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Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples comprise less than 5% of the world’s population but represent about 15% of the world’s poor and remain especially vulnerable to displacement, violence and human rights abuses.

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Who are Indigenous Peoples?

There are 476.6 million indigenous peoples globally, of which 238.4 million are women and 238.2 million men, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In countries such as Bolivia and Guatemala, indigenous peoples represent the majority or a significant majority of people, while in others, such as Finland and Canada, they represent small minorities. Some countries contain hundreds of distinct peoples and language groups, while others contain only a few major groupings.

Indigenous peoples have the same rights as the rest of the populations, however, they also have specific rights because of their particular historical, cultural and social characteristics. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples outline these specific rights and provide for individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples in a comprehensive manner. Indigenous peoples’ rights are not “special rights”, but are articulations of universal human rights as they apply to indigenous peoples.

One of the key standards for State institutions under international instruments is to ensure that no decision affecting indigenous peoples is taken without consulting them, with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Although various interpretations of FPIC among Governments and indigenous peoples can cause practical challenges (particularly with respect to issues of land and resource rights and cultural heritage), the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted is firmly established under international law.

What is the Dilemma?

The dilemma for business is how to pursue profitable activities that have an inherently significant physical, social or cultural impact without undermining the rights of indigenous peoples. The challenge is compounded when working in countries with poor legal protections for indigenous peoples that often drive the widespread occurrence of indigenous land rights conflicts. In these instances, companies may find themselves linked to indigenous rights violations, perhaps due to poor standards of consultation as outlined under national laws or operating in indigenous territories that have not been recognized by the State or local governments.

For example, resource extraction may be located in areas where the rights of indigenous peoples have not been fully documented or recognized. Such high-impact activities are likely to infringe on the rights of indigenous peoples, including their right to traditional lands, or negatively affect their livelihoods or way of life by impeding their access to resources such as water, or to areas of cultural and spiritual significance. Poor management of resource extraction can also lead to severe consequences for the right to health, for example in the mismanagement of tailings disposal.

Prevalence of Violations of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Based on data available for 23 countries representing 83% of the global indigenous population, the ILO found that indigenous peoples constitute 9.3% of the population in these countries but almost 19% of the extreme poor. The UN has also reported that as many as 33% of all people living in extreme rural poverty globally are from indigenous communities, despite the fact that natural resources are often found within indigenous territories.

Key trends include:

  • The ILO report found that the quality of indigenous peoples’ employment is often poor. Indigenous peoples are 20% more likely to be in the informal economy than non-indigenous peoples and are considerably less likely to be in salaried and wage work.
  • Additionally, according to ILO, indigenous women are less likely to be employed as national income levels rise. In upper middle-income countries, indigenous women have less chance of being employed compared to their non-indigenous counterparts with just 52.1% of indigenous women in employment.
  • Increasing economic development is exacerbating the situation for many indigenous communities, who face forced displacement and land grabs. The UN has found that the situation for indigenous human rights defenders is deteriorating, with increased attacks and criminalization. Opposition from organized indigenous groups and activist networks can in turn have serious operational or reputational impacts on business (see ‘Impacts on Businesses’).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on indigenous peoples. A joint report by the ILO and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) identified that pre-existing barriers in access to health, social security and education are fueling disproportional impacts of the pandemic on indigenous peoples. The report also found a rise in food insecurity, related to a lack of access to land and natural resources and the loss of livelihoods.
  • The ILO finds that indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of environmental destruction, climate change and to the impacts of mitigation and adaptation measures that exclude them. There is growing acknowledgement of indigenous peoples as key agents of change for climate action and for ensuring a just transition for all. This was reflected at COP15, where the contributions of indigenous peoples to biodiversity protection were recognised.
  • Additionally, in the last decade, indigenous issues have been receiving higher levels of visibility at the international level, including through mechanisms such as the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has also been supported by most States.

Impacts on Businesses

Businesses can be impacted by allegations of violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in their operations and supply chains in multiple ways:

  • Legal risk: Companies found to be complicit in indigenous peoples’ rights violations in countries with well-established legislation and effective enforcement are likely to face serious legal repercussions. Failure to sufficiently comply with standards of consultation with indigenous groups can carry litigation risks. Legal risks are further exacerbated if linked to serious abuses of indigenous groups and environmental degradation.
  • Operational risk: Companies involved in projects that do not sufficiently address indigenous grievances may face operational disruptions in the form of blockades or other forms of boycott. Cases of indigenous communities leading blockades have in the past resulted in workers being unable to access work sites. In extreme examples, blockades and protests have resulted in a moratorium on proposed projects — as can be seen in the Baram River dam project in Sarawak, Malaysia. In another high-profile case, increasing media scrutiny and indigenous activism on the Juukan Gorge caves incident, in Australia, have resulted in the cessation of mining activity and the resignation of the responsible company’s CEO, Chairman and other senior executives.
  • Reputational and brand risk: Companies may face reputational damage if they are found to be linked to instances of indigenous rights violations. Indigenous groups and civil society groups that campaign on their behalf have been successful at shining a spotlight on corporate complicity in human rights abuses. This often results in severe reputational consequences, negative media coverage and brand contamination.
  • Financial risk: Scrutiny arising out of activist campaigns or negative press coverage of companies found to be involved in infringements of indigenous peoples’ rights can result in shareholder or investor pressure. Divestment and/or avoidance by investors and finance providers (many of which are increasingly applying environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to their decision-making) can result in reduced or more expensive access to capital.

