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Indigenous Latin America in the Twenty-First Century

A report by the World Bank, Indigenous Latin America in the Twenty-First Century, shines new light on the situation of Indigenous Peoples across Latin America. The publication finds that, despite important advances, indigenous communities in the region are disproportionately affected by poverty, and continue to face widespread economic and social exclusion. During this webinar, German Freire, the main author of the Report will recap some of the findings from the publication. Indigenous peoples made significant social progress, experienced a reduction in poverty levels in several countries and gained improved access to basic services during the boom of the first decade of the century, but they did not benefit to the same extent as the rest of Latin Americans, according to a new World Bank study. The study notes that thanks to a combination of economic growth and good social policies, poverty of indigenous households decreased in countries like Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, while in others, such as Ecuador, Mexico and Nicaragua, the educational gap that for decades excluded indigenous children was closed. However, the report points out that, despite these gains, many gaps remain, as indigenous peoples continue to be confronted with glass ceilings and structural barriers that limit their full social and economic inclusion. While indigenous peoples make up 8 percent of the population in the region, they represent approximately 14 percent of the poor and 17 percent of the extremely poor in Latin America. Also, they still face challenges to gain access to basic services and the adoption of new technologies, a key aspect of increasingly globalized societies. Contrary to popular belief, nearly half of Latin America’s indigenous population now live in urban areas. But even in cities, indigenous people often live in areas that are less secure, less sanitary, and more disaster-prone than non-indigenous urban residents. To reduce their vulnerabilities more successfully, the report suggests looking at indigenous issues through a different lens which takes into account their voices, cultures, and identities. Education, which has been one of the most important advances in the last decade, is one of the solutions proposed in the report, although efforts are needed to increase its quality and make it culturally appropriate and bilingual. The latest available census data shows that in 2010 there were about 42 million indigenous people in Latin America, making up nearly 8 percent of the total population. Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia had the largest populations, with more than 80 percent of the regional total, or 34 million.

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About the Presenters

Germán Freire

Germán Freire works as a social development specialist at the World Bank, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the Bank in 2012, and has focused his work since then on safeguards and applied research related to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, including various aspects of their current status, ethnic minority reparations in post-conflict Colombia, and social conflict and mining in Peru, among others. He led and is main author of a regional report on Indigenous Latin America in the Twenty-First Century and of two reports on conflict resolution and prior consultations in the mining sector of Peru. Before joining the Bank, he served as coordinator of the research unit of the Indigenous Health Bureau of Venezuela, where he helped adapt the national healthcare system to the needs and perspectives of the indigenous population. Germán has a master’s degree and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Oxford, and has published several books and journal articles on medical anthropology, human ecology, and development.

Questions Submitted

Jesús Manuel

Submitted 3:22 pm, April 29, 2018

Marvelous!

Delwar

Submitted 11:43 am, April 9, 2018

Great!

Janath

Submitted 5:34 am, March 22, 2018

Germán Freire has done a great study regarding the indigenous people's common issues. Also about the challenges to gain access to basic technologies.

Dr. Illakkuvan

Submitted 5:05 am, March 19, 2018

Marvelous!

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