Indigenous leaders from around the world continue to use their hard-won visibility to call for a system of climate finance that values their knowledge and work, offers a fair price for the nature-based solutions they provide, and pays them — directly.

"The asset that we bring to the table is knowledge. To think about the future you have to think about the past," Francisco Souza, managing director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation, said at a Sept. 23 event hosted by the international Indigenous rights organization as part of Climate Week NYC. “We have the solutions already."

For companies and institutions that have made investments in nature-based solutions and/or buying carbon offsets part of their climate strategy, valuing Indigenous people’s contributions means investing in their organizations and projects, and paying a fair price for offsets.

"We want to tell the [donors] they should try working with [Indigenous organizations] directly. They do not need to go through too many people," Oumaru Aissatou, vice president of the Network of Indigenous and Local Populations for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa, said through a translator at the FSC Indigenous Foundation event.

Preserving forests is vital to tackling the climate crisis and protecting millions of species in danger of extinction, and research has repeatedly shown the vital role Indigenous people play as forest stewards. At 370 million, these communities make up less than 5 percent of the human population but manage or hold tenure over 25 percent of the planet’s land surface and support about 80 percent of global biodiversity. A United Nations report released last year, for example, found that the Indigenous people of Latin America — who face increasing, violent threats to their lands and lives — are by far the best guardians of the regions’ forests, with deforestation rates as much as 50 percent lower in their territories than elsewhere.

Read the full article about investing in Indigenous solutions by CJ Clouse at GreenBiz.