Impacts on Human Rights

Restrictions to indigenous peoples’ rights have the potential to impact a range of human rights,[1] including but not limited to:

  • Right to self-determination (UNDRIP, Article 3; ICCPRICESCR, Article 1): Indigenous peoples should be able to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development. However, they are often not able to participate fully in public life and are rarely pivotal in decision-making bodies of the State or senior levels of Government. Indigenous peoples have far less political leverage than other groups of society.
  • Right to enjoy equality and non-discrimination (UNDRIP, Article 2; ILO Convention 169, Articles 3, 21 and 26): Indigenous peoples (particularly indigenous women) are often discriminated in their access to employment, education and vocational training.
  • Right to be secure in subsistence and development (UNDRIP, Article 20): Indigenous peoples’ lands have been disproportionately affected by development activities because they often contain valuable natural resources including timber, minerals, biodiversity resources, water and oil. Land and resource issues are often at the crux of tensions between indigenous communities and the general population.
  • Right to traditional lands, territories and resources (UNDRIP, Article 26; ILO Convention 169, Articles 5, 14 and 15): Lands and territories have material, cultural and spiritual dimensions for indigenous peoples. They are required for their survival and economic sustainability and are intrinsically linked to the identity and existence of communities. The social, cultural, religious and spiritual values and practices of indigenous peoples should be recognized and protected.
  • Right to conservation and protection of environment and productive capacity of lands, territories and resources (UNDRIP, Article 29): Many indigenous peoples are highly dependent on their lands and natural resources and any changes to the ecosystem may impact their way of life and survival. Environmental degradation can result in serious impoverishment in indigenous communities due to their strong reliance on the local ecosystem for their livelihoods.
  • Right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for development (UNDRIP, Articles 20, 23 and 32; ILO Convention 169, Articles 7 and 16): Indigenous peoples should have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or use.
  • Right to retain own customs and institutions (UNDRIP, Articles 5, 8 and 11; ILO Convention 169, Articles 8 and 9): Where the customs and traditions of indigenous peoples are not incompatible with fundamental rights defined by the national legal system and with internationally recognized human rights, these should be protected and procedures should be established to resolve related conflicts.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, based on the central principle of ‘leave no one behind’, directly references indigenous peoples in two SDG targets. Many of the SDGs and associated targets are relevant for indigenous peoples’ rights, even if they are not explicitly mentioned. For instance, the following goals are of particular relevance to indigenous peoples:

  • Goal 5 (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”)
  • Goal 10 (“Reduce inequality within and among countries”)
  • Goal 14 (“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”)
  • Goal 15 (“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”)

In addition, the two SDG targets which explicitly reference indigenous peoples:

  • Goal 2 (“End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”), Target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
  • Goal 4 (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), Target 4.5: By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations

Key Resources

The following resources provide further information on how businesses can identify and address violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in their operations and supply chains:

  • United Nations Global Compact, A Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This is a valuable resource for businesses to understand, respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), The Australian Business Guide to Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide is specifically targeted to Australian businesses with the GCNA having collaborated with the Indigenous Australian community. It provides practical advice about how executives and companies can understand, respect and embed the rights of Indigenous Australians into their daily operations.
  • ILO, Understanding the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention: This guide is a practical tool for ILO Constituents, including workers’ and employers’ organizations, to better understand the relevance, scope and implications of ILO Convention No. 169.
  1. By introducing the due diligence-based corporate responsibility to respect human rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) shift the focus from impacts on businesses to impacts on human rights. Further information on the UNGPs is included in section ‘Due Diligence Considerations’.

Definition & Legal Instruments


There is no single definition of indigenous peoples adopted at the international level. ILO Convention No. 169 provides subjective and objective criteria for identifying indigenous peoples. Self-identification is the sole subjective criteria, considered as fundamental, whereas the prescribed objective criteria are as follows:

  • Indigenous peoples:
    • Descend from populations who inhabited the country or geographical region at the time of conquest, colonization or establishment of present state boundaries;
    • Retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, irrespective of their legal status.
  • Tribal peoples:
    • Their social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community.
    • Their status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations.

In the African context, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) issued an advisory opinion in 2007 on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The ACHPR emphasized that indigenous peoples had a special attachment to and use of traditional lands and a state of subjugation, marginalization, dispossession, exclusion and discrimination due to their different culture, way of life and livelihoods. This opinion assigned comparatively less weight to the association of indigeneity with descent from the ‘first inhabitants’, because as the ACHPR stated, on these grounds and in the African context, most Africans consider themselves indigenous.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

According to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is a manifestation of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determine their political, social, economic and cultural priorities. It consists of three interrelated and cumulative rights of indigenous peoples:

  • The right to be consulted;
  • The right to participate; and
  • The right to their lands, territories and resources.

While States’ interpretations of FPIC vary, the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted is firmly established under international law. The UNDRIP states that governments should obtain the FPIC of indigenous peoples for development projects. Governments should also provide redress when indigenous cultural, intellectual property or genetic resources are taken without consent. Although ILO Convention No. 169 does not specifically contain the terminology of “free, prior and informed consent”, elements of consent requirements are present and do not preclude a substantive free, prior and informed consent-driven approach.

The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) has also stated that with regard to the right of consultation:

  • Consultations must be formal, full and exercised in good faith; there must be a genuine dialogue between Governments and indigenous and tribal peoples characterized by communication and understanding, mutual respect, good faith and the sincere wish to reach a common accord;
  • Appropriate procedural mechanisms have to be put in place at the national level and they have to be in a form appropriate to the circumstances;
  • Consultations have to be undertaken through indigenous and tribal peoples’ institutions; and
  • Consultations have to be undertaken with the objective of reaching agreement or consent to the proposed measures.

Legal Instruments

An ILO convention and a UN declaration form the international legal framework on indigenous peoples’ rights and are used by most countries that recognize indigenous peoples’ rights as guidance to their own national laws. These conventions outline rights specific to indigenous peoples and serve as a framework for indigenous and tribal empowerment.

To date, just over 20 countries have ratified ILO Convention No. 169. The Convention is legally binding upon the States that have ratified it and concrete steps need to be taken by them to ensure that their obligations under the Convention are effectively implemented at the national level. However, in many countries, there are still considerable challenges in terms of applying the Convention in law and practice, particularly regarding the right to consultation.

The UNDRIP, a non-binding instrument, is supported by most States and was adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007. The UNDRIP establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.

