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Launch of the UN Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership (UNIPP)

On May 2011 four United Nations entities (ILO, OHCHR, UNICEF and UNDP) launched the UN-Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership (UNIPP), the first global inter-agency initiative to support country efforts to advance indigenous peoples’ rights. The launch was opened by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Read more

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UNIPP Indigenous Peoples brochure
UNIPP Succes Stories is produced in preparation of UNIPP's Policy Board meeting on the 23 January 2014


The United Nations Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership (UNIPP) is a collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to work together to promote the rights of indigenous peoples. UNIPP will be the first global inter-agency initiative with a programmatic focus on indigenous peoples at the country level, supported and complemented by strategic interventions at regional and international levels. While the initiative was launched by leading agencies involved in the promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights worldwide, UNIPP can be expanded to involve other UN-system agencies that express interest in contributing to its goals and thus make the “One UN” work for indigenous peoples.

UNIPP will support capacities of multiple actors, in particular governments and indigenous peoples and organizations, to establish effective dialogue processes, mechanisms and partnerships aimed at guaranteeing indigenous peoples’ rights.  The UNIPP Multi-Donor Trust Fund was established in May 2010 to advance the goals of UNIPP and generate and manage resources towards these goals.

Despite their rich cultures and identities, indigenous peoples are often among the most marginalized groups in society, deprived of participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives and future. Over generations, indigenous peoples have developed highly specialized knowledge, livelihood strategies and occupations, which are adapted to the conditions of their traditional territories and are thus highly dependent on access to lands, territories and resources. In the context of today’s crisis, indigenous knowledge is critical to the search for new solutions, which link human development, human rights, peace and environmental sustainability. Indigenous peoples are in a unique position to contribute to addressing the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time.

In September 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which acknowledges historical processes of discrimination and exclusion and opens a unique window of opportunity for global reconciliation and true partnership between indigenous peoples, governments and civil society at large. The ILO Convention No. 169 on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, adopted by the ILO in 1989, is fully compatible with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the two instruments provide the solid framework for promoting indigenous peoples’ rights and addressing the existing implementation gaps at all levels.

The provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169 constitute the basis for this Partnership.

The UNIPP Multi-Donor Trust Fund is administered by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in accordance with its financial regulations and rules.


Programme Outline

The joint programmes at the country level are the principal thrust of UNIPP as the Partnership aims at having a direct and lasting impact in the advancement of indigenous peoples’ rights at the local and national levels. Country-level programmes will be supplemented by thematic, regional and global undertakings that can strengthen the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights through research, networking, and capacity-development efforts.

1.Country-level Programmes

The UNIPP will primarily comprise joint country-level programmes whereby Participating UN Organizations collaborate around common programmatic goals. The two complementary priority lines of support are:

A)    Capacity development for the realization of indigenous peoples’ rights in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169: Activities under the Capacity Development Line will be implemented through joint programmes at national level in one or more of the following key thematic areas of intervention:

  • Legislative review and reform.
  • Democratic governance and indigenous peoples’ institutions.
  • Access to justice.
  • Access to land and ancestral territories.
  • Natural resources and extractive industries.

B)    Consultative mechanisms and participatory processes with the State and with United Nations Country Teams. Under this Support Line, priority will be given to:

  • Promoting and establishing participatory and consultative mechanisms in governance structures, which include indigenous peoples’ own representative institutions and aim at ensuring free, prior and informed consent to decisions affecting them, and;
  • Establishing UNCT consultative mechanisms with indigenous peoples, fostering inclusion of their rights into UNCT programs (including CCA/UNDAFs) and promoting spaces of dialogue.

2. Thematic, global and regional support activities

UNIPP will enhance the impact of the country programmes through thematic, global and/or regional activities that will focus on supporting, strengthening and providing a coherent framework for country-level joint programmes. Regional and global activities may include, among others, areas such as indigenous peoples’ leadership, knowledge networks and policy research. 

Key thematic, global and regional support functions to be addressed include: 

  • Research on thematic issues
  • Technical, policy and legal advisory services
  • Knowledge and learning management
  • Networking and exchange of experiences
  • Training and capacity building at regional and global levels



The UNIPP Terms of Reference defines a collaborative framework for coordinated and joint interventions among the participating UN Organizations, indigenous peoples, governments and other partners.

The UNIPP Policy Board provides overall leadership and sets the strategic direction of UNIPP. It articulates and develops the UNIPP Trust Fund policy, deciding the allocation of UNIPP funds and reviewing the progress of joint country programmes in accordance with the Fund’s aforementioned policy priorities and the scope of the UNIPP Collaborative Framework. The UNIPP Policy Board will meet annually or as it is necessary and it will take decisions by consensus.

The UNIPP Technical Secretariat provides support to the UNIPP Policy Board, Participating UN Organizations, and Administrative Agent. It will be tasked with the following activities:

  • Prepare criteria for the selection of countries participating in UNIPP;
  • Develop guidelines for the preparation and submission of country proposals;
  • Review proposals submitted by Participating UN Organizations for completeness and consistency with the UNIPP Collaborative Framework and for consideration by the Policy Board;
  • Transmit approved proposals to the Administrative Agent for fund disbursement;
  • Technical assistance to country offices, with a view to ensuring Fund-wide success and support monitoring processes;
  • Synthesize the narrative reports submitted by Participating UN Organizations each calendar year and upon completion of each UNIPP project;
  • Contribute to ensuring that policies and strategies decided by the UNIPP Policy Board are implemented and adhered to; and
  • Ensure coordination with UNIPP actors at a global scale.

