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Poverty reduction and indigenous peoples Experience from IFAD

IASG 2011, UNFPT, New York


A. Cordone

Technical Adviser and Coordinator on Indigenous and Tribal Issues

Policy and Technical Advisory Division


  • Poverty and indigenous peoples
  • Self-determined development
  • IFAD New Strategic Framework and IPs
  • IFAD’s engagement with indigenous peoples
  • Good practises in project design
  • The Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility
  • Recommendations for the future
data on poverty
Data on poverty
  • About 1,4 billion people live on less than USD 1,25 a day
  • Poverty largely persists in rural areas
  • About 1 billion hunger people
  • South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa highest concentration of hunger

(Source: IFAD Rural Poverty Report, 2011)

  • Estimates confirm worldwide, indigenous peoples are overrepresented among the poor
  • 15% of world poor are indigenous
  • Yet they account for the 5% of the world`s total population
  • Example: in Vietnam – recently middle-income country –poverty among ethnic minorities is persistent in 2010: 45% IPs – 7% non-IPs

(Source: IFAD draft COSOP 2011)

they are

IFAD and MDG 1

They are

Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger

  • Its key indicators are:
    • Proportion of population below $1
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Growth of GDP per person employed
  • Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$12 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 370 million people to break out of poverty
ifad rural poverty report 2011
IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011
  • Rural poverty is multidimensional and rooted in:
    • Lack of assets
    • Limited economic opportunities
    • Poor education and capabilities
    • Disadvantages rooted in social and political relations

All these factors perpetuating a number of interlocking disadvantages

ifad rural poverty report 20111
IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011

Indigenous peoples often disproportionately affected by these disadvantages and exclusion rooted in power inequalities: gender, age, ethnic identities

Addressing such disadvantages involves action on several fronts at the same time

It requires strengthening people’s assets and capabilities both individual and collective


IFAD New Strategic Framework


  • GOAL : to enable poor rural people to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes, and strengthen their resilience.
  • SF and Indigenous Peoples:
  • IFAD commitment has been reaffirmed;
  • Emphasis on necessity to address the lack of effective political representation
  • Need of improvement of the decision-making and organizational capacity of IPs highlighted;
  • Emphasis on increased communications and advocacy in eradicating rural poverty.
ips perspective of poverty
IPs’ Perspective of Poverty

“What do you mean by poor?

That we do not have money?

Yes, we don’t have money,

but we are not poor”

(Yoyoyo. Gasmana, West Java, Indonesia)


IPs’ perspective on poverty:

  • For IPs poverty is much more than low income. They relate poverty to:
  • Insecurity over their rights to land, territories and resources
  • Cultural disintegration and lack of social harmony
  • Loss of identity and dignity

A new paradigm for addressing

  • poverty among indigenous peoples:
    • Indigenous Peoples’
    • Self-Determined Development

improve access to:

ips self determined development
IPs Self-Determined Development

Tivoli workshop March 2008

(Tebtebba F., Christensen Fund, UNESCO and IFAD), defined self-determined development being based on:

  • A holistic non-sectoral and embedded approach to indigenous development
  • Indigenous collective rights
  • Culture encompassing indigenous livelihoods and relations to land, including food,
  • production, crafts and a sound resource base, as well as spiritual life
  • Full participation in development initiatives
  • Greater control, autonomy and self-governance
  • Secure rights to indigenous lands, territories and resources
  • Ensuring FPIC
  • Promoting indigenous distinctiveness, diversity and resilience
  • Tradition with respect for ancestors but without being backward looking
  • With rights come responsibilities: some customs to be reformed e.g.: indigenous