Other Legal Instruments

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) set the global standard regarding the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights in their operations and across their value chains. The Guiding Principles call upon States to consider a smart mix of measures — national and international, mandatory and voluntary — to foster business respect for human rights. Businesses should consider the UNGPs in their operational and supply chain decisions, and when following national legislation.

Regional and domestic legislation

Companies are increasingly subject to non-financial reporting requirements and due diligence obligations in the jurisdictions in which they operate, which often include disclosures on their performance. There are several high-profile examples of national legislation that specifically mandate human rights-related reporting and other positive legal duties, such as due diligence, including the United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act 2015Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010, the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law 2017, the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains 2023 and the Norwegian Transparency Act 2022.

Also, in 2021 the Netherlands submitted a Bill for Responsible and Sustainable International Business Conduct, and the European Commission announced its Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). This Directive is likely to come into force between 2025 and 2027 and will make human rights and environmental due diligence mandatory for larger companies.

These mandatory due diligence and disclosure laws require companies to publicly communicate their efforts to address actual and potential human rights impacts, including violations in relation to freedom of association. Failure to comply with these obligations leads to real legal risk for companies.

The Canada-United States-Mexico- Agreement (CUSMA) entered into force in July 2020. It seeks to address 21st century trade issues and promote trade opportunities, by increasing engagement with Indigenous peoples in trade and investment to ensure their interests are reflected.

Contextual Risk Factors

Several underlying factors drive indigenous rights violations, including the following:

  • Inadequate legal framework and weak government policy offer poor protections for indigenous peoples. Some countries fail to recognize indigenous identity altogether or ignore specific indigenous concerns or ways of life, leading to infringements on indigenous rights. Even in countries where there are specific legislative protections, they may be inadequate in that they recognize some aspects of indigenous rights but not others. The absence of regulations to implement consultations with indigenous peoples in development projects that take place in traditional lands, for instance, has legal implications for private sector actors operating in countries that have ratified ILO Convention No. 169.
  • Weak enforcement of indigenous rights laws due to a poor understanding of these laws and indigenous cultures, inadequate training or resources, and conflicting economic and political priorities. High levels of corruption may also contribute to indigenous rights violations, for example, in issuing land permits in traditional indigenous areas. In addition, a lack of understanding of indigenous peoples’ rights among various stakeholders, including local or national policymakers, the wider public and private sector actors, contributes to ongoing prejudice and discrimination against indigenous communities. For instance, deep-rooted and widespread marginalization faced by indigenous peoples is a key factor behind the disproportionately high number of indigenous peoples in custody in some countries.
  • Failure to comply with the duty to consult indigenous peoples is another key risk factor. While countries may recognize some aspects of indigenous rights, specific laws that guarantee the right to be consulted with are not widespread. Consultations with indigenous peoples should take place through appropriate procedures that foster a climate of mutual trust. Engagement must ensure that indigenous peoples have all the relevant information and sufficient time to allow them to engage their own decision-making processes and participate effectively in decisions taken, in a manner consistent with their cultural and social traditions. Without such guarantees, there is a higher risk of indigenous rights violations.
  • Conflicting priorities between disparate local community stakeholders run the risk of strengthening existing tensions or antagonizing portions of the population. In many cases, local communities may consist of both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Differing priorities between competing groups, for example on infrastructure projects, have the potential to result in conflict if not managed carefully by companies.
  • Poor environment for land rights where traditional indigenous lands are poorly documented and/or ambiguous. Insecure land tenure due to lack of recognition of indigenous traditional land tenure, land grabbing and forced displacement, or lack of clear land titles increase the risk of land conflict.
  • A poor environment for civil and political rights can also threaten indigenous rights. The risk of indigenous rights violations tends to be higher in repressive countries where, for example, the civic space is shrinking and indigenous human rights and environment defenders face reprisals and retaliation. In some countries, socio-environmental conflicts may result in abuses by security forces or the militarization of indigenous territories.
  • Lack of institutional culture or specialist skills within businesses may hinder meaningful relationships with indigenous groups. Establishing effective engagement may be even more challenging given a wide range of indigenous governance structures.

Industry-specific Risk Factors

While challenges to protecting or securing indigenous peoples’ rights are present in many industries, the following sectors present particularly significant levels of risk: agriculture/agribusiness, infrastructure and extractives, which are outlined in detail below. However, indigenous peoples are also impacted by other sectors, including tourism and travel. To identify potential risk factors for other industries, companies can access the CSR Risk Check.


According to the UN, indigenous peoples are particularly impacted by large-scale agriculture development projects that are implemented without their free, prior and informed consent.

Agriculture-specific risk factors include the following:

  • Encroachment onto indigenous land: As a land-intensive industry, agricultural or agribusiness development projects have the potential to encroach on indigenous land. Failure to understand indigenous-specific rights, such as their rights over their traditional lands and territories, or the principle of FPIC, is common, particularly when operating in countries with poor indigenous rights’ protections or legal standards.
  • Remoteness of projects: Projects often take place in remote or low governance areas. Due to the geographical isolation of many indigenous areas, it is often difficult for indigenous peoples to access justice or remedy when confronted with abuses of their human rights, such as illegal encroaching, land grabbing or forced displacement.
  • Subsidies: High export subsidies and domestic support provided to agribusiness corporations have resulted in the loss of livelihoods for many indigenous communities. For example, the UN notes that indigenous corn producers in Mexico have experienced the loss of livelihood due to the dumping of cheap, highly subsidized corn from the USA.

Helpful Resources

  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), How To Do: Seeking Free, Prior and Informed Consent in IFAD Investment Projects: This resource was developed by UN agency IFAD to provide agricultural sector companies with ideas on how to obtain FPIC from local communities.
  • OECD-FAO, Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains: This guidance provides a common framework to help agri-businesses and investors support sustainable development, including a specific section on how to engage with indigenous communities in support of this goal.
  • UN-FAO, Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests: These guidelines can be used by the private sector to assess tenure governance, including that of indigenous land, and how to identify improvements and apply them.
  • Fairtrade International, Guide for Smallholder Farmer Organisations – Implementing Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD): This guidance was developed to provide advice and tools on HREDD for farmer organisations to implement. It includes risk assessment indicators developed to address specific concerns faced by indigenous peoples.


