Launch of the GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group

July 9, 2013

On 2-3 July 2013, the GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group held its first meeting at Washington DC, USA at the GEF Secretariat.  This was an important milestone in implementing the GEF Principles and Guidelines for the engagement with Indigenous Peoples; a paper that was adopted in September 2012 to further enhance GEF's engagement with Indigenous Peoples in its projects and policies.   
The key objective of the GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group is to provide advice to the GEF Indigenous Peoples focal point on the operationalization and reviewing of the Principles and Guidelines paper, particularly on the appropriate modality to enhance dialogue among the Indigenous Peoples, GEF Partner Agencies, GEF Secretariat and other experts.  The Advisory Group is consisted of the following members, including Indigenous Peoples, expert, and representative of the GEF Agencies.

  • Ms. Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Center
  • Ms. Mrinalini Rai, Chiang Mai University
  • Mr. Marcial Arias Garcia, Policy Advisor, International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests  
  • Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Representative of the GEF NGO Network)
  • Mr. Gonzalo Oviedo, Senior Advisor, Social Policy Program, IUCN (Expert)
  • Mr. Terence Hay-Edie, Programme Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (GEF Agency Principal Representative); and Mr. Carlos Perez-Brito, Social Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (GEF Agency Alternate Representative).  
  • Ms. Yoko Watanabe, Indigenous Peoples Focal Point and Senior Biodiversity Specialist, GEF Secretariat

At the opening session of the meeting, Dr. Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, welcomed the members and reemphasized the partnership and important role of Indigenous Peoples in addressing global environmental issues, particularly the drivers of environmental degradation.  The meeting agreed on and finalized the Terms of Reference of the Advisory Group and its workplan for the next two years.  The members also had constructive discussion and inputs on the draft GEF-6 Programming Paper, including interaction with staff from each GEF Focal Area.  Further, the Advisory Group discussed on potential financial arrangements to strengthen Indigenous Peoples involvement in GEF projects, capacity development opportunities, and participation in key events to highlight its work.   
Ms Lucy Mulenkei was selected as the Chair of the Advisory Group for the next year, based on her extensive experience and knowledge on GEF and related Conventions.  The Advisory Group will continue with the discussion and provide further advice on the implementation of the Principles and Guidelines paper.  The next meeting is planned later in the year, sometime around November.


GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group members: Lucy Mulenkei, Marcial Arias Garcia, Mrinalini Rai, and Legborsi Saro Pyagbara