Climate finance empowers indigenous women

Indigenous women’s knowledge is key to restoring ecosystems and building climate resilience

Indigenous women are among the main beneficiaries of the FAO-led GCF-funded +Bosques project in Chile. Photo credit: ©FAO/ Max Valencia


Indigenous Peoples are essential allies in global efforts to defend nature and respond to the climate crisis. With territories containing 11% of the world’s forests and covering 28% of the surface of the globe, Indigenous Peoples are guardians to almost 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

As the backbone of indigenous communities, indigenous women play a critical role in preserving and transmitting the ancestral knowledge that generates balance between people and nature. Indigenous women cascade their knowledge of wild, semi-domesticated and domesticated species of plants, animals and fish to enhance the resilience of future generations.

“Indigenous women are champions of cultivating and preparing neglected and underutilized plant species. Their knowledge is not only key to conserving biodiversity and ensuring food security, but also to restoring ecosystems and building climate resilience,” says Nadine Valat, FAO’s GCF Coordinator.

FAO is working with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean on Green Climate Fund (GCF)-financed projects that empower women as agents of change in efforts to enhance climate resilience and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Here are two examples of transformative FAO-led GCF projects in Chile and Nepal.

Climate action with benefit-sharing in Chile

About 12.8% of Chile’s 17 million people identifies as indigenous. These mostly rural communities face the most socio-economic hardships, with women – especially indigenous women – among the most vulnerable groups.

According to Chile’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), the Mapuche are the most representative group, making up 79.8% of Chile’s Indigenous population, followed by the Aymara (7.2%), and the Diaguita (4.1%) – in addition to members of the Colla, Quechua, Rapa Nui Lickanantai, Kawashkar, and Yamana communities. 

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