Integrating Indigenous Peoples into the NDC process through capacity development

At COP27, Indigenous leaders and partners shared successful cases of Indigenous participation in REDD+ strategies as part of the NDCs in Costa Rica and Peru

At COP27, the FSC Indigenous Foundation, the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Association for Research and Integral Development (AIDER), and Ecosphere+ convened experts at an event on November 16 in the UNFCCC Capacity Building Hub, Integrating Indigenous Peoples into the NDC process through capacity development. This event highlighted Indigenous communities effectively engaging in the carbon market and shared lessons, strategies, and recommendations to drive Indigenous capacity development. 

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are part of the strategy to achieve the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to commit to actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Indigenous Peoples are critical for climate mitigation, as their territories are sources of global solutions to climate change and are vital to conserving and restoring ecosystems. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are custodians of 20% of forest carbon in tropical and subtropical countries, which is equivalent to 218 billion tons of carbon, or more than 30 times the total global energy emissions in 2017.

It is critical to scale up and better integrate Indigenous Peoples in NDC processes with governments through capacity development. 

Case studies: Indigenous participation in the NDCs and lessons for capacity development 

A panel with Indigenous leaders and partner organizations shared initiatives in Costa Rica and Peru related to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism that are part of the NDCs.

Levi Sucre, Coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB) described his experience leading the consultation for the REDD+ strategy in Costa Rica. He explained how the government facilitated Indigenous leaders’
understanding of key issues such as climate change for the consultation process and the importance of having a young cultural mediator who speaks the Indigenous language to interpret and understand the REDD+ strategy.

He stated, “We need to integrate the Indigenous worldview into the REDD+ national strategy. These concepts must be understood in order to create a more integrated proposal.”

The next two panelists spoke about the Alianza Forestal, a Community Forest Management initiative that incorporates REDD+, developed by AIDER in Peru. 

Diana Mori, representative of the Shipibo-Conibo Indigenous group, spoke about Indigenous women’s participation in the struggle for collective rights and communal forests and how communities have adapted their traditional knowledge of forest management with proposals and voluntary standards for FSC certification. Indigenous Peoples need to understand climate finance and how certification mechanisms work.

She emphasized the resiliency of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women.

“Communities have the capacity to adapt to change.”

Marioldy Sánchez, Head of Project Management at AIDER, discussed capacity development efforts with communities and their leaders on climate finance with REDD+ and the management of Indigenous forests with an integral perspective. She emphasized the importance of starting from the holistic perspective of Indigenous Peoples and training Indigenous leaders.

She stated, “Strategic alliances, such as the Forest Alliance, allow for capacity building for Indigenous Peoples. It is important that other sectors learn from the intersectoral dialogue of this experience and exchange ancestral knowledge.”

Berlin Diques, President of the Regional Organisation AIDESEP Ucayali (ORAU), spoke about how Indigenous Peoples are asking for clear public policies to protect the forests and mitigate climate change, and that strategic alliances are key to advancing and speeding up our processes. He emphasized that civil society and Indigenous organizations must take the lead in the process to develop technical capacities. 

He said, “Mechanisms should be participatory and socialized with Indigenous Peoples and leaders. It is important to have information before making decisions that involve our territories and resources.”

Panelists concluded that Indigenous Peoples must be supported with improved capacity development to keep safeguarding forests and practicing nature-based solutions through existing mechanisms such as REDD+, certification, and the NDCs. 

Rita Spadafora, IPARD Program Lead for Capacity Development and Inclusion at the FSC Indigenous Foundation, moderated the event and closed with a message that we must focus on improving the capacities of Indigenous Peoples and governments to create the conditions for Indigenous Peoples to influence the climate agenda with the capacity to negotiate the recognition of their contributions to mitigate climate change within the NDCs.

View a recording of the event here (in Spanish).


The FSC Indigenous Foundation builds partnerships with and for Indigenous Peoples worldwide

At COP27, FSC-IF signed Memorandums of Understanding with organizations and networks to identify and promote Indigenous-based solutions to the challenges facing our world.

Solutions to the climate crisis require collaboration from different sectors, especially Indigenous Peoples, who have been the world’s nature-based solution providers for thousands of years. 

For this reason, the FSC Indigenous Foundation is engaging with different sectors to identify and promote Indigenous-based solutions to global challenges. At COP27, we signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Network of Indigenous and Local Communities for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC), the Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Committee of Africa (IPACC), the Ogiek Peoples Development Program, and Health in Harmony to advance Indigenous-led solutions, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and Indigenous self-development. 