The UN reports that mega infrastructure projects such as large dams have disproportionately impacted indigenous peoples. Large hydropower dams, road and rail infrastructure and power lines have resulted in the loss of indigenous land and livelihood, cultural loss and human rights abuses.

Infrastructure-specific risk factors include the following:

  • Drive for clean or renewable energy: The push for clean or renewable energy has been reported to drive human rights violations, including against indigenous peoples. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre states that following an increase in investment in renewable energy in the aftermath of the Paris climate agreement and the launch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, allegations of human rights abuses linked to renewable projects have been rising. Inadequate human rights due diligence and impact assessment procedures are behind many such allegations. For example, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre reported that nearly a quarter (24%) of abuses against social rights and livelihoods in Mexico are linked to the solar industry.
  • Health risks: Hydroelectric projects have been linked to serious health risks, negatively impacting indigenous communities living in proximity to such developments. A 2016 Harvard study found that when dams are built for hydroelectric projects, naturally occurring mercury in soils is converted into methylmercury, a toxin linked to deterioration in water quality. This water pollution is then linked to serious health risks such as cardiovascular disease and neurodevelopmental delays in children.
  • Safety concerns: Infrastructure projects have also been linked to other safety concerns. For example, Minority Rights Group reported that in 2018, water released from a hydroelectric project on the river Doyang in Nagaland, India, flooded 10,000 hectares and affected thousands of people, many of whom were indigenous, by destroying their houses, factories and fields. Hydroelectric projects have also been linked to landslides.
  • Road projects: New road construction projects have also been linked to indigenous rights violations. The Trans-Papua Highway project, a 2,700-mile road network built across West Papua in Indonesia is one such example. The massive infrastructure project is a key driver of ongoing conflict and deforestation, with no consultation held with indigenous Papuan groups. Civil society groups reported that the infrastructure project is unlikely to benefit indigenous Papuans, but instead threatens their economic well-being.

Helpful Resources

  • Hydropower Sustainability, Guidelines on Good International Practice: These guidelines define performance expectations for hydropower projects. They provide assessment and management criteria specific to hydropower projects involving indigenous peoples.
  • Indigenous Peoples Major Group, Sustainable Energy and Indigenous Peoples: This report examines the relation between SDG7 on ensuring access to sustainable energy and indigenous peoples’ rights. It also looks at international human rights law and the UN Guiding Principles as key guidance for sustainable energy producers.
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Investor Briefing: Renewable Energy Impacts on Communities: This briefing sets out how investors can manage their human rights risks and responsibilities related to their investments in renewable energy. It also outlines specific steps investors can take to manage these risks prior to and during investment.
  • OHCHR, The Other Infrastructure Gap: Sustainability: This report analyses the potential gains from integrating human rights and environmental dimensions of sustainability explicitly within mega-infrastructure plans and projects, as well as the cost of failing to do so, drawing from project experience in the energy, transportation and water sectors.

Mining and the Extractives Industry

The extractives sector has frequently been linked to indigenous rights violations. High-profile cases have seen egregious human rights violations, including the use of lethal force or targeted killings of indigenous activists or human rights defenders. Forced displacement of indigenous communities has resulted in prolonged conflict and societal upheaval.

Extractives-specific risk factors include the following:

  • Cultural rights impacted: Since mining operations are often located in or close to indigenous lands, they have the potential to impact the cultural rights of indigenous peoples — see case study on Rio Tinto and Juukan Gorge.
  • Mining waste: Improper management or disposal of mining waste has led to contamination of water, livelihood destruction and displacement of indigenous communities. Structural issues with tailings dams (e.g. collapses) disproportionately impact indigenous communities who then face the worst effects of environmental damage and degradation of lands that are necessary for their material or cultural survival.
  • Water use: The vast amount of water required in mining operations may result in water shortages faced by indigenous communities and affect their livelihoods, including their own agriculture. Lithium mining operations in Chile’s Atacama Desert, for example, have negatively impacted indigenous peoples’ customs and farming. Similar to land, water may have spiritual and cultural value to indigenous peoples. As a result, the industry’s heavy reliance on water may lead to infringement of indigenous rights to traditional lands, territories and resources.
  • Security forces: The use of both public and private security forces in guarding mine sites, particularly in countries where they are known to resort to violent or repressive measures, puts indigenous communities at high risk of serious human rights abuses. Indigenous peoples have been targeted for killingstorture, arbitrary arrest and intimidation by security forces for voicing their opposition to mining operations in their traditional lands.

Helpful Resources

  • International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Good Practice Guide: Indigenous Peoples and Mining: This guide was designed for metals and mining companies to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with indigenous peoples. The resource provides practical tools and case studies on engagement and indigenous participation, managing impacts, agreements and dealing with grievances.
  • Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), Standards Guidance: This guidance provides a suggested approach for RJC members to implement the mandatory requirements of the RJC Code of Practice, including specific considerations on indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • IPIECA, Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Gas Industry: Context, Issues and Emerging Good Practice: This document provides insight into the interaction between oil and gas companies and indigenous peoples, and what companies should consider when operating in indigenous areas.
  • IPIECA, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Toolbox: This resource was developed to provide companies with an understanding of what the practice of FPIC looks like in its implementation across a range of regional and country contexts.
  • IPIECA, Community Liaison Officers Team Building and Management Guidance: This resource was developed to assist community relations managers in planning their community liaison teams and recruiting community liaison officers (CLOs). It includes considerations specific to indigenous communities.
  • DCAF, Indigenous Peoples Fact sheet, Security and Human Rights Toolkit: This factsheet details how to ensure effective security and human rights risk mitigation for indigenous people.
  • DCAF, ICRC, GCBHR, Impacts of Company Operations on the Security of Communities: This page provides guidance on how to prevent and address impacts of security on indigenous communities.

