Expressing an unmet need: Indigenous plan for funding climate change

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.54.32 AMIn a room with no name plates, paper table tents with pencil script provided the only identification of the panelists. A small but
engaged audience listened attentively and participated fully when the option of question and comment commenced. This side event at the UN COP21 focused on the rationale for the construction of the Indigenous Amazonian Fund.

In a seventy-five minute session, representatives of indigenous groups along with the leadership of Coordinadra de las Organizaciones Indigenas de la Cuence Amazonica (COICA) provided a clear message of why an Indigenous Amazonian Fund was needed. The topic and the panelists’ commentary resonated with the audience. The meeting in a venue noted for punctuality, ran over time and ended with a lining up of audience members to speak with Jorge Furagaro, COICA’s Head of Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity.IMG_0021

Furagaro noted in his commentary, “Our people do not understand English, Spanish and French. They are not able to negotiate with authorities. Funds that are provided to assist the indigenous go to consultants but do not trickle down to the people on the ground in the communities.” He went on to state, “We need funds for more than capacity building and studies; this type of funding stays limited to the hotel and restaurants where people are gathering for review and assessment. Funding should go to the territories.”

The proposed Indigenous Amazonian Fund (FIA) would ensure that funding would go directly to meet the needs of the the indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon. These people are presently strained by the adverse impacts of both man-made ecosystem degradation and climate change. The fund as designed has included the elements that COICA, other indigenous groups and stakeholders have found to be missing from present funding mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The fund incorporates a guiding principle, which includes effectiveness and efficiency, autonomy, surveillence and transparency, participation and governance elements in its operational framework.

Furagaro provided that the design of the FIA, the overt inclusion of stakeholder engagement and transparency, facilitates the intention of the fund, whereas other funding mechabisms only appear to do so.