Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

9 August

By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples shall be observed on 9 August every year. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. In 1990, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/45/164 A/RES/47/75)

Each year, UNESCO marks the celebration of the Day by sharing information on projects and activities that are relevant to the annual theme. 

Indigenous peoples live in all regions of the world and own, occupy or use some 22% of global land area. Numbering at least 370-500 million, indigenous peoples represent the greater part of the world’s cultural diversity, and have created and speak the major share of the world’s almost 7000 languages. Many indigenous peoples continue to be confronted with marginalization, extreme poverty and other human rights violations. Through partnerships with indigenous peoples, UNESCO seeks to support them in addressing the multiple challenges they face, while acknowledging their significant role in sustaining the diversity of the world’s cultural and biological landscape.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"Marked every year on 9 August, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is an opportunity to celebrate these communities and their knowledge. This year’s theme focuses on building a new social contract with indigenous peoples – one that is anchored in human rights and respect for cultural diversity, and leaves no one behind."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2021

Download the complete message in PDF format
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WHAT UNESCO DOES WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Through partnerships with indigenous peoples, UNESCO seeks to support them in addressing the multiple challenges they face, while acknowledging their significant role in sustaining the diversity of the world’s cultural and biological landscape. UNESCO places the needs of indigenous peoples amongst its priority areas for response.