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.
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