Navigating Global Governance for Indigenous Rights

Working within IWGIA’s Global Governance team has presented a unique opportunity to influence global policies that directly impact indigenous peoples. As part of the team, I have been able to collaborate with international stakeholders, support our partners and colleagues as they advocate for indigenous representation and rights, and work towards holding duty bearers accountable to their obligations. This work bridges the gap between indigenous communities and decision-making bodies, fostering dialogue and pushing for inclusive policies that promote justice and equality.

Building Trust and Collaboration:
One of the most enriching aspects of working with IWGIA is the opportunity to engage directly with indigenous communities, and this has been particularly true through the Indigenous Navigator. IWGIA is special, and it has lived up to my expectation. Our relationships are built on trust, and mutual respect.

In Peace Corps, our work was informed by a participatory methodology. That methodology structured and informed us on the critical role of consulting and involving community members in moving from collective analysis to planning and implementing projects that met their desires and needs.

By listening to their needs, amplifying their voices, and working collaboratively to address the challenges faced, we work together on issues they identify. I see many similarities in this methodology and the work of IWGIA. In Peace Corps we used a tool-set called Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA), which is a strategy for sustainable community-driven development that starts with identifying and mobilizing existing assets. PACA also uses an appreciative inquiry approach, which seeks to engage stakeholders in self-determined change by asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to heighten positive impact. Furthermore, that human-centered design or design thinking approach is crucial. A creative way of problem-solving that starts with the users you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs is crucial to partnership and addressing key issues and challenges in unique and disparate contexts.

I can say that IWGIA takes that approach and extends it, moving above and beyond to the next level – not only in project design, but also in advocacy and engagement at all levels. Local, regional and global.

Impacting Sustainable Development:
Sustainable development is without a doubt integrated across the core of IWGIA’s work. Through the Indigenous Navigator project, indigenous peoples are using data that they themselves are collecting to create sustainable pathways for indigenous communities self-determined development.

Because the Indigenous Navigator monitors the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, core human rights conventions, essential aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the outcomes of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – it is a key tool to understand the real situation indigenous communities are experiencing on the ground.
The free tools include surveys, a comparative indicator framework and matrix on international law, and the resources, which are based on community-generated data – allow for analysis and problem identification driven by the communities themselves.

The Indigenous Navigator uncovers the crucial links between indigenous peoples’ rights and global commitments on human rights and development – links that can be used to conduct advocacy at national, regional and international level. But, the survey process isn’t just about collecting data. It enables documentation which supports efforts to report their situation, raise awareness of their rights, and enter into dialogue with duty-bearers and external stakeholders.

It has been an amazing experience to contribute to the empowerment, protection, and recognition of indigenous peoples around the world.







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