Over the past several years, a consensus has formed that addressing the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises requires supporting the land rights and environmental stewardship of Indigenous Peoples and other local, rural communities who live alongside and depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. At least 50 percent of the earth’s land area is owned, used, or managed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), with 36 percent of all intact forests on recognized Indigenous lands. Twenty-five percent of the entire Amazon Basin is on legally recognized Indigenous Territories, which are generally better protected than even government parks and reserves. Across the globe, Indigenous Territories and other community lands contribute roughly an equivalent land area as all formally protected parks and reserves.

For this reason, when the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) formulated new targets to protect 30 percent of the world’s lands, inland waters, and coastal and marine areas by 2030, they provided unprecedented emphasis on the importance of recognizing and respecting Indigenous and traditional territories, including specific wording on recognizing Indigenous and traditional territories and respecting Indigenous and community land rights. Yet, despite this consensus, the Rainforest Foundation Norway showed, in 2021, that efforts to recognize Indigenous land rights and support their forest conservation were getting less than 1 percent of all climate financing, with the vast majority of funding going to international organizations or development contractors.

However, as attention grows on the challenge of getting funding to the Indigenous and local groups that can actually bring about change on the ground, progress remains slow: In a review carried out one year after the $1.7 billion pledge in Glasgow, donors reported that only about 7 percent of that funding was going directly to Indigenous communities.

Drawing on the findings from recent research efforts and related dialogues over the past year, there are four key priorities for funders and other actors to shift more funding to the point of impact that we would highlight:

  1. Improving grantmaking practices
  2. Better intermediary structures and partnerships
  3. Addressing “capacity” challenges
  4. Accelerating learning around new funding structures

Read the full article about climate funding by Fred Nelson, Jessica Sweidan, Torbjørn Gjefsen, Bryson Ogden and Solange Bandiaky-Badji at Stanford Social Innovation Review.