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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: fsc.if@fsc.org 

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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, m.donovan@fsc.org

Tamara Espinoza, CMLT/AMPB, comunicacion@mujeresmesoamericanas.org

 Andrea Rodriguez, GATC, andrearodriguezgarson@gmail.com

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

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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.

News

Breaking Gaps, Achieving Dreams 

The FSC Indigenous Foundation celebrates the launch of the Indigenous Women of Panama’s Economic Empowerment Plan and is supporting its implementation.

CAMIP workshop

On Monday, October 17th, the Advisory Committee of Indigenous Women of Panama (CAMIP), the Ministry of Government of Panama, and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) launched the Indigenous Women of Panama’s Economic Empowerment Plan (PEMIP 2025)

This plan is a comprehensive and pioneering initiative that seeks the full inclusion and effective exercise of the socioeconomic rights of Panamanian Indigenous women, based on their protagonism and self-determination. It creates a space to convene multi-sectors including public and private actors to bring resources and commitment to support the Indigenous women of Panama. 

The FSC-IF is supporting the implementation of PEMIP through three of its components including ancestral cultural restoration, leadership, and governance. 

The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, and Ministry of Labor are committed and empowered to support the Plan, and Enred Panama is providing technical assistance.

Launch of the Indigenous Women’s Economic Empowerment Plan 

The launch, held at the Parlamento Latinoamericano, featured words from Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, Minister of External Relations, Rocío Medina, IDB Representative in Panama, Roger Tejada Bryden, Minister of Government, and from delegates of CAMIP including Elsy Pedrol, delegate from the General Congress of the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, Briseida Iglesias, delegate of the General Congress of the Comarca Guna Yala, and Andrea Lino, delegate of the General Congress of the Collective Lands Emberá-Wounaan. 

Andrea Lino described the challenges and effort to develop this plan.

“We had to climb mountains to find ways to connect virtually and develop this plan. But we, as women, fighters, leaders of each territory, we made this great effort to arrive to this day.” 

Briseida Iglesias ended with a strong message for, “unity, sisterhood, and social equity.” 

Creation of an Indigenous Women’s Advisory Committee 

In 1993, the National Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Women of Panama (CONAMUIP) was created. It became evident that space was needed for Indigenous women’s voices after the National Roundtable of Indigenous Peoples in 2016 where there were few women decision-makers.

In 2018, under the leadership of Sara Omi, President of the Congress of Alto Bayano, CONAMUIP proposed the formal creation of this space. The Advisory Committee of Indigenous Women of Panama (CAMIP) was constituted, formed by twelve delegates representing each territory in the National Roundtable of Indigenous Peoples (CONDIPI). CAMIP receives, processes, and transmits information while at the same time is linked to the community and governance structures of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama. 

With the IDB and the Ministry of Government of Panama, CAMIP developed the Indigenous Women of Panama’s Economic Empowerment Plan (PEMIP 2025), based on conversations with various Indigenous women, evidence and data, analysis of policies, and consultation with experts. 

Beginning implementation 

Immediately after the launch of PEMIP, CAMIP met in a workshop supported by FSC-IF to discuss the implementation of the plan and the by-laws of CAMIP, as part of the activities that the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) is supporting as part of PEMIP implementation. 

On October 21st, the FSC-IF supported another workshop with the CAMIP leaders and women chiefs on institutional strengthening of CAMIP, Indigenous women’s leadership, and the creation of a strategy to promote dialogue spaces for effective participation of Indigenous women as a tool for political incidence. At the end of the workshop, participants took a proactive role to participate in the different working groups that are part of the Plan’s axes to continue working on the implementation of the PEMIP for the benefit of their communities. 

In close collaboration with CAMIP, the Ministry of Government, the IDB, and ENRED, the FSC-IF is also working on implementation by developing a national Indigenous women’s organization registered in Panama to support the implementation of PEMIP, conducting a pilot in one Indigenous territory to create a guide to promote Indigenous women’s cultural preservation, drafting by-laws of CAMIP to improve its governance, and developing a strategy to increase participation of CAMIP in other national spaces related to the implementation of the PEMIP. 

The FSC-IF is committed to working with and for Indigenous women, who we know to be the guardians of ancestral knowledge providing solutions that will determine our future and the future of the planet. 

Watch a video about PEMIP below (in Spanish).

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