International support for the Congo Basin and other tropical forest regions has largely been directed towards ineffective strictly protected areas, REDD+ programmes and voluntary zero-deforestation and certification schemes. By contrast, it is estimated that less than one percent of the total funding for climate mitigation and adaptation over the past decade went to indigenous peoples and other local communities (IPLCs).
In recent years, the mounting evidence behind the Rainforest Foundations’ founding principle that securing the rights of IPLCs is the most effective way of protecting forests has started to filter through to international funding commitments. The challenge is now to mobilise this funding at the speed and scale necessary to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies, while building the capacity of often remote and politically disenfranchised communities to absorb and use these funds effectively.
We need to turn the traditional top-down development paradigm on its head by scaling up recognition of indigenous and community lands and expanding support to local organisations.
What we're doing
The Rainforest Foundations UK, US and Norway have a combined network of more than 100 local and indigenous partner organisations across 15 tropical forest countries. Among the leading environmental and human rights defenders globally, they have supported the protection of more than 84 million hectares of tropical rainforest - an area larger than Scandinavia.
Our work with frontline organisations aims to transform the international funding architecture for forests, and build their organisational capacities to absorb a progressively higher proportion of climate and biodiversity funding.
Our mapping and monitoring tools provide a blueprint for how to implement funding commitments for community-led forest protection at scale.