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International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Activities and Programs

IWGIA''s Activities

IWGIA works at local, regional and international levels to further the understanding and knowledge of, and the involvement in, the cause of indigenous peoples.

Through publications, human rights work, networking, conferences, campaigns and projects, IWGIA supports indigenous peoples in their struggle to improve general life conditions, to better relationships with the nation states of which they are part, and to influence the global economic and political forces that affect their lives. IWGIA has established a network of indigenous and non-indigenous organisations and people. These partnerships are based on thorough knowledge and equal respect. Regular networking trips are undertaken both by indigenous  persons and IWGIA''s project co-ordinators.


Publication and dissemination of information have been the core activities of IWGIA from the very beginning. IWGIA has for more than 30 years published a substantial number of books and a quarterly journal in English and Spanish. IWGIA continues to be at the forefront of reflecting the most crucial issues of concern to indigenous peoples. IWGIA''s publications are written by indigenous and non-indigenous experts on culture, society, colonial history, international law and human rights.

Human Rights, Projects, Conferences and Political work

Human Rights
IWGIA plays an important role in facilitating indigenous peoples'' participation in meetings at the United Nations.

Main activities within the human rights field are centred around the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Commission on Human Rights. IWGIA supports indigenous peoples'' participation in the meetings. This is done through financial support from the Human Rights Fund. IWGIA has played a facilitating role in the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in the process of the establishment of a Permanent Forum for indigenous peoples. In connection with this process IWGIA has organized a number of regional conferences.

IWGIA collaborates with indigenous organisations in the planning, implementation and monitoring of projects. Generally the projects aim at empowering indigenous peoples to build and develop their own organisations and influence their future. Capacity building, education and/or legal assistance in asserting human rights, land rights and the right to sustainable development are the main components of IWGIA''s projects.

IWGIA is engaged in projects with indigenous groups on all of the continents. IWGIA supports a few largescale and a number of smaller projects throughout the world.

IWGIA facilitates indigenous participation in meetings and conferences on indigenous issues both within the UN and on a more regional basis. Most regional conferences are arranged in collaboration with indigenous organisations. Conferences are an important activity in IWGIA''s efforts to strengthen the global dialogue between indigenous peoples and their governments. The purpose of the conferences are to:

- establish links and dialogue between indigenous peoples cross-continentally, and between indigenous peoples and their governments;

- provide a forum for analysis and exchange of information and viewpoints on the situation of indigenous peoples;

- formulate strategies and policies that can be used by indigenous peoples in their struggle for their rights. IWGIA also attends relevant conference with the aim of promoting our publications or raising awareness about indigenous issues and human rights among scholars and experts.

Political work
IWGIA seeks to raise awareness among politicians and governments about indigenous peoples. This is done through dissemination of information, dialogue and political lobbying via conversations with government representatives, politicians and other influential persons. Political lobbyism is seen as an important way of putting indigenous issues on the political agenda and to monitor that the policies are being acted upon.

IWGIA''s Journal and Yearbook

The quarterly journal, Indigenous Affairs, contains articles written by experts and activists. The journal is thematically focussed around issues of relevance to indigenous peoples. The journal offers in-depth coverage and discussion of themes such as poverty, urbanisation, sustainable development, thus providing an intimate understanding of indigenous peoples the world over.

The yearbook, The Indigenous World, is published in May every year. First published in 1986, this unique yearbook has updates on the state of affairs of indigenous peoples around the world.

With reports on crucial issues such as territorial rights, indigenous movements and human rights from all corners of the world, the book gives an overview of developments that each year impact on indigenous peoples.

IWGIA publishes mainly in English and Spanish. However, IWGIA has also published in French, Kiswahili (East Africa), Tagalok (Philippines), Bahasa Indonesia, Thai and Danish. Read more or order IWGIA''s publications.

The IWGIA Library

IWGIA''s extensive collection of literature on indigenous issues is open to the public. The library and documentation centre is situated at the secretariat, Classensgade 11E, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. The library also keeps an index of all articles published in Indigenous Affairs from 1971 to the most recent issues of the journal.

We have also started adding books to LibraryThing but so far it is mostly IWGIA''s own publications.

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