Coordinated inter-agency action is essential to improve the situation of special social groups. Inter-agency collaboration has been significant in the lead up to the adoption of the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing; in the ongoing elaboration of the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities; and in the continuing work of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

For example, the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues has contributed considerable substantive preparatory documentation for the Permanent Forum’s 2005 session, which focused on the MDGs, particularly the first two goals of eradication of poverty and achieving primary education for all.

In relation to poverty eradication, the Forum recommended that Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers recognize rights to indigenous land, forest, marine and other natural resources; that the Commission on Sustainable Development take measures to protect water from privatization and other incursions that impoverish communities; and that the policy and practice of the World Bank and other multilateral development banks should be consistent with the internationally recognized human rights of indigenous peoples and should respect their free, prior and informed consent.