ifad and indigenous peoples
IFAD and Indigenous Peoples

IFAD’s Engagement with Indigenous Peoples

instruments to enhance dev effectiveness with ips
Instruments to enhance dev. effectiveness with IPs
  • Policy
  • Country Strategic Opportunities Programmes
  • IFAD-funded projects (loans - grants) – Project design
  • Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF)
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD
9 principles of engagement
9 principles of engagement
  • Acknowledging Cultural heritage and identity as
  • assets
  • Applying Free Prior and Informed Consent
  • Enhancing Community-driven development
  • approaches
  • Valuing Indigenous peoples’ knowledge
  • Promoting equitable access to land, territories
  • and resources
  • Enhancing resilience of IPs’ ecosystems (Environmental issues & climate change)
  • Promoting access to market
  • Empowerment
  • Promoting Gender equality
policy implementation so far
Policy implementation so far
  • We updated our operational guidelines to comply with the Policy;
  • Establishment of the IPs Forum at IFAD;
  • We improved our Quality Enhancement Process in project design to be consistent with the Policy (institutionalizing checklist in project design);
  • Strengthening the IPAF
  • With AIPP developed 8 country technical notes to provide ready access to information and better equip IFAD staff with knowledge and guidance on indigenous peoples’ issues; 16 being prepared in LAC with CADPI; 4 in Africa, IWGIA, 1 India;
  • In cooperation with Christensen Fund, we developed a fellowship agreement with Rome University La Sapienza to host two indigenous students at IFAD for one year.
policy implementation at the project design phase
Policy implementation at the project design phase:

Overall improvement of project design

  • the Policy principles address the main critical points in promoting development initiatives in territories with a significant presence of indigenous peoples.
  • Project design guidelines have been updated on the basis of the Policy
good practice bolivia
Good practice: Bolivia
  • 52 rural municipalities among the poorest in the country
  • Main objective: improvement of the quality of life of approximately 32 000 food-insecure rural households
  • Targeting approach includes:
    • direct targeting to assure inclusion of mainly indigenous poor and very poor families, women and youth;
    • self-targeting through community and inter-community organizations.
  • Specificities for indigenous peoples’ communities
    • enhance IPs rights by strengthening capacities for territorial development with identity, especially in relation to the management of natural resources;
    • Adoption of a demand–driven approach trough “concursos”;
    • Strengthening indigenous peoples’ organizations
    • Specific indicators: FPIC and traditional knowledge in logframe
good practice ecuador
Good practice: Ecuador

9 provinces (Esmeraldas, Manabí, Los Ríos, Guayas, Santa Elena, Imbabura, Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Loja)

Development based on the Andean indigenous concept of sumakkawsay or buenvivir


  • strengthening participatory, territorial planning processes related to food sovereignty at the level of parroquias, comunidadesand territorial social organizations
  • improving capacity of territory-based institutions to investigate, systematize and apply traditional knowledge and practices related to “etno- agroecology”
good practices philippines
Good practices: Philippines
  • 4 regions, nine provinces, 81 municipalities, and 1,332 barangays among the poorest in the country
  • Project Goal: reducing and reversing the severe environmental degradation taking place the Upper River Basins;
  • Targeting: 75% indigenous peoples’ communities
  • The design includes necessary mechanisms to:
    • protect the rights of indigenous peoples such as the application of FPIC;
    • ensure the adoption of community-driven development approaches;
    • recognize Ancestral Domains;
    • promote environmental protection and regeneration.
projects assessment in 2012 by the ips forum at ifad
Projects assessment in 2012 by the IPs Forum at IFAD
  • Project assessment on selected IFAD-funded projects to be carried out by indigenous peoples’ representatives within the framework of the Indigenous Peoples Forum at IFAD
indigenous peoples assistance facility ipaf
Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF)

Innovative funding tool


strengthening indigenous peoples’ communities and their organizations by financing micro-projects that:

foster self-driven development;

generate lessons learned and approaches for replication and up-scaling.

1100 applications recieved

lessons learned and recommendations
Lessons learned and recommendations
  • Ensure staff and divisions are in charge of policy implementation;
  • Adopt road map for policy implementation
  • Ensure close cooperation with indigenous peoples’ representatives at all levels;
  • Ensure advocacy in-house and policy dialogue and advocacy at country level;
  • Adopt ad hoc indicators to capture the specificities of the well-being of indigenous peoples in projects and strategies;