Many cultural and natural World Heritage sites are home to indigenous peoples. As the UNESCO policy on engaging with indigenous peoples recognizes, World Heritage sites are often located within land managed by indigenous peoples whose land use, knowledge and cultural and spiritual values and practices are related to heritage. Inspired by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the UNESCO policy embraces the right of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands, territories and recognizes traditional management systems as part of new management approaches. It describes indigenous peoples as stewards of a significant part of the world’s biological, cultural and linguistic diversity and as partners in site conservation and protection activities.
In line with the UNDRIP and UNESCO policy, the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention recognize the role of indigenous peoples in identifying, managing, protecting and presenting World Heritage. In this spirit, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum for World Heritage functions as a reflection platform on involving indigenous peoples in the identification, conservation and management of World Heritage properties, as noted by the World Heritage Committee at 41st session (Kraków, 2017).
In particular, the Operational Guidelines recognize
Several milestones were achieved in the course of a constantly evolving interpretation of the World Heritage Convention flank the considerations of the Operational Guidelines:
The World Heritage Committee,