May 15, 2014 marked the fourth day of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Permanent Forum). The afternoon session of the fourth day was dedicated to a comprehensive dialogue with United Nations agencies and funds. Several UN agencies and funds gave statements, as did indigenous representatives.
Of particular note were statements by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the World Bank. The FAO provided an inter-agency statement on behalf of UNEP, IUCN/WISP, IFAD, and ILC regarding sustainable pastoralism and the post-2015 agenda. In that statement, the FAO affirmed that pastoralism is a sustainable livelihood and that two decades of research supported pastoralism as an economically viable livelihood that caused less degradation than intensive livestock production.
In its statement, the IFC highlighted its Sustainability Framework which consists of policies governing the actions of IFC and its clients. It noted that in 2013 it undertook its first assessment of a project applying FPIC pursuant to the Sustainability Framework. In the World Bank’s statement, an update on the review of its safeguard policies was provided. The Bank noted that the main recommendation it had received regarding the review was to bring its policies into full compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and adopt the standard of free, prior and informed consent. Unfortunately, the Bank could only report that these recommendations were being “considered,” and it remains to be seen whether they will be taken seriously.
The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) also provided a statement, calling on the World Bank to continue applying its stand-alone policy for indigenous peoples in Africa despite the concerns of some governments regarding the use of the term “Indigenous.” Additionally, IPACC called for transparency and inclusion regarding the Bank’s development of the so-called “Billion Dollar Map,” which seeks to map the mineral resources of Africa.