Purpose of the fund
The UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples offers financial support in the form of grants. These grants aim to help representatives of indigenous communities and organizations to participate in UN mechanisms and processes most relevant to indigenous issues. Any member of an indigenous community can apply for a grant.
How the fund works
Grants are issued to successful applicants based on fixed criteria and review by the 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 the 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 who also serves as the Secretariat of the Fund.
Read more about the Board of Trustees.
About the mandate
The UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution
40/131 of 13 December 1985. Its scope has been expanded over the years in various resolutions to include participation in new UN mechanisms, sessions and processes:
UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2010: Sessions of the Human Rights Council and of human rights treaty bodies
2015: Meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them during the seventieth and seventy-first sessions of the General Assembly
2019: UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
How to contribute
The Fund is financed through the voluntary contributions of Governments, non-governmental organizations and other private or public entities, as well as individuals.
Read more about how to contribute.
Status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples: 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 on the status of the fund was published in July 2020. View document
Human Rights Funds, Grants and Fellowships - A Practical Guide for Civil Society All you need to know about training and funding opportunities for human rights.
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Booklet on the Voluntary Fund: To celebrate 30 years of empowering indigenous peoples to claim their rights, a booklet was developed to provide an overview of the fund. It covers the main milestones in promoting the participation of indigenous peoples in various UN fora, the activities of the Fund, its role in supporting indigenous people to bring their issues to the attention of the international community, as well as testimonies from beneficiaries of the Fund. PDF:
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society (2008) The essential reference to understanding what UN human rights mechanisms are and how to contribute to and benefit from their work. The Handbook is also available in English and French CD-ROMs in DAISY and Braille formats.
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