Promoting Indigenous Peoples’ rights and self-development in Africa

The FSC-IF is forming strategic partnerships driven by, for, and with Indigenous Peoples in Africa through collaboration with REPALEAC, IPACC, and the Ogiek Peoples Development Program. 

REPALEAC is a sub-regional civil society organization with active national networks in Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Chad, and Rwanda. REPALEAC and its member organizations are acting to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) as well as to protect the sustainability of the ecosystems to which they are intimately linked and on which their survival depends. 

The FSC-IF and REPALEAC established a joint work plan focused on capacity development of REPALEAC member organizations; participation in decisions concerning access to, and sustainable management of, lands, forests, and natural resources; and promoting and strengthening Indigenous economies. 

IPACC is a network of 135 Indigenous Peoples’ organizations in 21 African countries, headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, making it the largest Indigenous Peoples’ network in the world. It was founded to address the most pressing issues facing Indigenous Peoples in Africa including human rights violations, systematic legal and social discrimination, exclusion from decision-making, and political economy. 

The FSC-IF and IPACC developed a work plan to strengthen the capacities of IPACC members on issues of women’s rights and youth members on research and digital documentation; support IPACC members to develop a strategy for integrating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), support IPACC members to conduct a study on the operationalization of FPIC in Indigenous territories, and facilitate the development of partnerships with key academic and research institutions. 

The Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) is a Kenyan human rights organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. It was formed by Ogiek elders, opinion leaders, and professionals after long land historical injustices that deprived the Ogiek community of their rights as Kenyan citizens. 

OPDP and the FSC-IF will work together to promote Indigenous Peoples’ rights and self-development in Africa, recognizing the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to protect the forest, the importance of their traditional knowledge, safeguarding cultures, and respect for the role of women in the region. 

Global partnership to scale-up Indigenous-based solutions 

Founded on Radical Listening, Health In Harmony is a rainforest conservation organization holistically addressing the health of people, ecosystems, and the planet. Its mission is to reverse tropical rainforest deforestation to halt the nature and climate crisis.

Together, we will work towards common goals by, for, and with Indigenous Peoples, on themes of forests, climate change, Indigenous economies, Indigenous leadership and capacity development, Indigenous financial mechanisms, and new funding opportunities. We will also explore the use of tools such as Radical Listening and Rainforest Exchange to facilitate Indigenous-designed solutions for climate, biodiversity, and human wellbeing.    

If you are interested in becoming a strategic partner of the FSC-IF, please contact us at: 


Indigenous women weaving the climate change agenda toward a sustainable future

At COP27, Indigenous women from Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America discuss how they are leading climate agendas with their traditional knowledge

Indigenous women from Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America presented local examples of why Indigenous women are key agents leading climate change agendas with their ancestral knowledge and traditional practices in an event in the Green Zone at COP 27 organized by the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF), the Coordinator of Territorial Women Leaders of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), and TINTA.

Indigenous women are guardians of ancestral knowledge at the cultural, political, social, and productive levels, protecting forests, water, and biodiversity, and are responsible for transmitting this knowledge from generation to generation. Indigenous women, youth, and girls have been disproportionately impacted by climate change. However, the strategies promoted and the approaches adopted by different actors at the local, national, and international levels have not been able to provide the required response in terms of losses and damages caused, nor have they been implementing, in an inclusive and differentiated manner, prior consultations with a gender perspective. Indigenous women’s organizations received only 0.7% of all recorded human rights funding between 2010 and 2013, despite the fact that they use, manage and conserve community territories consisting of more than 50% of the world’s land.

Sara Omi, Emberá lawyer and President of the Coordinator of Territorial Women Leaders of Mesoamerica of the AMPB; Aissatou Oumarou, Deputy Coordinator of the Network of Indigenous and Local Populations for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC); Fany Kuiru, Women’s, Children and Family Coordinator of Coordinator of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC); and Shirley Krenak of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), shared their perspectives on climate change and how it affects women and families in their territories with key stakeholders from the private sector, financial sector, government, and international cooperation.

Sara Omi, of the Territorial Women Leaders of Mesoamerica and AMPB, said, “We are the protectors of traditional knowledge but our contributions are invisible. That is why we are here to highlight our contributions to the planet.”