Due Diligence Considerations

This section outlines due diligence steps that companies can take to respect indigenous peoples’ rights in their operations and supply chains. The described due diligence steps are aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Further information on UNGPs is provided in the ‘Key Human Rights Due Diligence Frameworks’ section below or in the Introduction.

While the below steps provide guidance on respecting indigenous peoples’ rights, in particular, it is generally more resource-efficient for companies to ‘streamline’ their human rights due diligence processes by also identifying and addressing other relevant human rights issues (e.g. child labourforced labourdiscriminationfreedom of association) at the same time.

Key Human Rights Due Diligence Frameworks

Several human rights frameworks describe the due diligence steps that businesses should ideally implement to address human rights issues, including working time. The primary framework is the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Launched in 2011, the UNGPs offer guidance on how to implement the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, which establishes the respective responsibilities of Governments and businesses — and where they intersect.

The UNGPs set out how companies, in meeting their responsibility to respect human rights, should put in place due diligence and other related policies and processes, which include:

  • A publicly available policy setting out the company’s commitment to respect human rights;
  • Assessment of any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts with which the company may be involved across its entire value chain;
  • Integration of the findings from their impact assessments into relevant internal functions/processes — and the taking of effective action to manage the same;
  • Tracking of the effectiveness of the company’s management actions;
  • Reporting on how the company is addressing its actual or potential adverse impacts;
  • Remediation of adverse impacts that the company has caused or contributed to.

The steps outlined below follow the UNGPs framework and can be considered a process which a business looking to start implementing human rights due diligence processes can follow.

Additionally, the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises define the elements of responsible business conduct, including human and labour rights.

Another important reference document is the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration), which contains the most detailed guidance on due diligence as it pertains to labour rights. These instruments, articulating principles of responsible business conduct, draw on international standards enjoying widespread consensus.

The IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards and their respective guidance notes are also a key resource for businesses. In particular, Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous Peoples establishes standards specific to indigenous peoples to ensure that business activities minimize negative impacts, foster respect for human rights, dignity and culture of indigenous populations, and promote development benefits in culturally appropriate ways.

Companies can seek specific guidance on this and other issues relating to international labour standards from the ILO Helpdesk for Business. This Helpdesk assists company managers and workers that want to align their policies and practices with principles of international labour standards and build good industrial relations.

The UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on UNDRIP is a valuable resource for companies to understand, respect and support the rights of indigenous peoples, with advice specific to business activities. Businesses can use the UN Global Compact Business Guide on UNDRIP in conjunction with the UNGP framework to conduct human rights due diligence on indigenous peoples’ rights. The guide lays out key business actions to take, including developing policy commitments, conducting human rights due diligence, implementing FPIC, providing remediation and access to grievance mechanisms.

Additionally, the SME Compass offers guidance on the overall human rights due diligence process by taking businesses through five key due diligence phases. The SME Compass has been developed in particular to address the needs of SMEs but is freely available and can be used by other companies as well. The tool, available in English and German, is a joint project by the German Government’s Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

1. Develop a Policy Commitment on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

UNGP Requirements

As per the UNGPs, a human rights policy should be:

  • “Approved at the most senior level” of the company;
  • “Informed by relevant internal and/or external expertise”;
  • Specific about company’s “human rights expectations of personnel, business partners and other parties directly linked to its operations, products or services”;
  • “Publicly available and communicated internally and externally to all personnel, business partners and other relevant parties”; and
  • “Reflected in operational policies and procedures necessary to embed it throughout the business”.

Companies should consider adopting a human rights policy that respects and protects indigenous peoples’ rights. Although some companies, particularly in the mining industry, have developed stand-alone policies on indigenous peoples (e.g. BHP), it is most common for businesses to integrate commitments to indigenous peoples rights in a human rights policy (HessMitsui and Equinor) or another policy document governing the relationship between the company and indigenous and other local communities (Rio Tinto).

The UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on UNDRIP advises that in circumstances where specific provisions are required on the company’s relationships with indigenous peoples, indigenous representatives and human rights experts should be involved in the development of the policy. Once a company has an indigenous peoples’ rights policy, it would be good practice to require business partners, such as sub-contractors and joint venture partners, to adhere to the policy and support them in developing their own policies. Some of the actions recommended by the UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on developing an indigenous peoples’ rights policy include:

  • Assigning senior management responsibility to drive, implement and review existing or any new policies;
  • Mapping and studying existing policies to identify existing coverage of indigenous peoples’ rights and gaps;
  • Involving all relevant parts of the business, including the core business as well as human resources, corporate affairs, legal, procurement and security, in the process of developing, implementing and reviewing the policy; and
  • Involving internal and external stakeholders in the process, in particular, local indigenous communities that the business interacts and works with.

Helpful Resources

  • United Nations Global Compact, A Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide has a specific section on key recommendations when developing an indigenous peoples’ rights policy.
  • United Nations Global Compact-OHCHR, A Guide for Business: How to Develop a Human Rights Policy: This guidance provides recommendations on how to develop a human rights policy and includes extracts from companies’ policies referencing indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to develop a human rights strategy and formulate a policy statement.
  • SME Compass, Policy statement: Companies can use this practical guide to learn to develop a policy statement step-by-step. Several use cases illustrate how to implement the requirements.
  • United Nations Global Compact, Advancing decent work in business Learning Plan: This learning plan, helps companies understand each Labour Principle and its related concepts and best practices as well as practical steps to help companies understand and take action across a variety of issues.

2. Assess Actual and Potential Impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

UNGP Requirements

The UNGPs note that impact assessments:

  • Will vary in complexity depending on “the size of the business enterprise, the risk of severe human rights impacts, and the nature and context of its operations”;
  • Should cover impacts that the company may “cause or contribute to through its own activities, or which may be directly linked to its operations, products or services by its business relationships”;
  • Should involve “meaningful consultation with potentially affected groups and other relevant stakeholders” in addition to other sources of information such as audits; and
  • Should be ongoing.

