State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources

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This publication offers a wide-ranging perspective on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources, examining legislation and agreements at the national and international level, identifying successful practices and continued obstacles, and suggesting ways forward. Adopted in 2007, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples positions the right to self-determination and collective rights to lands, territories and resources at its core. Previously two of the most politically charged issues under negotiation, the right to self-determination and the right to natural resources on indigenous lands and territories remain politicized more than 10 years later. Specifically addressed in Articles 25 through 32, indigenous peoples’ relationship to their land, territory and resources is at the heart of their identity, well-being and culture, while preservation of the environment, transmitted through generations of traditional knowledge, is at the centre of their existence. The importance of indigenous knowledge and territorial rights is becoming more widely acknowledged. Moreover, the 2030 Agenda’s integrated approach to economic, environmental and social development within a human rights framework gives space to demonstrate how indigenous stewardship of lands, territories and resources can achieve accelerated action towards implementation of several Sustainable Development Goals.


UN/Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

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