Aissatou Oumarou of REPALEAC stated, “We are losing our biodiversity, we are losing our trees, and this prevents us from passing our culture and traditions to the next generation, all because of climate change. ”

Shirley Krenak of APIB said that in the Amazon, “We have seven biomes where Indigenous women live. We have long been attacked by environmental atrocities.”

Fany Kuiru of OPIAC explained, “Indigenous women’s traditional knowledge is part of the solution. Women are taught to respect and value nature to keep the balance.” She also added that “the masculinization of climate finance has to be changed.”

Sara Omi said, “I want to recognize the importance and the role played by the FSC Indigenous Foundation in the case of Panama and Mesoamerica to continue contributing to the creation of mechanisms or public policies that can break these gaps of inequalities of vulnerability to the effects of climate change.”

Global political and social actors must direct their attention and resources to strengthen and empower Indigenous women and incorporate their knowledge into strategies to address climate change.

Watch a recording of the event here.

Contact information:

Mary Donovan, FSC-IF,

Tamara Espinoza, CMLT/AMPB,

 Andrea Rodriguez, GATC,

Poem by Amalia Hernandez, Lenca Indigenous Women, to world leaders (in Spanish)


Falling Short: From the 1.7 Billion Pledge to Actions: An African Indigenous Agenda to Implement Indigenous-led Climate Solutions and Indigenous Financing

Indigenous leaders, donors, and NGOs discussed Indigenous-led finance at COP27

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate crisis, due to their dependence upon, and close relationship, with the environment and its resources. Accordingly, any slight change in weather patterns resulting in climate change exacerbates the difficulties already faced by Indigenous communities including political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, human rights violations, discrimination, and unemployment.

The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), the Network of Indigenous and Local Communities for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC), and the FSC Indigenous Foundation organized the panel discussion: Falling Short: From the 1.7 Billion Pledge to Actions: An African Indigenous Agenda to Implement Indigenous-led Climate Solutions and Indigenous Financing. The high-level discussion took place on Tuesday, November 8 in the Indigenous Pavilion at COP27.

The event was a space for Indigenous leaders, donors, and NGOs to exchange on existing Indigenous-led finance models and identify ways of integration and collaboration to achieve common goals.

Panelists discussed how to develop the mechanisms of governance, design, and management of Indigenous financing linked to the USD 1.7 billion with five action-pillars part of a USD 100 million regional Indigenous-led climate agenda for Africa designed to address key existing constraints in the region.

Francisco Souza, Managing Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation and member of the Apurinã Indigenous Peoples of the Brazilian Amazon, opened the session with a message about the solutions to the climate crisis that exist within Indigenous communities. He stated, “Indigenous Peoples have been here long before we started talking about finance and sustainability, which we have implemented for many years.”

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, from the Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous Peoples of Chad (AFPAT) emphasized the importance of having Indigenous Peoples as active partners in climate solutions. She said:

“We are not just recipients of money because we are doing our part. We are giving our resources, our knowledge; we are partners.”

Kanyinke Sena, Director of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), stated, “We ask for the pledge to put in place loss and damage financing as soon as possible.”

Basiru Isa, Secretary General of REPALEAC, added, “From the small amount of money given to Indigenous Peoples, the smallest part is given to Africa. We want to manage at least 100 million to implement a 3-4 year agenda in Africa.”

Panelists also emphasized the importance of partnerships. Joseph Itongwa, Coordinator of REPALEAC, said, “It is important to work with the FSC-IF, it is an organization led by an Indigenous person we trust.”

Casey Box, Director of Global Strategy at the Christensen Fund said, “Indigenous Peoples organizations should be able to decide which intermediaries they want to work with. The FSC-IF could be an excellent option, along with others.”

This productive discussion included: Dr. Francisco Souza from the FSC Indigenous Foundation, Basiru Isa from REPALEAC, Hindou Oumarou from AFPAT, Dr. Kanyinke Sena from IPACC, Joseph Itongwa from REPALEAC, Daniel Kobei from the Ogiek Peoples Development Program, Casey Box from the Christensen Fund and Salina Sanou from FSC Indigenous Foundation. 

Panelists focused on the importance of strengthening Indigenous governance and coordination (at regional, national, sub-national, and local levels); implementing funding management models to create the enabling conditions to increase the capacity of IPLC organizations including organizational structure, operational management, implementation development, procurement and reporting; as well as the importance of multi-sectoral engagement to ensure collaboration and partnership with national governments, donors, investors, and aid agencies. 

All speakers concluded that any solution to the climate crisis must include Indigenous Peoples as active partners.

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