustainable local livelihoods, community solidarity and are critical components of resilient ecosystems.

Diverse local economies are indigenous peoples’ vital contributions to the 21st century “green economy” sponsored by States.

We will continue to strengthen and  defend our economies and rights to our lands, territories and resources, and associated customary management and sustainable use systems against extractive industries, predatory investments, landgrabbing and unsustainable development.

We enjoin governments to respect and support our efforts.