Mind the gaps : studying the absence of indigenous policies in major INGOs




Kalmbach, Amy Booth

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Indigenous peoples are garnering more focus on the world stage, and as such it is critical to understand their role in development. Indigenous peoples are especially impoverished, and often face institutionalized discrimination by their governments and other forces. This repression, limited access to services, and resource predation endanger indigenous peoples’ lives and livelihoods. I attempted to identify indigenous peoples’ policies in seven major development international non-governmental organizations, and after finding none upon document research and staff interviews, propose theories for why this could be the case. I compare international non-governmental organizations’ lack of policies to the presence of policies in international organizations. The difference between these two types of organizations formed the base of my theories, which were based primarily around the organizational structure and the different types of pressure and expectations that they face. I argue, though, that international non-governmental organizations should have indigenous peoples’ policies for several reasons including the improvement seen in international organizations’ treatment of indigenous peoples and the importance of accountability and transparency in the development process. The Report finishes by suggesting avenues to test the theories proposed, and plans for indigenous advocates.



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