International Days celebrated by UNESCO – United Nations

49/214. International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “International Days” to mark important aspects of human life and history.
List of all days celebrated by the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies: International Days >>

The General Assembly,

Bearing in mind that one of the purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, is the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Recognizing the value and diversity of the cultures and the forms of social organization of the world’s indigenous people,

Recognizing the value and diversity of the cultures and the forms of social organization of the world’s indigenous people, Recalling its resolution 48/163 of 21 December 1993, by which it proclaimed the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, commencing on 10 December 1994,

Conscious of the need to improve the economic, social and cultural situation of the indigenous people, with full respect for their distinctiveness and their own initiatives […]

Recalling that, beginning in the first year of the Decade, one day of every year shall be observed as the International Day of Indigenous People,

Welcoming the recommendation of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights that the International Day be observed every year on 9 August, that date being the anniversary of the first day of the meeting of the Working Group in 1982,

Also welcoming the appointment of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights as Coordinator for the Decade,

Recognizing the importance of considering the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people within the United Nations system in the framework of the Decade, and recalling that the Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 1994/28 of 4 March 1994, 1/ requested the Working Group to give priority consideration to the possible establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people, […]

Convinced that the development of indigenous people within their countries will contribute to the socio-economic, cultural and environmental advancement of all the countries of the world, Recognizing that indigenous people can and should be able through appropriate mechanisms to make their distinct contributions to humanity […]

Source: General Assembly, United Nations, A/RES/49/214, 17 February 1995
Date visited: 14 June 2020

For up-to-date information, visit the UN-website here >>

By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

The UN General Assembly had proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, and the same year, the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, starting on 10 December 1994 (resolution 48/163). The goal of the First International Decade was to strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health.

Source: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples | United Nations For Indigenous Peoples
Date Visited: 3 January 2022

Reaching the Furthest Behind First – Identifying vulnerable and marginalised communities

For the UNSDF, the most vulnerable communities identified in consultation with the government and other development partners, include, but are not be limited to: households in extreme poverty, both rural and urban; households residing in urban slums and informal settlements; vulnerable women, children, and young people (15-29 years), especially those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; orphans and street children; manual scavengers, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers; the elderly; displaced populations; religious and other minorities; people with disabilities; the LGBTI community, sex workers and drug users; people in prisons; and persons living with HIV.

Source: Sustainable Development Framework, 2018-2022, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND THE UNITED NATIONS, United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office
Date visited: 14 June 2020

There are over 700 tribes (with overlapping communities in more than one State) which have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different States and Union Territories of the country. The largest number of main tribal communities (62) has been specified in relation to the State of Orissa. The Scheduled Tribes have been specified in relation to all the States and Union Territories except Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Pondicherry.

Source: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Government of India (Ministry of Tribal Affairs)
Date visited: 14 September 2021

There has been some changes in the List of Scheduled Tribes in States/ UTs during the last decade. 

Source: “Scheduled Tribes in India as revealed in Census 2011” by C. Chandramouli (Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs), 3 May 2013
Document: “23scheduledTribesIndiaRevealedInCensus2011EN20170503.pdf”
Date visited: 13 January 2022

Article 342 in the Constitution of India

  • Provides for specification of tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which are deemed to be for the purposes of the Constitution the Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory.
  • In pursuance of these provisions, the list of Scheduled Tribes are notified for each State or Union Territory and are valid only within the jurisdiction of that State or Union Territory and not outside.
  • Scheduled Tribes are notified in 30 States/UTs
  • Number of individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as Scheduled Tribes is 705
  • There has been some changes in the List of Scheduled Tribes in States/ UTs during the last decade

Source: “Article 342 Constitution of India”
Date visited: 13 January 2022

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

There is a need to explore the tribal consciousness in the backdrop of climate change, development, and deforestation.

Deepanwita Gita Niyogi in “India’s Adivasi Identity in Crisis” Pulitzer Center May 27, 2021 >>
More about climate change | Illegal mining >>

Tip: health and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets: “The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious” >>

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