The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) is a network of 135 indigenous peoples’ organisations in 20 African countries. It is a membership organisation. Members elect an Executive Committee representing six geographic and cultural regions in Africa including a special regional representative of indigenous women. Any legitimate organisation run by African Indigenous peoples for the promotion of Indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare is welcome to apply for membership. Other associations working in development, human or Indigenous rights may apply for associate (non-voting) membership.
IPACC was founded to address the most pressing issues facing indigenous peoples in Africa. These are:
- Human rights violations;
- Systematic legal and social discrimination; and
- Exclusion from decision-making and the political economy.
All these forms of discrimination severely impact Africa’s hunter-gatherer and nomadic pastoralist peoples, especially the lives of indigenous women and children.
In the most serious cases, such as in the Great Lakes region, there have been repeated cycles of genocidal violence targeting indigenous peoples.
In this context, IPACC supports and assists member organisations to:
- Study, understand and engage with international human rights mechanisms and special procedures, in order to secure the human rights of indigenous peoples;
- Engage with indigenous communities, governments, regional bodies and the United Nations for the protection of the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples; and to
- Promote gender equality in indigenous organizations and communities.
In the course of this work, IPACC has also evolved to promote and support:
- Climate justice for indigenous communties.
- Land rights of indigenous communities.
- The intellectual property rights contained in the Indigenous Knowledge Systems of Africa’s First Peoples.
The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) is a network of 135 indigenous peoples’ organisations in 20 African countries. This makes it the largest indigenous peoples’ network in the world. IPACC was legally founded in 1997 when a draft constitution was adopted by the founding members in Geneva, Switzerland during the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples.
It is a network composed of indigenous peoples’ organisations. Every three years, member organisations elect an eighteen-person Executive Committee representing six geographic and cultural regions in Africa including a regional representative of indigenous women.
Any legitimate organisation run by African Indigenous peoples for the promotion of Indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare is welcome to apply for membership. Applicants must provide the constitution of their organisation.
IPACC is accredited with the UN Economic and Social Council, the UN Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility, UNESCO, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. IPACC has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. IPACC is a member organisation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
IPACC’s Secretariat is located in Cape Town, South Africa. A legally constituted Trust oversees IPACC’s financial integrity and auditing procedures. The Trust became an independent body under South African law in 2002. IPACC Trust is registered as a Not for Profit Organisation (NPO) and Non—Governmental Organisation (NGO) under South African law.
In 2015, IPACC established a new advisory body in the network: the Council of Elders. This is a three person body composed of distinguished indigenous elders chosen by the member organisations to provide guidance and institutional memory for the network. The current Council of Elders are Hassan Id Belkassm (Morocco), Zephyrin Kalimba (Rwanda) and Jeniffer Koinante (Kenya).
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