Impact assessments should look at both actual and potential impacts, i.e. impacts that have already manifested or could manifest. This compares to risk assessments that would only look at potential impacts and may not satisfy all of the above criteria.

Companies should undertake an assessment of their actual and potential impacts on the rights of indigenous peoples focused on their own business activities and their relationships with third parties, including business partners. The UNGPs emphasize that appropriate action will vary according to (i) whether the business enterprise causes or contributes to an adverse impact, or whether it is involved solely because the impact is directly linked to its operations, products or services by a business relationship; and (ii) the extent of its leverage in addressing the adverse impact. As such, these two elements must be considered when conducting impact assessments.

Companies can refer to the UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on UNDRIP for key recommendations on conducting impact assessments. The guide specifies that impact assessments should continue throughout the duration of the business project and thereafter, as necessary, to ensure that all project impacts are documented.

Impact assessments can range from a high-level desk-based assessment to a much more in-depth exercise based on on-the-ground reconnaissance, direct consultation of indigenous communities, a search of government documents (including, for example, land registry records), engagement with local civil society stakeholders and, if relevant, other businesses operating in the area.

Companies can assess indigenous peoples’ rights in countries where they operate and source from by consulting country risk profiles. Two credible civil society resources regarding indigenous peoples’ rights are ‘The Indigenous World’ — annual publications by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) — and Minority Rights Group’s ‘World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.’ These resources give insight into where the highest risk regions and countries are, and outline trends with respect to indigenous peoples’ rights.

Helpful Resources

  • United Nations Global Compact, A Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide has a specific section on key recommendations on conducting impact assessments.
  • UNDP, Standard 6: Indigenous Peoples: This guidance note provides actionable recommendations on how to assess potential risks and impacts to indigenous peoples.
  • OHCHR, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The UN mandate has valuable resources for companies to use to assess actual and potential risks to indigenous peoples’ rights including country reports and annual thematic reports.
  • ILO, Convention No. 169 ToolboxA set of tools and resources to promote understanding of the meaning and scope of ILO Convention No. 169, including a document containing excerpts from reports and comments of ILO Supervisory bodies relating to the Convention.
  • Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), The Australian Business Guide to Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide is specifically targeted to Australian businesses with the GCNA having collaborated with the Indigenous Australian community. It provides practical advice about how executives and companies can understand, respect and embed the rights of Indigenous Australians into their daily operations.
  • Danish Institute for Human Rights, Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Due Diligence Checklist for Companies: This guide seeks to provide companies with operational guidance on how to ensure due diligence when operating in areas where projects may affect indigenous peoples.
  • IWGIA, The Indigenous World: This resource provides companies with information on indigenous groups across the globe, with extensive reports according to region and country.
  • Minority Rights Group, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples: This publication provides a good overview of the different indigenous groups in each country and the human rights and governance challenges they face.
  • CSR Risk Check: tool allowing companies to check which international CSR risks (including those related to indigenous peoples’ rights) businesses are exposed to and what can be done to manage them. The tool provides tailor-made information on the local human rights situation as well as environmental, social and governance issues. It allows users to filter by product/raw material and country of origin. The tool was developed by MVO Netherland; the German version is funded and implemented by the German Government’s Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights and UPJ.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to assess actual and potential human rights risks and how to assess and prioritize risks.
  • SME Compass, Risk Analysis Tool: This tool helps companies to locate, asses and prioritize significant human rights and environmental risks long their value chains.
  • SME Compass, Supplier review: This practical guide helps companies to find an approach to manage and review their suppliers with respect to human rights impacts.
  • SME Compass: Interview guide for civil society actors: This guide provides support to companies for interviews with civil society actors, and is structured along the five phases of the Due Diligence Compass.

3. Integrate and Take Action on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

UNGP Requirements

As per the UNGPs, effective integration requires that:

  • “Responsibility for addressing [human rights] impacts is assigned to the appropriate level and function within the business enterprise” (e.g. senior leadership, executive and board level);
  • “Internal decision-making, budget allocations and oversight processes enable effective responses to such impacts”.

The guide on indigenous peoples developed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) has actionable and step-by-step recommendations on how companies can exercise due diligence and develop and implement action plans. Ensuring adequate consultation is an essential first step that will decisively inform a company’s action plan on indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples should be consulted with a view to obtaining an agreement or consent, and consultation should be undertaken in accordance with international standards prior to definite decision-making regarding project feasibility.

Companies can refer to the UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on UNDRIP for key recommendations on understanding and implementing consultation processes to secure FPIC. The guide recommends the following business actions in relation to FPIC:

  • Consider engaging an independent and culturally sensitive facilitator, for example, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/or independent experts, chosen by or acceptable to the indigenous peoples concerned, to assist with negotiations or consultation processes. This should be done in a manner that does not influence who they choose to involve, nor influences the views of the provider of these services.
  • Consider providing support (e.g. financial, logistical, etc.) to strengthen the capacity of a community’s decision-making processes, being mindful that doing so does not create undue pressure to give consent.
  • Consider making arrangements for independent monitoring of the FPIC process and its outcomes, by engaging an independent expert chosen in consultation with the indigenous peoples concerned.

A useful checklist for appraising whether an activity requires an FPIC process is included in the UNDP guide.

