Resilience Dispatch #21: The Road from Here, A climate finance system that works for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Nov 16, 2021
CORRECTION: In the original version of this dispatch sent on 11/11, a photo caption mistakenly identified Veronica Inmundo of CONFENIAE as Maricely Ayap Tupari of the Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon. This has been corrected below.


Peoples Forests Partnership team members, Beto Borges (left, Forest Trends) and Anna Lehmann (right, Wildlife Works), at COP26 Glasgow with Francisca Arara (center), President of the Regional Committee for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities, Governors’ Climate and Task Force (GCF) and Bill Winters (center), Chief Executive of Standard Chartered and previous co-head of JP Morgan Chase. 

In this edition

The Road from Here

Greetings! We’ve returned home from Glasgow after a marathon ten days at the COP26 climate negotiations. There is a long road ahead in leaving a better planet to our children and grandchildren, but in these two weeks the world has made a great deal of progress. If countries follow through on their pledges, a 1.8 degree scenario is within reach. Closing the gap to the Paris “stretch goal” of 1.5 degrees will depend greatly on international cooperation so developing countries can transition to clean energy and industry, and to success in ending deforestation.

On that last point, the good news is we saw much stronger participation from indigenous peoples and other traditional communities than either of us have ever seen at a previous COP. Such participation is not “nice to have.” These communities are the best protectors of forests the world has. We can’t meet Paris goals without them.

This is not some romantic idea; it’s in the data – to borrow a line from the eminent journalist and author Andrew Revkin. For example, deforestation rates in Amazonian lands managed by indigenous peoples in the first decade of this century? 0.6%. Deforestation rates elsewhere in the Amazon? 7%.

Indigenous and local communities care for one-fifth of tropical and subtropical forest carbon and conserve 80 percent of all biodiversity. Yet they receive less than 1 percent of international climate assistance each year.

Three decades of work in the Amazon has shown us firsthand how this lack of support leaves communities standing alone in defending forests – and being intimidated, stolen from, arrested, and killed for it. The $1.7b in new funding pledged in Glasgow to shore up these community efforts was incredible news.

But more funding isn’t enough. We still do not have a climate finance system that is set up to support the very people who are contributing disproportionately to climate solutions. Climate finance is bureaucratic at best and inaccessible at worst for indigenous and traditional peoples. There aren’t good mechanisms in place to deliver funding to the ground, or for communities to tell funders what they should be backing.

On Sunday, together with indigenous leaders, CEOs, investors, and NGOs, we launched the Peoples Forests Partnership to address these challenges. It will be a platform for mobilizing new funding to community-based, values-driven forest projects. Together, we represent already-active projects in over a dozen forest nations, working on more than two million hectares of tropical forests and benefiting a quarter million community members. Our goal is to raise $20 billion in annual investment flows by 2030, which would translate into half a billion acres of forests and tens of millions of people impacted.

The Partnership will support both carbon projects as well as broader investments in strong communities. Carbon finance is just one piece of the puzzle. We also need to train leaders in legal and political advocacy, invest in forest-based economic development, and support communities in long-term planning, including efforts to safeguard their cultures.

Sharing below some more information about the Peoples Forests Partnership. We invite you to learn more and to get involved.

Be well,

Michael Jenkins, CEO and Founder, Forest Trends
Beto Borges, Director, Forest Trends’ Communities & Territorial Governance Initiative

LAUNCH: The Peoples Forests Partnership
The Peoples Forests Partnership was launched in Glasgow with facilitating members Forest Trends, RECOFTC, Wildlife Works, Everland, and GreenCollar. These members have secured initial financing for a portfolio of projects that will generate $2 billion in private investment and at least 20 million tonnes per year of Verified Emission Reductions. Learn more about the Partnership and consultation process.
Peoples Forests Partnerships’ panel discussion at COP26, Making Climate Finance Work for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: Securing Safeguards and Direct Climate Financing. Left to right: Beto Borges (moderator, Forest Trends), Harol Rincon (Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon, OPIAC), Veronica Inmunda (CONFENIAE), Wrays Perez (Autonomous Territorial Government of Wampis Nation), Francisca Arara (Regional Committee for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities of the Governors’ Climate Task Force), Nonette Royo (The Tenure Facility, Asia), Gustavo Sánchez (Commission of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples Forests), Marina Mayer (Forest Trends, translation).
Attendees at the Peoples Forests Partnership evening launch event in Glasgow. Festivities included dinner, cocktails, and special live performances by indigenous artists, DJ Eric Marky Terena and Daniela Procopio & Trio.
DJ Eric Marky Terena
In the News: The Peoples Forests Partnership
New Global Partnership Aims to Remove Barriers to Indigenous Climate Finance

Laurel Southerland, Mongabay

Research has shown that Indigenous and local communities manage 20% of tropical and subtropical forest carbon, and over 80% of the world’s biodiversity, while receiving less than 1% of international climate change assistance.

In light of this, a new global coalition, the Peoples Forest Partnership, announced over the weekend at the United Nations climate summit (COP26), aims to mobilize US $20 billion in funding per year by 2030 directly to Indigenous community-driven forest conservation and restoration projects. The financial resources are destined to be channeled to approximately 250,000 forest community members worldwide who manage over 2 million hectares (5 million acres) of tropical forests. These funds aim to be long-term private sector investments and public funding that set a standard for equitable and accessible climate finance to Indigenous and local communities (IPLCs).

“The root of the problem is this: whoever deforests the most earns the most,” said Francisca Arara, President of the Regional Committee for Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities.

[Keep reading here.]
We Know What Indigenous and Local Communities Can Do for Forests. Here’s What Climate Finance Can Do for Them.

Beto Borges

This article was originally posted on Nature4Climate.

On November 1st, over 100 world leaders signed a landmark agreement to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 and pledged $19.2 billion to meet that goal. It’s an ambitious pledge, but actually not a new one: in 2014, the New York Declaration on Forests got a similar commitment from many of the same leaders that pledged to halve deforestation by 2020 and stop it by 2030. It failed: deforestation actually accelerated in the years that followed the declaration in New York.

What went wrong? Forests today are still worth more dead, logged for their timber or cleared for other land uses, than alive. At the time of the New York Declaration on Forests, no substantive alternatives to the economic drivers of deforestation were offered, and so destruction won out.

[Keep reading here.]