The 9th August is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
According to the UN there are around 370 million Indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures. This year’s theme is Indigenous Languages.
Indigenous peoples are home to and have cultural responsibilities to enormous areas of important land, water and coastal biodiversity and cultural heritage. Many Indigenous peoples still face violence, dispossession, land degradation and the loss of basic rights. On the plus side more and more groups are using new technologies and working in partnership with NGOs and governments to better protect their lands and established protected areas which is helping to reduce impacts and ensure the irreplaceable values of these areas are maintained into the future. There are many, many problems but equally many determined to do their best to improve the situation. If all of us unite to help Indigenous people remain in their homelands and carry out their traditions of caring for those lands, the outcomes will be better for all of us and those of the future.