Investing in Indigenous Children’s Human Capital to Secure Sustainable Development for All

This Policy Brief was first published in https://t20ind.org


International and civil society organisations have underscored that indigenous people are poorer and more food insecure than most others (International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2019; International Labour Organization). These outcomes are deep-rooted, stemming from unrecognised rights, lack of political representation and voice, and generations of marginalisation. Although the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process is an improvement over the Millennium Development Goals in its attention to indigenous groups (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2017), much remains to be done. SDG targets will only matter if the indigenous groups can also achieve them. Efforts to improve the well-being of indigenous people should prioritise their children. The intergenerational link of poverty can only be broken if indigenous children are healthy, intelligent, and have the agency to improve their well-being. Therefore, adequate investments in healthcare and quality education are the necessary foundations. Beyond that, special care is needed to ensure that all policies and interventions are grounded in the culture and traditions of indigenous groups. Considering the voice and opinions of indigenous groups will increase the chance that investments and programmes are effective, efficient, and sustainable. This policy brief recommends the G20 consider three activities to achieve these goals: (i) provide technical and financial support for member countries to implement an annual, representative, multiple indicator household survey of indigenous groups, especially children, in their countries; (ii) increase the voice of and attention to indigenous people, and; (iii) support member countries in designing and rigorously evaluating interventions to address specific challenges faced by indigenous children.

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