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Funds for Indigenous PeoplesRead here about the opportunities for financial support from the UN and various other organizations

Funds for Indigenous Peoples


Read here about the opportunities for financial support from the UN and various other organizations

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United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, established in December 1985 (General Assembly resolution 40/131), is designed to provide financial assistance to indigenous representatives so that they can participate in UN conferences. It exists thanks to voluntary contributions from Governments, NGOs, and public and/or private entities. Initially, it was created to support participation in the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. However, over the years its mandate has been extended to other conferences/meetings for Indigenous Peoples, including the following:

  • Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (General Assembly resolution 56/40 of 19 December 2001);
  • Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (General Assembly resolution 63/161); and
  • Human Rights Council and human rights treaty bodies (resolution 65/198 of 21 December 2010).

The Fund is managed, in accordance with the UN's financial management, by the Secretary-General, assisted by a Board of Directors consisting of five members with relevant experience on indigenous issues. They are appointed by the Secretary-General for a renewable term of three years, and they serve in their individual capacity. Below is the list of the five current members for the period from 1 January 2015 - 31 December 2017:

  • Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara (Nigeria)
  • Ms. Myrna Cunningham (Nicaragua)
  • Ms. Anne Nuorgam (Finland)
  • Mr. Binota Dhamai (Bangladesh)
  • Ms. Claire Charters (New Zealand)

On the Fund's website you will find relevant UN documents, the criteria for selection of beneficiaries, application forms and deadlines, and a list of contributions already received.

Contact information:

United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples
High Commissioner for Human Rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10 - Switzerland
Tel.: + 41 22 928 9737 / 9314
Fax: + 41 22 928 9010
E-mail: IndigenousFunds(at)ohchr.org

Swiss Fund

The Swiss Fund is managed by the Swiss organization Incomindios (International Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas), which has been committed to the international cause of the recognition of Indigenous Peoples since 1974, but is more particularly focused on North, Central and South America. The Swiss Fund supports indigenous delegates during their participation in international forums by covering their living expenses. Incomindios has had consultative status with ECOSOC since 2003. For more information visit their official website, where you will find, among other things, application forms for the Swiss Fund.

Human Rights Fund for Indigenous Peoples (HRFIP)

This Fund is available via the organization IWGIA (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs), which has been active on the international stage for the cause of Indigenous Peoples' rights since 1968. IWGIA set up the Human Rights Fund for Indigenous Peoples (HRFIP) to facilitate their participation in the UN arena. For more information visit the organization's official website.

WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities

The WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities was established in October 2005 by the Member States of WIPO. The objective is to facilitate the participation of indigenous and local communities in the work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). Only representatives of local or indigenous communities already accredited with the IGC may apply for financial support from this Fund. On the WIPO website you will find information on the IGC accreditation procedure, as well as details about the Fund’s objectives, rules and operations. You will also find forms for grant applications.

Contact information:

Traditional Knowledge Division
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
34, chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20 / Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 338 8120
E-mail: grtkf(at)WIPO.int