Administration of the UNIPP MDTF is entrusted to the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), as the Administrative Agent that serves as the administrative interface with donors and Participating UN Organizations. UNDP’s accountability as the Administrative Agent is set out in the policy “UNDP’s Accountability when acting as Administrative Agent in MDTFs and/or UN Joint Programmes using the pass-through fund management modality.” (see UNDP performs the AA functions in accordance with the UNDG "Protocol on the Administrative Agent for Multi Donor Trust Funds and Joint Programmes, and One UN Funds". 

Each Participating UN Organization shall assume full programmatic and financial accountability for funds transferred to them by the Administrative Agent and will be responsible for prepare and submit proposals to the UNIPP Technical Secretariat for review; design, implement and oversee projects financed by the UNIPP MDTF; and establish a separate ledger account for the receipt and administration of the funds disbursed to it by the Administrative Agent. Indirect costs of the Participating UN Organizations recovered through programme support costs will be 7%.

National implementation mechanisms

National Steering Committees

The National Steering Committees will include the government, the UN and indigenous peoples’ representatives. The decisions on the specific composition of the Committees will be taken at the country level.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • To review and approve their Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedures, based on the generic Steering Committee Terms of Reference, and update and/or modify them, as necessary, in case of compelling requirements;
  • To review and approve the criteria for the allocation of available resources;
  • To allocate available resources making sure that the allocations are aligned with the UNIPP framework and the strategic development framework of the country and approved national priorities; and
  • To ensure the quality of proposals to receive funding from the UNIPP MDTF.

UN Resident Coordinators

UNIPP will be supported by UN Resident Coordinators in their strategic leadership of the UN Country Team and relationships with national authorities. The UN Resident Coordinators will provide ongoing oversight to the joint programmes at the national level, ensuring the Participating UN organizations are meeting their obligations. The Resident Coordinators are entrusted with supporting the overall programme design, ongoing programmatic oversight of the UNIPP activities and UN coordination.

The UN Resident Coordinator at the country level also facilitates monitoring and evaluation of UNIPP activities at the country level in conformity with UN standards, joint programming documents and related MoUs. On receipt of consolidated country level reports, the Resident Coordinator will provide an overall assessment of the programme’s progress and results within the scope of its role.


Decision Making Process

Based on UNIPP Policy Board policy direction on selection of priority countries, Participating UN Organizations in selected countries will be invited to develop Joint Programme documents in consultation with indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples’ organizations at the outset of the process, including the identification and design stages.  The draft Joint Programme proposal will then be submitted to the Technical Secretariat for review in line with design guidelines and standards.

The Joint Programmes will then be presented to the UNIPP Policy Board for substantive review, final decision and budget approval. The UNIPP Policy Board may decide to approve the proposals, approve proposal with modifications/conditions, defer/return with comments for further considerations or reject proposal. The Policy Board may also seek technical comments on the draft document from external partners and recognized experts in the field.

On receipt of the UNIPP Policy Board’s joint programme approval, the representatives of country/regional offices of the Participating UN Organizations will proceed with the signing of the Joint Programme document. On receipt of UNIPP Policy Board’s approval of a joint programme and a copy of the signed Joint Programme document accompanied by the joint program budget, the MPTF Office acting as Administrative Agent will pass funds to the Participating UN Organization(s). Periodic reviews of joint programme management and finances will be undertaken jointly with the Joint Programme Technical Committee.

Government and civil society partners such as indigenous peoples’ organizations will have the possibility of accessing to UNIPP through one of the Participating UN Organizations. Indigenous peoples and civil society organizations can also act as grantees or implementing partners through the correspondent project agreements.

Recent Documents

This tab shows only recent documents relevant at the Fund level. To see more documents at both the fund and project level go to the Document Center.

Key Figures
Funding Status
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Total as of
Values in US$
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Funds with Administrative Agent
Contributions from Donors 2,096,648  
Interest and Investment Income (from Fund) 8,222  
Interest (from Participating Organizations) 0  
Refunds by Administrative Agent to Contributors -201,925  
Total source of funds   1,902,946
Transferred to Participating Organizations 1,350,508  
Refunds from Participating Organizations -104,360  
Administrative Agent Fee 20,967  
Direct Cost 635,766  
Bank Charges 65  
Total use of funds   1,902,946
Balance with Administrative Agent   0
As a percentage of deposits   0%
Funds with Participating Organizations
Transfers to Participation Organizations 2,000,579  
Total resources   2,000,579
Participating Organizations' Expenditure 1,881,914  
Refunds from Participating Organizations -118,664  
Total expenses     2,000,579
Balance with Participating Organizations   0
As a percentage of transfers   0%
Total Balance of Funds   0
As a percentage of deposits   0%
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For Policy and Programme Issues

  • Mr. Emanuele Sapienza, Coordinator, Fund Technical Secretariat; Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP; Tel:  1-212-906-5014; Email:


For Fund Administrative Agent Issues

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau for Management Services, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990;  

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