Community-managed funds key to protecting Brazilian Amazon

24 September 2021, Rome – Direct support to community-managed funds will help address challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss and rural poverty in the Brazilian Amazon, a virtual event hosted by the Forest and Farm Facility heard yesterday.

The event at the Global Landscapes Forum Amazonia Digital Conference included leaders from the Podaali, Babassu and Dema funds, which support local environmental and development activities and are managed by rural grassroots organizations of indigenous peoples and traditional communities. Community-managed funds can more easily support indigenous and community-led initiatives that conventional development finance had so far failed to reach.

“Podaali fund, such as other community funds, provides a bridge between traditional knowledge and new technologies to optimize the agroforestry systems used by Indigenous Peoples which not only allow them to preserve the forest, but also to create resources for their communities and to restore the land degraded by large monoculture and livestock production,” said Valéria Paye, the Executive Director of the Podaali Fund.

Initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement have provided a conceptual framework for international cooperation agencies to support countries in the Global South, especially in combating climate change, but the resulting funding has not fully considered initiatives led by local communities, organizations and indigenous people, the event heard.

“Supporting Indigenous and Afrodescendant communities and family farmers is the best way to protect the Amazon,” said David Kaimowitz, Manager of the Forest and Farm Facility, which is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “Community-managed funds provide an innovative and inspiring way to do that which we can all learn from.”

In the first major report by a UN agency of its kind earlier this year, FAO and the Fund for Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean presented clear evidence that Indigenous Peoples and Afrodescendant forest communities in Latin America address deforestation and biodiversity loss more effectively than those responsible for the region´s other forests.

Earlier this month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Marseille approved a motion proposed by indigenous peoples asking that 80 percent of the Amazon rainforest, which is the largest in the world, be protected by 2025. This was just the latest example of Indigenous Peoples playing greater roles in these discussions than in the past.

Grassroots organizations need resources to operate, service, and communicate, and to demarcate and monitor their forests and establish community ventures. In the last year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, organized communities were at the forefront of efforts to protect the local population. The pandemic and rising threats to the rights of traditional peoples and communities have increased the demand for emergency support, which makes such funds even more important.

Recommendations made during the event included encouraging governments, foundations and inter-governmental agencies to consider supporting community-managed funds directly, without intermediaries, and including a component of inter-institutional dialogue with community-managed funds when supporting intermediary funds.

The Forest and Farm Facility seeks to strengthen and empower forest and farmer producer organizations, including women, youth and indigenous peoples, as primary change agents for climate resilient landscapes and improved livelihoods. It is a partnership between FAO, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and AgriCord.

lastUpdate  Friday, September 24, 2021