The Role Of World’s Indigenous Peoples

indigenous peoples


There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries.

They speak a majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

WIPO has a program reaching out to indigenous peoples. It aims to encourage and empower indigenous people to use intellectual property (IP) tools strategically, if they so wish. Thus, they protect their traditional knowledge and cultural expressions for their own benefit and in line with their specific social, cultural and developmental needs.

WIPO’s activities in this field further Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) which provides that Indigenous Peoples have the right to “maintain, control, protect and develop their IP over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions”. The activities include practical workshops, distance learning courses and trainings, and the dissemination of briefs and practical guides.

Source: UN & WIPO