Roundtable discussion at the Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development 2022

Indigenous peoples, climate change and the role of decent work for a just and peaceful transition

As part of the Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development (23-25 May 2022), the ILO, together with the Indigenous Major Group for Sustainable Development and the Right Energy Partnership with Indigenous Peoples, facilitated an online roundtable session on indigenous peoples, climate change and the role of decent work for a just and peaceful transition.


The impacts of climate change are numerous and threaten to further exacerbate inequalities and vulnerabilities faced by indigenous communities. Some climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, when implemented without adequate participation of indigenous peoples, for example sustainable energy projects, can negatively impact on indigenous peoples. Support for indigenous peoples’ livelihoods, economic activities as means for adaptation and mitigation is often lacking. Addressing this is particularly challenging in fragile and conflict-affected contexts in which indigenous peoples are often exposed to violence, particularly women; and taken together, these emerging risks can also in their turn perpetuate instability, exacerbate conflict drivers, and undermine the resilience of indigenous communities. Absence of dialogue, consultation and participation in decision-making is one of critical root causes for exclusion of indigenous communities from the benefits of public policies, including as regards equal access to employment, decent work and social protection, entrenching and causing further impoverishment. Land-related tensions and conflicts remain frequent, combined with a lack of access to remedies.

Roundtable participants

Lead discussants:
  • Mr. Oscar Pérez Ramirez, Vice Minister of Sustainable Development, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Guatemala
  • Ms. Lucy Mulenkei, Vice President, International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI)
  • Mr. Ivan Zambrana Flores, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations in New York
  • Ms. Joan Carling, Executive Director of the Right Energy Partnership with Indigenous Peoples
Moderator: Ms. Manuela Tomei, Director, Conditions of Work and Equality Department, ILO

Recording of the session


Highlights from the discussion

Discussants highlighted a number of areas for future strategic action to address the above-mentioned challenges. These areas included the following:
  • Safeguarding, leveraging and learning from indigenous peoples’ knowledge and practices. The discussants stressed the importance to recognise indigenous peoples as crucial agents of change and essential partners and allies for sustaining peace, inclusive development and the success of policies and measures directed towards mitigating and adapting to climate change.
  • Applying rights-based approaches, as a just and peaceful transition, and conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts, needs to be anchored in the full respect and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Effective and meaningful participation in decision-making, as envisaged in the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) and the ILO Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205) should embrace a long-term, inclusive and integrated approach and take place in an enabling institutional environment to strengthen the opportunities to find common solutions.
  • Strengthened, comprehensive support to indigenous peoples in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The need to develop and implement support measures and programmes with the involvement and participation of both indigenous women and men, indigenous youths and well as indigenous persons with disabilities was stressed.
  • Dialogue, collaboration and partnerships are key to build trust and create common visions for a sustainable and resilient future. Discussants emphasised that there is no time for business as usual and that a paradigm shift and redefined relationships between key partners, including governments, indigenous peoples, corporate actors, and other international, national and local actors is needed.
From the ILO’s side, CSPR and GEDI co-led the ILO’s involvement in the Stockholm Forum 2022. The session on indigenous peoples, climate change and the role of decent work for a just and peaceful transition contributes to the implementation of Recommendation 205 which pays particular attention to indigenous and tribal peoples, among other groups.