IWGIA is a non-governmental human rights organisation promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ collective and individual rights. 

We believe that Indigenous Peoples as rights holders are powerful agents of change. Our partnership with their organisations and institutions is at the centre of all our work.

Indigenous Peoples today, in all parts of the world, are still fighting discrimination and targeted violence, struggling against a shrinking civic space, lacking recognition of their rights as peoples, and suffering from land dispossession, evictions and the negative consequences of climate change and conservation efforts.

Together with allies, and in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, our core ambition is that Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land, territories and resources and their self-determined development are promoted, respected and protected.

We implement four focused and results-driven thematic programmes to drive change with and for our partners.


Despite being recognised for their environmental stewardship, Indigenous Peoples are not only disproportionally affected by climate change, they are also increasingly negatively impacted by top-down mitigation and adaptation efforts on their lands and territories.

IWGIA’s Climate Change programme strives to ensure that the impact of climate change and climate action on Indigenous Peoples’ rights is promptly addressed and remedied, while simultaneously guaranteeing that Indigenous Peoples themselves are acknowledged and consulted as key actors in realising their rights and contributors to climate change solutions through their knowledge.


Indigenous Peoples are losing their lands every day, and this has particularly devastating effects on Indigenous women. Indigenous Peoples are being criminalised, harassed or even killed for attempting to protect their territories.

IWGIA’s Land Defence and Defenders programme leverages Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to safely and securely claim and exercise their rights to land, territories and natural resources at national, regional and international levels.


Indigenous territorial self-government or autonomy is an exercise in selfdetermination.

IWGIA’s Territorial Governance programme reinforces the creation and consolidation of Indigenous self-governance and autonomy. It promotes dialogue with national authorities and international human rights mechanisms for the recognition of Indigenous governments and supports their articulation of diverse autonomous experiences.


Indigenous Peoples’ rights have been recognised at the international level. However, for Indigenous Peoples’ rights to be respected and protected, they must be recognised and operationalised at national and local levels.

IWGIA’s Global Governance programme strengthens global-to-local linkages between national and international processes across all its thematic programmes. Knowledge of international processes and legal instruments for redress of human rights violations helps strengthen the position and demands of Indigenous Peoples towards states, enabling them to seek redress. This programme also strengthens Indigenous Peoples’ participation in and contribution to relevant global decision-making processes, such as implementation of the 2030 Agenda.


We implement three cross-cutting and integrated methodologies to further strengthen our four thematic programmes and ensure we take a bottom-up approach. We do so by building flexibility within our programming, ensuring we apply a focus on Indigenous women in all our work and investing in data generation and analysis to enhance our monitoring tools.


We operate a Small Grants Facility (SGF), which is a cornerstone of our modus operandi. The objective of the SGF is to provide an instrument that allows us to respond flexibly to the needs and opportunities defined by Indigenous Peoples’ organisations. This allows us to work in a bottom-up, partner-driven way, reacting swiftly and flexibly to urgent needs on the ground.

SGF-supported projects fall within our overall goals and priorities as spelled out in this Institutional Strategy, with an overarching focus on strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land, territories and natural resources and to selfdetermined development. In line with our priorities, they will also have a focus on the inclusion and empowerment of women and youth.

IWGIA will grow and expand the SGF by attracting more partners and financial resources to bolster our support to Indigenous organisations and movements on the ground.


Indigenous women experience a broad, multifaceted and complex spectrum of mutually reinforcing human rights abuses. They are disproportionately affected by systemic discrimination, excluded from local and national political processes, and the targets of multiple forms of violence.

We will provide assistance and support to projects directly developed and implemented by Indigenous women’s organisations that focus on empowering Indigenous women and strengthening their leadership through awareness raising, civic education, and supporting their participation in the development and review of legislation, policies and practices that affect them. We will also pay particular attention to Indigenous women in relation to the prevention and elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, access to justice and remedies.

Additionally, we will, through our Indigenous Navigator project, contribute to the development of comprehensive and disaggregated data on violence and discrimination against Indigenous women, including their access to justice and to economic, social and cultural rights, as well as other quantitative and qualitative information that may be relevant to ensure their human rights.

We will also develop methodological tools to ensure that Indigenous women are part of all our projects and programmes. To achieve this, we will carry out a gender audit, update our gender policy and ensure all our partners are aware of and sensitised to the inclusion of Indigenous women.

Read more about our work, articles and publications on Indigenous women here


The world lacks the full picture of the marginalisation and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples due to a lack of disaggregated data. Indigenous Peoples are therefore often left behind when general development trends in a country do not take into consideration their unique socioeconomic and political circumstances. As the human rights-based approach to development has shown, if there is no disaggregated data on Indigenous Peoples, they will remain invisible, their rights will continue to be disregarded in the context of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and they will be left behind.

IWGIA engages with data on multiple levels. More than simply generating data, IWGIA shares critical data, ensures data quality is preserved – building trust and legitimacy – and drives discourse forward on data standards in relation to Indigenous Data Sovereignty. These multiple levels of data generation and management allow us to produce critical documentation work that drives forward our advocacy and to develop monitoring frameworks that can better understand and recognise the implementation gap in relation to Indigenous Peoples’ rights, as guaranteed by international mechanisms. Such uses can be seen in the Indigenous Navigator initiative, which directly addresses the implementation gap through the collection and use of data in advocacy efforts and project design for Indigenous communities and organisations. The initiative also focuses on the role of data at the local level and how it can serve to empower Indigenous communities through, for example, environmental monitoring by communities or determining their own locally and culturally appropriate well-being indicators.

By ensuring that our partners have access to raw data and the ability to produce, interpret and refine it into usable outputs, IWGIA is making certain that data becomes more than just numbers or characters, and instead evolves into a meaningful tool for change.

IWGIA aims to strengthen our capacity to collect, analyse and communicate data so that we are better positioned to provide focused, specific support to our global network while fortifying international and global advocacy efforts that rely on quantitative and qualitative analysis. By 2025, we aim to increase our data capacity for monitoring, reporting and evaluation in our various initiatives and products, including The Indigenous World and Indigenous Navigator.



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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