Helpful Resources

  • United Nations Global Compact, A Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide has a specific section on key recommendations on integrating findings and taking action on indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • UNDP, Standard 6: Indigenous Peoples: This guidance note provides actionable recommendations on stakeholder engagement.
  • Danish Institute for Human Rights, Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Due Diligence Checklist for Companies: This guide seeks to provide companies with operational guidance on how to ensure due diligence when operating in areas where projects may affect indigenous peoples.
  • UN-FAO, Free Prior and Informed Consent: An Indigenous Peoples’ Right and a Good Practice for Local CommunitiesThis resource provides suggestions on implementing FPIC.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to take action on human rights by embedding them in your company, creating and implementing an action plan, and conducting a supplier review and capacity building.
  • SME Compass, Identifying stakeholders and cooperation partners: This practical guide is intended to help companies identify and classify relevant stakeholders and cooperation partners.
  • SME Compass, Standards Compass: This online tool offers guidance on what to pay attention to when selecting sustainability standards or when participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives. It allows comparing standards and initiatives with respect to their contribution to human rights due diligence and their potential limitations.

4. Track Performance on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

UNGP Requirements

As per the UNGPs, tracking should:

  • “Be based on appropriate qualitative and quantitative indicators”;
  • “Draw on feedback from both internal and external sources, including affected stakeholders” (e.g. through grievance mechanisms).

Businesses should regularly review their approach to indigenous peoples’ rights to see if it continues to serve the indigenous communities and stakeholders involved. The guide on indigenous peoples developed by DIHR provides an actionable checklist that companies can refer to when tracking performance on indigenous peoples’ rights, including considerations such as:

  • Has a specific plan for engagement with indigenous peoples been developed and agreed upon with concerned indigenous peoples/communities?
  • Has a participatory monitoring strategy been put in place to track performance against key risks or potential impacts identified?

Participatory monitoring of environmental and social commitments can increase transparency and promote trust between a company and local community members. It can help defuse external criticism, quash unfounded rumours within the community and ensure higher levels of ‘buy-in’ from local people. Participatory monitoring may include:

  • The participation of indigenous representatives in scientific sampling and analysis, alongside a company’s own environmental team. In many cases, the company will need to ensure that capacity building is carried out by an independent third party to ensure such representatives are able to participate in this process fully and effectively.
  • Validation of initial impact assessment by indigenous community members and a joint analysis of the company’s management and mitigation efforts based on the records on impacts on affected community members.
  • Assessing company/project-related changes to the local environment and socio-economic context over time with the input from indigenous community members.

Helpful Resources

  • Danish Institute for Human Rights, Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Due Diligence Checklist for Companies: This guide seeks to provide companies with operational guidance on how to ensure due diligence when operating in areas where projects may affect indigenous peoples.
  • IWGIA, Interpreting the UN Guiding Principles for Indigenous Peoples: This guide contains information for companies on how to track company performance on indigenous peoples.
  • Institute for Human Rights and Business, Putting Respect for Human Rights into Practice: This guidance details the steps companies should take in tracking performance, including building a systematic approach to tracking, developing indicators, incorporating stakeholder perspectives and tracking through business relationships.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to measure human rights performance.
  • SME Compass: Key performance indicators for due diligence: Companies can use this overview of selected quantitative key performance indicators to measure implementation, manage it internally and/or report it externally.

5. Communicate Performance on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

UNGP Requirements

As per the UNGPs, regular communications of performance should:

  • “Be of a form and frequency that reflect an enterprise’s human rights impacts and that are accessible to its intended audiences”;
  • “Provide information that is sufficient to evaluate the adequacy of an enterprise’s response to the particular human rights impact involved”; and
  • “Not pose risks to affected stakeholders, personnel or to legitimate requirements of commercial confidentiality”.

Companies are expected to communicate their performance on indigenous peoples’ rights in a formal public report, which can be achieved via companies’ broader sustainability or human rights reporting (e.g. Shell’s Sustainability Report), or in their annual Communication on Progress (CoP) in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. Additionally, other forms of communication may include in-person meetings, online dialogues and consultation with affected stakeholders.

Helpful Resources

  • Global Reporting Initiative, GRI 411: Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard provides detailed guidance on how organizations can report their management approach on indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Danish Institute for Human Rights, Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Due Diligence Checklist for Companies: This guide points at the need to develop and agree on a transparent communication strategy with indigenous peoples, including the definition of adequate communication channels.
  • UNGP, Reporting FrameworkA short series of smart questions (‘Reporting Framework’), implementation guidance for companies that are reporting, and assurance guidance for internal auditors and external assurance providers.
  • United Nations Global Compact, Communication on Progress (CoP)The CoP ensures further strengthening of corporate transparency and accountability, allowing companies to better track progress, inspire leadership, foster goal-setting and provide learning opportunities across the Ten Principles and SDGs.
  • The Sustainability Code: A framework for reporting on non-financial performance that includes 20 criteria, including on human rights.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to communicate progress on human rights due diligence.
  • SME Compass, Target group-oriented communication: This practical guide helps companies to identify their stakeholders and find suitable communication formats and channels.

6. Remedy and Grievance Mechanisms

UNGP Requirements

As per the UNGPs, remedy and grievance mechanisms should include the following considerations:

  • “Where business enterprises identify that they have caused or contributed to adverse impacts, they should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes”.
  • “Operational-level grievance mechanisms for those potentially impacted by the business enterprise’s activities can be one effective means of enabling remediation when they meet certain core criteria.”

To ensure their effectiveness, grievance mechanisms should be:

  • Legitimate: “enabling trust from the stakeholder groups for whose use they are intended, and being accountable for the fair conduct of grievance processes”
  • Accessible: “being known to all stakeholder groups for whose use they are intended, and providing adequate assistance for those who may face particular barriers to access”
  • Predictable: “providing a clear and known procedure with an indicative time frame for each stage, and clarity on the types of process and outcome available and means of monitoring implementation”
  • Equitable: “seeking to ensure that aggrieved parties have reasonable access to sources of information, advice and expertise necessary to engage in a grievance process on fair, informed and respectful terms”
  • Rights-compatible: “ensuring that outcomes and remedies accord with internationally recognized human rights”
  • A source of continuous learning: “drawing on relevant measures to identify lessons for improving the mechanism and preventing future grievances and harms”

Grievance mechanisms help build trust and understanding of issues between companies and indigenous peoples. They provide an early point of recourse to identify and address the concerns of impacted indigenous communities before the point of escalation. These channels also help develop stronger relationships with indigenous communities. It is a good practice for companies to involve local communities and respected third parties in the design and implementation of the grievance mechanism, and to consider establishing a grievance process that is run by a respected, independent body. Another best practice is to ensure that grievance mechanisms are accessible to all indigenous peoples, including women, youth, elders and other potentially vulnerable groups.

