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Indigenous Peoples and the Green Climate Fund: Challenges and prospects

This side event, moderated by Grace Balawag, Tebtebba Foundation, addressed the challenges and prospects of Indigenous Peoples having direct access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Balawag provided an overview of Indigenous Peoples’ engagement with other global processes and funding mechanisms, underscoring the necessity of their full and effective engagement in these processes. She said that, in some instances, advisory groups have been established to meet this need.

She urged that the GCF effectively engage with Indigenous Peoples to: develop relevant policies and frameworks; establish safeguards and grievance mechanisms; provide guidelines for engagement; and create a dedicated grant for Indigenous Peoples. Stanley Kimaren Riamit, Executive Director, Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), Kenya, lamented the GCF’s indirect recognition of Indigenous Peoples, saying that this is because the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Environmental and Social Performance Standards have been adopted as interim safeguards. Kimaren Riamit said that development of an appropriate policy for the GCF would allow for free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for approved projects.

Joan Carling, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), said that some of the approved GCF projects pose serious threats to Indigenous Peoples, citing a dam project in Nepal. She said that while the GCF has adopted the IFC standards as interim safeguards, these were not considered in the Nepalese dam project. She stressed that there is a need to recognize Indigenous Peoples' rights and obtain their consent to the use of their land and resources, properly compensate them for such usage and include them in a benefit-sharing arrangement, should consent be provided.

Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director, Centre for Indigenous Cultures in Peru (CHIRAPAQ), provided an overview of Indigenous Peoples’ experiences in Peru, underscoring that their knowledge systems contribute to food production and climate resilience through using indigenous knowledge to select appropriate crops and technology. She said that an alliance has been formed between two local communities to share knowledge and culture for enhanced food production.

During discussions, participants addressed: the appropriateness of Indigenous Peoples having direct access to the GCF; Indigenous Peoples’ accessing GCF funding through country-driven processes; the use of philanthropic organizations as a funding and advocacy pathway; and IFC standards as a minimum standard for the GCF.

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