Civic & Political Rights / Indigenous Peoples

Victoria Tauli-Corpus on Indigenous Philanthropy

Contributed by IFIP – International Funders for Indigenous Peoples from their 2014 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy-

This article was originally published on the IFIP Summit Blog on Thursday, September 25, 2014. The original article can be found here:

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, shared her thoughts with IFIP’s World Summit attendees on indigenous philanthropy, and the just concluded Indigenous Peoples’ World Congress in a keynote address Thursday morning.Bolivianlaughgood2-300x199

“This is the time for us to think more deeply about doing philanthropy,” Ms. Tauli-Corpuz, better known to us as Vicky, said. “I was in a meeting yesterday with food corporations. One said, ‘you know the world is different now. The trend is for corporations to take over the world.’ What will IPs and donors do in a world that is increasingly being managed by international corporations? What will be its impact on IPs?

“I know that there are many of you who will provide stories I need to make many good reports. So that’s my mandate as a rapporteur. Some people, particularly from North America, decided to boycott the World Congress.”

On the need to ensure free, prior, and informed consent projects that are brought before Indigenous Peoples, “I just want to say this document (that resulted from the World Congress) is going to be a very major tool for us to use,” Ms. Tauli-Corpuz said. The whole outcome document was adopted at the World Conference, she said, which was going to be a very major tool for IPs to pin down, and use. Nor will the document undermine UNDRIP. “We’ll have to work hard for implementation,” she said.

Funders also believe in the commitment that Indigenous Peoples have. “It’s a tough challenge for us to talk about leaving a better world for our children. In India, we’re referred to as primitive tribal groups! How do we support Indigenous Peoples to have their capacities recognized? What is the model of Philanthropy in this kind of world? What kind of support can you develop with Indigenous Peoples, so we can conquer this kind of world?”

Would it be possible to have a longer time frame with Indigenous Peoples? Ms. Tauli-Corpuz asks. “Long-term relationships of funders with indigenous peoples will enable them to be better advocates,” she states. Donors need to give sustained support to indigenous groups. The problems are grave and fostering relationships is key. “It’s about time we come together with the private sector so that we can really shape our communities and live well. We have our local markets, we have our products that we bring to our local markets, we need our local markets to be able to produce our own goods and services. Those are the kinds of services that we would like to work with. Indigenous Peoples are looking for those kinds of investments.

“So, those are just a few of the point I would like to share with you on the philanthropic world. In this world where our communities are increasingly being destroyed, and have the last resources the world needs, we also have the traditional knowledge and practices.

“That is were our strength lies, so we should really focus a lot of our efforts to really strengthen our efforts against states, and some corporations. How do we strengthen our communities to be able to protest? It’s really meant to support Indigenous Peoples. I think we will be able to get some gains. To really reach out to the states, to make some recommendations. We need businesses run by Indigenous Peoples that respect collective rights.”

On climate change:

Indigenous Peoples did not contribute to climate change, but we are asked to solve the crisis. Controlling climate change requires the respect and protection of indigenous Peoples’ rights. First secure Indigenous Peoples’ fundamental rights before you ask us to do carbon sequestration.


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