The Fund for Indigenous Populations was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 40/131 of 13 December 1985, with the purpose of assisting representatives of indigenous communities and organizations to participate in the deliberations of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the former Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights by providing them with financial assistance, funded by means of voluntary contributions from Governments, non-governmental organizations and other private or public entities.
The General Assembly expanded the mandate of the Fund in its resolution 56/140 of 19 December 2001 by deciding that the Fund should also be used to assist representatives of indigenous communities and organizations in attending, as observers, the sessions of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
In its resolution 63/161 of 18 December 2008, the General Assembly adjusted the mandate of the Fund so as to facilitate the participation of representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations in the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 6/36 of 14 December 2007.
In its resolution 65/198 of 21 December 2010, the General Assembly further expanded the mandate of Fund in order to facilitate the participation of representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations in sessions of the Human Rights Council and of human rights treaty bodies.
In 2015, the mandate of the Fund was expanded to support representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations and institutions to participate in the consultation process on the procedural and institutional steps to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them during the seventieth and seventy-first sessions of the General Assembly (GA resolution A/RES/70/232).
In accordance with resolution 40/131, the Secretary-General reports every two years to the General Assembly on the activities of the Fund. The last report by the Secretary-General is contained in document A/71/228 on the Status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations.
In addition, the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the Practical implications of a change in the mandate of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations is contained in document A/HRC/15/38.
Board of Trustees
The Fund is administered in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations by the Secretary-General assisted by a Board of Trustees. The mandate of the Board is to advise the Secretary-General on the use of funds, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Board is composed of five persons with relevant experience on indigenous issues, who serve in their personal capacity. The members of the Board are appointed by the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Chairperson of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, for a three-year renewable term. At least one member of the Board of Trustees shall be a representative of a widely recognized organization of indigenous people.
The current Board members appointed by the Secretary-General for the period 1 January 2015 – 31 December 2017 are: Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara (Nigeria), Ms. Myrna Cunningham (Nicaragua), Ms. Anne Nuorgam (Finland), Mr. Binota Dhamai (Bangladesh), and Ms. Claire Charters (New Zealand).
>>>More info on the last session
How to contribute
Governments, non-governmental organizations and other private or public entities, as well as individuals, can contribute to the Fund. For information on how to contribute to the Fund, you are kindly requested to contact the secretariat of the Fund.
Donors are invited to contribute annually to the Fund before the session of the Board in February of each year.
United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations
Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.
OHCHR - Motta
48 Giuseppe Motta
Tel.: (41-22) 928 91 64 / Fax (41-22) 928 90 08
Video on the Voluntary Fund
A video about the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations has been produced to raise awareness about and promote the mandate of the Fund.
Another video, celebrating the achievements the Fund has made, was produced as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations in 2015.
Human Rights Funds, Grants and Fellowships - A Practical Guide for Civil Society
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