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Role of Business Highlighted During First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

(New York, 22 September 2014) – As indigenous leaders from around the world convened today for the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the UN Global Compact and Tribal Link Foundation convened a roundtable event on “Business and Support for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.

Private sector representatives including from Microsoft, Estee Lauder, Equitable Origin, and the American Indian Enterprise and Business Council shared perspectives on business and indigenous peoples’ rights, for example on ways business can go beyond the minimum responsibility to respect to positively support indigenous peoples’ rights. Businesses presented best practices such as genuine business engagement with indigenous peoples to ensure their participation in decision-making, and support for the maintenance of indigenous cultures and languages. Participants also emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration and expressed interest for additional opportunities to engage in dialogue on business and engagement with indigenous peoples.

The World Conference gathered as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly’s 69th session. The conference drew over one thousand indigenous and non-indigenous delegates, who shared perspectives on the realization of their rights, including pursuing the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007.

At the World Conference, an action-oriented outcome document was agreed upon regarding the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples and the promotion of the achievement of internationally agreed development goals. Among other provisions, the outcome document recalls the “responsibility of business to respect all applicable laws and international principles, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to operate transparently and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”

The UN Global Compact has two resources, the Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Good Practice Note on Free, Prior and Informed Consent, which aim to help companies understand indigenous peoples’ rights, and ways to respect and support these rights.

  • Learn more about how business can respect and support indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • For more information on the Global Compact and Tribal Link event, view the agenda.



Michelle Lau
UN Global Compact

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