Calling to support indigenous peoples in COVID-19 response

Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2020

In a statement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues called to include indigenous peoples needs and input in response efforts around the world.

As COVID-19 spreads across different areas of the world, the pandemic is compounding the precarious situation in which many indigenous peoples already found themselves. Indigenous peoples are three times more likely to be living in extreme poverty, making it harder for them to buy and store food, or to sustain themselves whilst they are unable to work.

They also face limited access to quality and culturally accessible health services, limiting their capacities to either test and identify cases of infection or treat those who may become infected. The lack of recognition of millions of indigenous peoples in some countries may also prevent them from accessing basic public services, and economic compensation packages.

Indigenous women risk being disproportionately impacted due to their prominent roles in the informal economy and as care givers. Yet, they are also indispensable partners in fighting the pandemic.

In the recently published statement, the Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues calls on leveraging indigenous women and people’s contributions by:

  • Ensuring that indigenous women benefit equally from social protection and stimulus interventions, and are addressed in measures to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.
  • preventing and responding to violence which is escalating as result of stay at home policies;
  • and ensuring that already burdened health systems do not result in an escalation of the existing alarming rates of maternal mortality among indigenous women and adolescent girls

Read the full IASG statement here and UN Women’s guidance on indigenous women and the MultiPartner Trust Fund here.