Indigenous Peoples and Water:

Joint Commitments to transforming water governance, climate adaptation and biodiversity

Official Side event: 2023 UN Water Conference

Side Event Logo Panel 4
Date and Time: 23 March 2023, 13:30 - 14:50 (EST)
Venue: Doha Conference Room (304 E 45th ST, 11th Floor) UNDP, New York, NY, USA
Type: Physical (Interventions) + Online (YouTube)
  • Interpretation available in Spanish, French and English
  • Interpretación disponible en español, francés e inglés
  • Interprétation disponible en espagnol, français et anglais

Note: Registering to participate in person for this event gives access to the UNDP building only. It does not give access to the UN Headquarters. 

The YouTube link will be shared on the day of the event.

About the event

Indigenous Peoples have been managing and governing water resources since time immemorial, from places with abundant water to semi and arid environments, in all global regions. Though there has been some research on indigenous knowledge of water, overall, most of the traditional and contemporary efforts, values, capacity and commitments remain undocumented or little known to decision-makers and scientists.

Through a series of diverse regional case studies, the side event aims to outline current practices and a road map for new approaches and new commitments to an inclusive, rights based and multiple evidence approach to water management and governance, with special attention to sustaining biodiversity, food systems and addressing climate changes.

The side event demonstrates how Indigenous Peoples engagement in water policy helps respond to climate change and sustaining biodiversity in the context of the new UNCBD Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, as well as pertinent UN Decades, including the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which is coordinated by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission / UNESCO and which has a focus on Indigenous knowledge as a key driver of locally relevant sustainable development solutions.

Tea pickers at a plantation in Sri Lanka

Addressing Relevant Thematic Dialogue:

  1. Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment: Source to Sea, Biodiversity, Climate, Resilience and DRR (SDGs 6.5, 6.6, 7, 11.5, 13, 14, 15);

Water Action Agenda: Developing commitments for cooperation between rights holders, stakeholders and knowledge holders at national and regional scales.


(80 min)

  • Welcome and overview
  • Opening Remarks - Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs, Bolivia + FILAC, HE Freddy Mamani
  • Opening Remarks - Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs, Mexico, HE Marta Delgado Peralta
  • Keynote - Chairperson of the UNPFII, Darío José MEJIA MONTALVO
  • Four case studies from current/ongoing research: Australia, Canada, Chad, Latin America


  • Diplomatic interventions: statements and commitments by Australia, Canada and Chile for inclusive water policy and actions
  • Closing remarks

*A light lunch will be served on site at 12:15pm EST (more details coming soon)

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Useful resources

Informal Reference Group on Water and Indigenous Peoples

UNESCO Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

UN Water Conference Interactive dialogue 3: Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment Concept paper

Water Action Agenda Concept Note