Last July 2012, upon the assumption of office of the new World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a letter from indigenous peoples was sent to the Bank urging Dr. Kim for a continued fruitful and sincere engagement between indigenous peoples and the Bank. This letter was endorsed by 98 indigenous peoples organizations and institutions and 43 nongovernment organizations. Among the identified opportunities for engagement contained in the letter are as follows:
- Establishment of an independent World Bank Indigenous Peoples Advisory Council (similar to the World Bank External Advisory Group on Forests). It should be established by respecting the self-selection process of indigenous peoples during its composition and be based on Terms of References that have been developed with indigenous peoples’ substantive involvement and input.
- Establishment of consultative mechanisms at the national and regional levels to better provide indigenous peoples with the ability to provide effective inputs to the Bank’s operational units and influence at all levels of decision-making within the Bank, as well as contributing to the work of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Council.
- Recruitment of a senior-level staff as a dedicated Focal Point for Indigenous Issues with the mandate to coordinate with key UN mechanisms, dealing with the rights of indigenous peoples (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and providing secretariat support to the Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Council.
- Internal capacity-building of the staff of the Bank to ensure that staff is better informed and better able to implement the requirements of both Bank policy and international standards on the rights of indigenous peoples
- Dedicated financial support for the capacity building for indigenous peoples
Click on the link for the full content of the letter of indigenous peoples to the World Bank:http://www.aippnet.org/home/statement/908-indigenous-peoples-letter-to-the-incoming-president-of-the-world-bank
President Kim responded to the letter early this month (August 2012) stating his intent to engage with indigenous peoples. Among the positive points of the response from the World Bank are as follows:
- Recruitment of a senior indigenous peoples specialist which is expected to be completed this year
- Establishment of an Independent Indigenous Peoples Advisory Council that would serve as a mechanism for the ongoing engagement of the Bank with indigenous peoples. This is yet to be worked by the Bank though.
- Continuation of the review of the safeguard policies of the Bank including the Indigenous Peoples Policy which will be formally launched this fall.
Click on the link for the full content of the response from the World Bank: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2Vnefme6P1aUUNKUi1XU3BfUlE
A response to the letter is currently being prepared by AIPP including a brief paper on the recommendations of indigenous peoples to the Indigenous Peoples Policy of the Bank.