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There is a gap in aid money for climate mitigation: less than 1% reaches indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) directly. Investment is needed to strengthen IPLC governance so they can continue to protect their territories and participate as equal partners in climate and conservation finance.


Forest Trends is establishing an IPLC Territorial Governance Facility (“Territorial Governance Facility” or “Facility”) to fill this gap and meet the need to provide culturally appropriate support to IPLCs looking to strengthen governance and engage in climate and conservation finance projects and programs.


The Facility is supporting activities in three main areas:

Photo: Diego Perez

1)     Political Governance

The Political Governance Program will focus on providing IPLCs with tools for better management and/or administration at the local level. Strengthening this capacity will allow 1) better representation of the interests and desires of communities and families (with special attention to gender and intergenerational equity), and 2) more effective defense of their interests and territories during engagement with external actors, especially local and regional governments, and in situations that threaten the territorial integrity and conservation of their forests.

2)     Economic Governance

The Economic Governance Program is focused on the valorization of a community or territory’s natural resources in a way that recognizes them as common goods and promotes equitable Good Living (Buen vivir) for all families and communities. This Program will promote discussion and co-creation processes within territories, aimed at ensuring their economies, food security, and resource use are sustainable. The Program will also help incubate self-determined economic enterprises and build relationships to ensure equitable market access.

3)     Cultural Governance

The Cultural Governance Program is grounded in IPLCs’ need to guarantee the survival of their languages, knowledge, and traditional practices in the face of cultural erosion. Non-indigenous values, knowledge, and ways of life are a threat to IPLCs’ cultural integrity and survival, especially through schools, the media, and Internet access via cell phones. It is therefore extremely important that territorial governments develop programs and activities with an intercultural approach to engage youth, share and preserve knowledge, and promote dialogue between generations.


Building on over 20 years’ experience, Forest Trends provides initial institutional structure, technical capacity, and a framework for building an independent Facility with multi-stakeholder governance and the capacity to mobilize private and public finance at scale. An initial emphasis will be placed on Latin America, with potential to scale globally. The ultimate aim is to create an independent vehicle with multi-stakeholder governance, multi-donor structure, and capability to rapidly scale up mobilization of private and public funding. During this first phase, the Facility will include a Steering Committee to be comprised of representatives of IPLC organizations, initial funders, and globally respected individuals to steer its design and initial investments.

Participants in Forest Trends’ Capacity Building Program on Indigenous Territorial Governance (PFGTI in Spanish), Colombia. Photo: Diego Perez

The Facility is supporting IPLC communities and territories by:

1)     Offering training, networking, and capacity building programs to strengthen territorial governance

2)     Connecting them to multiple sources of funding for political, economic, and cultural governance projects

3)     Assisting them in their interactions and partnerships with governments and private companies to obtain direct climate and conservation finance


Contact: Beto Borges, bborges@nullforest-trends.org

Director, Communities & Territorial Governance Initiative


Capacity Building Program on Indigenous Territorial Governance (PFGTI)