The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2023: Highlighting Youth and Climate Change

The 9th day of August commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, as adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December 1994. This date also reflects when the first meeting of the UN Working Group of Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights was held in 1982.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.” Self-determination is foundational to Articles 1 and 2 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and works with the right to self-govern. Many Indigenous Youth are engaging in land stewardship practices and social, cultural, and economic matters in their own communities and schools or are learning how to do so. Some are already leaders engaging in climate action on the global stage.

As part of this year’s commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, The United Nations has identified three areas informing the right to self-determination of Indigenous Youth; these are:

  • Climate action and the green transition.
  • Mobilizing for justice
  • Intergenerational connections

While these three themes are interrelated, the theme of climate change and the green transition aims to recognize the different roles that Indigenous Youth play in contributing to their own families and to sustaining their communities, and how youth are integral to facilitating a transition to alternative energy solutions. Look for the commemorations online on August 9th.


By Leela Viswanathan


(Image Credit: Li An Lim, Unsplash)