Review of Bistandsnemda's (Norwegian Missions in Development) Work with Indigenous Peoples
As part of Norway's efforts to strengthen its cooperation with indigenous peoples a set of Guidelines were published by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004. The Guidelines emphasise a rights-based approach and the requirement that there be ‘a clear connection between normative work on indigenous issues and practical cooperation with and on behalf of indigenous peoples'. Norwegian NGOs are the most important channel for Norwegian support for indigenous peoples. Among the Norwegian NGOs, Bistandsnemnda - The Norwegian Missions in Development, hereafter referred to as BN - receives the largest amount of funds for indigenous peoples projects. This is an umbrella organization, consisting of 18 mission organizations. Norad decided to conduct a review of BN's work with indigenous peoples in order to ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the principles of the Guidelines. Four member organizations (The Norwegian Mission Alliance, Norwegian Lutheran Mission, the Norwegian Pentecostal Mission and Normisjon) and their work in three countries (Bolivia, Paraguay, Bangladesh) were selected for the review. In addition, the review has revised project documents of all BN projects for indigenous peoples, and met with the organizations in Norway. Time limitations for the review mean that some conclusions must remain tentative.
The review concludes with the following recommendations:
- BN needs to strengthen knowledge and training on indigenous rights
- Members need to better ensure that this awareness and training is utilised at all levels by project partners and field staff
- BN and Members need to reflect upon the implications of our finding that increased separation/secularization improves project work
- BN and Members need to develop better diagnostic tools for analysis of the cultural politics of the contexts where they are working
- Norad should clarify the Guidelines and the reporting routines for working with indigenous peoples
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