Grievance mechanisms will vary depending on whether a company has caused, contributed or is directly linked to the adverse impact on indigenous peoples. Global Compact Australia’s guide has a helpful visual (p. 9) explaining the “cause, contribute and directly linked” continuum and specifying appropriate remediation strategies in each case. Companies can also refer to the UN Global Compact Business Reference Guide on UNDRIP for key recommendations on how to establish culturally appropriate and effective grievance mechanisms for indigenous communities.

Grievance mechanisms are crucial to ensure effective remediation of negative impacts on indigenous peoples. The inclusion of indigenous peoples in the remediation process and the enhancement of local ownership of the process ensures the acceptance and legitimacy of a remediation plan. Indigenous involvement in the remediation process can also help businesses develop remediation plans that best suit the needs of a particular indigenous community.

Helpful Resources

  • United Nations Global Compact, A Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide has a specific section on key recommendations on establishing grievance mechanisms that are effective and culturally appropriate.
  • Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), The Australian Business Guide to Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: This guide details different considerations when establishing grievance mechanisms and providing for (or cooperating) in remediation for any adverse impacts on indigenous peoples’ rights, including the benefits to business and how to do it.
  • Forest Peoples Programme, Non-judicial Grievance Mechanisms as a Route to Remedy: An Unfulfilled OpportunityThis briefing note sets out key actionable recommendations for companies to ensure that non-judicial remedy procedures become compliant with the UNGPs.
  • Global Compact Network Germany, Worth Listening: Understanding and Implementing Human Rights Grievance Management: A business guide intended to assist companies in designing effective human rights grievance mechanisms, including practical advice and case studies. Also available in German.
  • SME Compass: Provides advice on how to establish grievance mechanisms and manage complaints.
  • SME Compass, Managing grievances effectively: Companies can use this guide to design their grievance mechanisms more effectively – along the eight UNGP effectiveness criteria – and it includes practical examples from companies.

Case Studies

This section includes examples of company actions to prevent violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in their operations and supply chains.

Further Guidance

  • ILO, Excerpts from Reports and Comments of the ILO Supervisory Bodies: Applying the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169): Organized in a thematic and chronological manner, this document seeks to disseminate the comments and recommendations of the ILO supervisory bodies in the context of the application of ILO Convention No. 169.
  • ILO, Implementing the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169: Towards an Inclusive, Sustainable and Just Future: This report presents the social and economic situation of indigenous women and men by looking at key aspects such as population, employment and poverty, as well as the important strides made in public policies, particularly with regard to institutions, consultation and participation.
  • IWGIA and ILO, The Impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous Communities: Insights from the Indigenous Navigator: This report highlights the differentiated impact that COVID-19 has on indigenous peoples.
  • IWGIA and ILO, Indigenous peoples in a changing world of work: Exploring indigenous peoples’ economic and social rights through the Indigenous Navigator: This report explores the obstacles faced by indigenous peoples in performing their traditional occupations and accessing decent work opportunities, education, and social protection.
  • ILO, Exploring and Tackling Barriers to Indigenous Women’s Participation and Organization: This study aims to identify and analyze barriers to participation and organization faced by indigenous women at multiple levels.
  • ILO, Indigenous Peoples and a Just Transition for All: This policy brief presents the linkages between just transition and indigenous peoples, and provides key policy recommendations for implementing social dialogue to ensure a just transition for all.
  • IFAD, Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples: 2022 Update: This policy provides an overview on the principles of engagement when working with indigenous peoples and the instruments, procedures and resources IFAD will use to implement these principles.
  • United Nations Global Compact, Practical Supplement: Business Reference Guide to the UNDRIP: This resource compiles a list of business practices to raise awareness of the corporate responsibility to respect indigenous peoples’ rights and the opportunity to support these rights.
  • United Nations Global Compact, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and the Role of Free, Prior and Informed Consent: This note explores the business case for obtaining FPIC and the challenges that are likely to arise in the process. It outlines current company good practices to obtain FPIC and discusses emerging practices that not only support FPIC but also provide long-term benefits for affected indigenous communities.
  • United Nations, State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: This report promotes awareness of indigenous peoples’ issues within the UN system, with States, academia and the broader public.
  • United Nations, Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples: This resource provides companies with an understanding of FPIC.
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), Standard 7 — Indigenous Peoples: The IFC has developed a guidance note for its clients in aid of implementing IFC Performance Standard 7 on indigenous peoples’ rights. Companies can use this resource to ensure that business activities minimize negative impacts, foster respect for human rights, dignity and culture of indigenous populations, and promote development benefits in culturally appropriate ways.
  • IFC, Stakeholder Engagement: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets: This guide provides useful advice on how companies can engage with stakeholders, including specific recommendations on how to consult with indigenous communities.
  • IFC, Investing in People: Sustaining Communities through Improved Business Practice: The IFC created this guide as a resource to help IFC clients and other companies establish effective community development programmes for communities located near or affected by their operations, including indigenous peoples.
  • SME Compass, Due Diligence Compass: This online tool offers guidance on the overall human rights due diligence process by taking businesses through five key due diligence phases.
  • SME Compass, Standards Compass: This online tool offers guidance on what to pay attention to when selecting sustainability standards or when participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives. It allows comparing standards and initiatives with respect to their contribution to human rights due diligence and their potential limitations.
  • SME Compass, Downloads: Practical guides and checklists are available for download on the SME compass website to embed due diligence processes, improve supply chain management and make mechanisms more effective.
  • ILO Helpdesk for Business, Country Information Hub: This resource can be used to inform human rights due diligence, providing specific country information on different labour rights.