There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples 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.  
Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment.  Indigenous peoples’ conceptualization of health and well-being is generally broader and more holistic, with health frequently viewed as both an individual and a collective right, strongly determined by community, land and the natural environment.  Article 24 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to their traditional medicines, to maintain their health practices and to access social and health services without discrimination.  
In order to raise awareness of the needs of these population groups, including their health needs, every 9 August commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, chosen in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations held in Geneva in 1982.  
2022 Virtual Commemoration
Poster of virtual commemoration of 2022 International Day of the World's Indigenous People
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is organizing a virtual commemoration of the International Day from 9 am to 11am (EST) on Tuesday, 9 August 2022, focusing on this year’s theme: “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”. Indigenous Peoples, Member States, UN entities, civil society, and the public are all invited.  
Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge around the environment, traditional medicines, food systems, preservation of language and cultural heritage.  
The virtual commemoration will include an interactive dialogue segment with invited speakers, moderated by Ms Rosemary Lane, Acting Chief of the Indigenous Peoples Development Branch – Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Speakers will share their expertise and experience from their indigenous communities in preserving, reviving, retaining, and transmitting the traditional ancestral knowledge in various fields of communal activities, including but not limited to effective and sustainable climate solutions, use of natural resources, protection of biodiversity, ensuring food security, promoting native languages and culture, and managing indigenous science and medicine.
A message from Dr Tedros in celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022

Download the event flyer
More information on the event
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) 
Tackling structural racism and ethnicity-based discrimination in health
Virtual indigenous peoples panel discussion: Inputs to the Report on Health and Nature-Based Solutions 
Indigenous peoples and tackling health inequities: WHO side event at the 21st session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Webinar: Social participation, inclusion and community engagement approaches for the health of indigenous peoples in rural and remote areas
Frontier dialogue consultations on addressing structural racial and ethnicity-based discrimination 
Health equity
Human rights


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