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call for input | Special Procedures

Green financing, a just transition to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples


Submissions now online (See below)

Purpose: Report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2023


The Special Rapporteur will devote his next thematic report on Green financing, a just transition to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 54th session in September 2023.

Green financing is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the targets set by UNFCCC agreements and the CBD Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, all of which will have significant impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.  The report will provide recommendations for States in regulating the finance sector, to development finance institutions (DFIs),1 recipients of international funds such as private businesses, as well as United Nations specialized agencies,2 in their role as funding institutions. The report will seek to provide guidance for financing organizations and institutions to strengthen governance and accountability structures to reduce negative impacts of their activities on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and facilitate access of Indigenous Peoples to economic opportunities and global markets. It will also address best practices, particularly in terms of providing direct financing to indigenous-led conservation initiatives and renewable energy projects.

A ‘just transition’ addresses the social and environmental interventions and safeguards needed to secure Indigenous Peoples' rights and livelihoods when economies shift to sustainable development practices to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. It ensures that those who are most affected by environmental harms do not bear the costs of this transition and are involved in the formation of policy solutions and participate equitably in emerging economic opportunities.

The impact of green financing on Indigenous Peoples’ rights must be understood and addressed from the framework of relevant international and regional human rights instruments, particularly Article 39 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that provides for the right of Indigenous Peoples to access financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation for the enjoyment of the rights contained in the Declaration. States also have an obligation under Article 29 to establish and implement assistance programmes, without discrimination, for Indigenous Peoples to conserve and protect the environment and productive capacity of their lands, territories and resources.  Private funders have a duty to respect human rights according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This study will explore the intersection of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing and reporting practices emerging in the private sector, through the lens of funders’ responsibilities under the UNGPs to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The report will cover the role and potential impact on Indigenous Peoples’ rights of international climate finance mechanisms,3 the carbon credit and biodiversity credit markets, international conservation organizations4 and investors, international financial institutions and UN agencies financing green energy, sustainable development projects, REDD+ programmes and biodiversity targets. The report will address how Indigenous Peoples’ rights are impacted by efforts to meet Nationally Determine Contributions and long-term climate and biodiversity protection targets. Examples of projects that have been framed as green alternatives to fossil fuel production include wind and solar farms; lithium mining for electric vehicle batteries; biofuel production; hydroelectric dams; renewable energy and climate change mitigation and adaptation projects; and the creation of protected areas for biodiversity conservation.

The Special Rapporteur will build on findings previously made by the mandate in its reports to the Human Rights Council on the “Impacts of climate change and climate finance on Indigenous Peoples’ rights’’ (2017) A/HRC/36/46; “International investment agreements, including bilateral investment treaties and investment chapters of free trade agreements’’ (2016), A/HRC/33/42; and in the report to the General Assembly on “Protected areas and Indigenous Peoples’ rights: the obligations of States and international organizations” (2022), A/77/238 which noted how exclusionary conservation practices take management and control of lands away from Indigenous Peoples often under the influence of financially powerful international conservation organizations.

The Special Rapporteur requests inputs from Member States and inter-governmental entities, UN agencies, Indigenous Peoples and organizations, particularly Indigenous women’s organizations,  civil society actors, humanitarian and development organizations, national human rights institutions, business representatives and other stakeholders, to contribute to the preparation of the report. Submissions can be made to [email protected] by 21 April 2023 in English, French or Spanish in Word format. Kindly indicate in the subject of your email “Submission to 54th HRC session report.” Please limit inputs to 10 pages.

Submissions will be published as received on the mandate’s webpage. Kindly indicate in your email if you DO NOT wish your submission to be made public.


The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in receiving inputs on any or all of the following issues, including case studies and specific examples of best practices led by Indigenous Peoples as well as initiatives taken by States and international organizations.

  1. Are DFI’s complying with their safeguard policies? For example, are these institutions or organizations conducting or ensuring the conduct of independent, transparent and participatory environment, social and human rights impact assessments and obtaining free prior and informed consent when Indigenous Peoples are impacted by a DFI funded-project?
  2. Are there opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to participate in the development and implementation of DFI-funded projects related to conservation, clean energy transition and carbon markets?
  3. What role do DFIs play in shaping policy, beyond the financial investment itself? How are DFI’s ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are represented in the development of global institutional strategies, particularly the creation and implementation of policies affecting Indigenous Peoples?
  4. Please describe your experience with DFI grievance mechanisms and inspection panels at the institutional or national level. Are these mechanisms effective in providing remedies for human rights violations? For example, are there structural issues with how these mechanisms operate in terms of the actors they focus on, timeframes within which they operate, remedies available etc. How can these mechanisms be improved?
  5. Please describe any efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence and gender inequality, the rights of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay and gender diverse people as part of wider efforts to improve the DFI regulatory and institutional framework.
  6. Please provide examples of domestic legal frameworks in receiving countries that protect Indigenous Peoples' rights in the context of green financing.
  7. How is Indigenous Peoples’ ownership and control rights over their lands, territories and resources protected in the regulation of carbon and biodiversity offset markets?
  8. What role do private conservation organizations play, if any, in the development of safeguarding policies of international financial institutions?
  9. What is the role of States in regulating the activities of private conservation organizations?
  10.  Please describe how green financing has either benefited Indigenous Peoples and served to strengthen their rights, or alternatively has failed to adequately respect their rights and contributed to human rights violations?
  11. Please provide examples of Indigenous Peoples leading the development and/or implementation of sustainable development projects funded by States, DFIs and international conservation organizations.
  12. How have Indigenous Peoples been involved in developing carbon markets, if at all? If Indigenous Peoples are participating in carbon markets, how is their free, prior and informed consent sought or obtained by companies who wish to use their lands, territories or natural resources for offsets?
  13. How can the carbon market be regulated to ensure that all actors, regardless of the nature or scale of the initiative (voluntary carbon market or jurisdictional approaches), are required to respect Indigenous Peoples' rights, including their right to give or withhold consent to carbon projects related to their lands, territories and resources?
  14. How can Indigenous Peoples access funding, directly or indirectly, to further implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity Global Biodiversity Framework including 30x30 (Target 3)? What are the main obstacles that Indigenous Peoples face in accessing funding and how can these be overcome? For example, how does the imposition of restrictive conditions affect their ability to access funding?

1/ For example: World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Development Association, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Development Bank of Latin America, Caribbean Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. See

2/ Including but not limited to: International Fund for Agricultural Development, United Nations Development Program; and the United Nations Environment Programme.

3/ UN Global Environment Facility and UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-plus), Green Climate Fund, Clean Development Mechanism, Adaptation Fund, and Forest Carbon Facility. See Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, “Impacts of climate change and climate finance on indigenous peoples’ rights,” (2017) A/HRC/36/46.

4/ Examples include: World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund), Conservation International, Global Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Global Greengrants Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and African Wildlife Foundation.

Inputs Received