August 9th is International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. There are over 476 million indigenous people living in 90 countries across the world. They make up 6.2% of the world’s population. They hold a vast diversity of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems. Having a special relationship with their land they hold diverse concepts of development based on their own worldviews and priorities.
Many indigenous people are self governing and have been successful in establishing autonomy in varying forms many still come under ultimate authority of central governments who exercise control over their lands, territories and resources. There are numerous examples of good governance from indigenous people.
Today is a day for us to demand indigenous peoples’ inclusion, participation and approval in a constitution that has social and economic benefits for all.
• More than 86% of indigenous peoples globally work in the informal economy compared to 66% for non-indigenous peoples
• Indigenous peoples are almost three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty
• Globally, 47% of all indigenous peoples in employment have no education compared to 17% of non-indigenous peoples. This gap is even wider for women.