NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992
Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum
[ Back to Contents ]
[ Previous Treaty ] [ Next
Treaty 43. International Treaty between Non-Governmental Organizations
and Indigenous Peoples
1. Considering the Declarations and Documents prepared in numerous Indigenous Peoples'
meetings such as the Paris Declaration (1991) and the Earth Charter of the Indigenous
Peoples (Kari-Oca, 1992) where it is stated: "We, the Indigenous Peoples of the world
since the times of our ancestors, have constructed a culture, a civilization, a history
and a vision of the world that has allowed us to coexist in a harmonious way with
2. This process was interrupted by the invasion of Indigenous territories in various
parts of the world, which has caused genocide, negation and destruction of our cultures,
violations of human rights and racial discrimination. At the present time, Indigenous
Peoples are being affected by the imposition of economic development models by the West.
In this context, some NGOs have imposed their models through different projects,
contributing to the destruction of the environment and the cultures of Indigenous Peoples.
3. Territory. Indigenous Peoples were placed on our Mother Earth to be with the
creator: belonging to the Earth, we cannot be separated from our lands and territories.
For this reason, Indigenous Peoples have inalienable rights to their territories and the
resources and biodiversity that they contain.
4. Self-determination. Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples is one of the
essential bases for liberty, justice and peace, in each country as well as
internationally. Without recognition of this right, democracy cannot be claimed. On the
international level, the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination must be
recognized and respect given to their traditional systems of self-government.
5. Economy and Environment. For centuries Indigenous Peoples have had an intimate
relationship with nature, based upon respect, interdependence and equilibrium. For this
reason, these peoples have developed economic, social and cultural models that respect
nature without destroying it. These models provide for management and collective
appropriation of natural resources based on community participation and solidarity.
6. Education, Culture and Spirituality.
a. Education is an exchange of wisdom and cultural values in continuous harmony between
nature and humankind, respect for traditional languages and Indigenous customs.
b. Culture is a whole in which all aspects necessary for a dignified existence are
joined, just as a plant needs soil, water, air and sunlight for its integral development.
c. Spirituality is based on the interrelationship of the cycles of life. Respect is the
principle that regulates the relations between human beings and their relationship with
nature. Relations between Indigenous and non-indigenous cultures should be established
according to these principles.
7. Considering all the principles enunciated above, Indigenous Peoples and NGOs agree
to the following statements and action:
8. NGOs commit themselves to support the demarcation of indigenous territories,
believing that this provides a real guarantee of biodiversity.
9. Indigenous Peoples assume responsibility for guaranteeing the continuity of the
values and systems that permit a harmonious relationship between humankind and nature,
resulting in the effective protection of the environment. They also commit themselves to
continue the system of collective property in Indigenous territories.
10. Since Indigenous Peoples demand the recognition of self-determination, NGOs should
promote this recognition on the local, national and international levels, including rights
to autonomy and self-government. In this way, NGOs will support Indigenous institutions
and organizations of Indigenous Peoples, promoting in their respective countries the
equitable participation of Indigenous Peoples in governmental institutions, to ensure that
States will be multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic.
11. Indigenous Peoples commit themselves to support the struggles of other peoples.
12. NGOs commit themselves to respect, value and promote the economic and development
systems of Indigenous Peoples, including their traditional technologies, ensuring the
recognition of intellectual property rights of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge,
traditional technologies for maintaining biodiversity and the other elements and
patrimonies of their cultures. They also commit themselves to avoid imposing Western
economic systems and values based on the market economy through their projects.
13. Indigenous Peoples will promote the diffusion of their economic systems and models
of development to effect necessary social changes. They will teach other social sectors
their traditional technologies which harmonize the relationships between humankind and
nature, as a way of fighting poverty and improving the quality of life.
14. NGOs commit themselves not to carry action plans that imply the imposition of the
dominant culture on the education, culture and religion of Indigenous Peoples. They will
promote and stimulate the cultural values of Indigenous Peoples through multilingual
education, intercultural dialogue and respect for Indigenous spirituality.
15. As a sign of cooperation, NGO donors will financially support Indigenous programs
and projects, giving priority to those programs that promote communities and their
16. Priority should be given to programs that finance demarcation of Indigenous
territories, strengthening of traditional political systems, plans for education, health
and development carried out by Indigenous Peoples, promotion of Indigenous women and
children, as well as a commercial system among Indigenous Peoples and other social
17. Indigenous Peoples guarantee that resources intended for cooperation will be
directed to Indigenous communities for their development and to provide solutions to their
18. In conclusion, we agree and affirm that we should move in a new direction that will
contribute to genuinely sustainable development. Both Indigenous Peoples and NGOs will
fundamentally change our relationships, creating relationships of equality, in order to
correct the errors of the past 500 years.
[ Back to Contents ]
[ Previous Treaty ] [ Next
[ Home ] [ E-mail ]