Guterres’ appeal comes in a message to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed annually on August 9 and focuses this year on the role of women in preserving and passing on traditional knowledge.
According to the UN chief, indigenous women “are knowledge keepers of traditional food systems and medicines.”
Guterres urged countries to implement the historic United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to promote traditional knowledge for the benefit of all.
UN statistics reveal that 47 percent of these working populations are uneducated, compared to 17 percent of non-indigenous people, a gap that is even greater in the case of women.
The annual celebration, which this time is held virtually, recalls the day of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in 1982.