New Brief and Online Dashboard

Increased funding for Indigenous and local communities

A new brief from RFN and RRI shows funding to support Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples has increased by 36 per cent in the last four years, averaging USD 517 million per year between 2020 and 2023. The data used in the brief is made publicly available through a new online dashboard.

LOCAL: A local woman from the Karawai area in Papua New Guinea. The Karawai river is a tributary to the Sepik, a river threatened by the Frieda mining project. Photo: Jan Hasselberg

By Rainforest Foundation Norway.

Today, RFN and RRI launched the Path to Scale Dashboard, a new open-source online dashboard that gives easy access to data on donor funding for Indigenous Peoples' (IP), local communities' (LC), and Afro-descendant Peoples' (ADP) tenure and forest management. The dashboard, produced by Indufor North America for Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), is the first-ever public repository of its kind.

New brief updates data on IP and LC funding and analysis

The launch was accompanied by the "State of Funding for Tenure Rights and Forest Guardianship," a new brief analyzing the dashboard's data and main funding trends since 2020. The brief and dashboard updates the data and analysis for IPs and LCs for the RFN report "Falling Short" and updates the data and analysis on funding for IPs and LCs, which found that funding for IPs and LCs received less than 1% of climate aid up to 2020.

Arial view of rainforest with river running through it. Photo.

VITAL: The Amazon Rainforest. Preserving large, intact and contiguous rainforest areas are vital to reaching the UN climate and biodiversity goals. Photo: Shutterstock

IP and LC funding increases by over a third

The new brief finds that funding has increased 36 per cent since 2020 compared to the preceding four years, with annual disbursements for IP, LC, and ADP tenure rights and forest guardianship of USD 517 million a year between 2020 and 2023 globally. Much of this increase, 72 per cent, was driven by the Forest Tenure Funders Group (FTFG), a group of 25 donors who, at CoP26 in 2021, pledged a combined US$1.7 bn for five years to support IPs' and LCs' forest tenure rights.

Strong IP, LC and ADP rights connected to lower deforestation rates

A growing body of evidence directly connects strong IP, LC, and ADPs' territorial rights with lower deforestation and forest degradation rates. The UN's most recent report on climate and the Kunming–Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework emphasizes these rights as integral to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and staving off the biodiversity crisis.

"The Global Biodiversity Framework sets an ambitious but essential target of conserving at least 30 per cent of the world's land and marine area by 2030. For this goal to succeed and avoid repeating the historical violations of community rights committed by 'fortress conservation’, donors, implementing organizations and governments all need to strengthen efforts to recognize community land rights. We hope this new tool can help all these actors to identify opportunities and strengthen collaboration to this end."

Torbjørn Gjefsen, Rainforest Foundation Norway’s Senior Forest Finance Advisor and project lead for RFN for the dashboard and brief

Yellow frrog on branch in rainforest. Photo.

BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT: A tree frog in the Colombian rainforest. Colombia is a biodiversity hotspot, hosting close to 10 % of the planet's biodiversity. Photo: Thomas Marent

No systematic change in direct funding

However, there has yet to be any evidence indicating a systematic change in direct funding to IP, LC, and ADP organizations. In response to substantial community demands for direct support, many new rightsholder-led regranting mechanisms have emerged since 2020, but the brief shows that these can only fund a small share of funding proposals from their communities. The most recent FTFG annual reports show that just 2.9 per cent of its funding was direct in 2021, dropping to 2.1 per cent in 2022.

Africa and Asia see funding increase, Latin America stagnant

Funding has become more geographically dispersed, with the increased funding mainly going to Africa and Asia. In 2023, Africa likely received more funding than Latin America for the first time. Funding for Latin America has historically been higher than for Africa and Asia, but relatively stagnant since 2015, with a decline in funding for tenure and rights outcomes. The trajectory of this funding is a cause for concern, given the challenging situation for Indigenous and local communities in Latin America.

Man with girl sitting on log in rainforest. Photo.

GUARDIANS: Indigenous Peoples, Local communities and Afro-descendant Peoples are guardians of the rainforest, preserving sustainable forest management practices and valuable traditional knowledge. Photo: Kamikia Kisêdjê/RFN

New dashboard provides key insights, transparency and accessibility

The new Path to Scale dashboard will help donors, NGOs and rightsholders identify critical funding gaps and opportunities in global efforts to secure communities' rights and combat the climate and biodiversity crises.

The landscape of public overseas development aid and private funding data for IP, LC, and ADP tenure and forest guardianship is complex. While many donors report information publicly, it has been difficult to obtain clear trends and insights from those reports. RRI and RFN created the dashboard for the Path to Scale, an informal network of public and private donors, intermediaries, and rightsholders committed to scaling up investments and other enabling conditions for IP, LC, and ADP rights and projects to achieve global climate and biodiversity goals.

The data for the dashboard is collected from publicly available sources, including donor-reported microdata, grant databases, and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). It builds upon prior analyses on this subject by RFN, RRI and others, which all quantify and describe international donor funding to support IP, LC, and ADP forest guardianship.

“We welcome opportunities to work with donors, and now this dashboard will help us hold them accountable. Communities know how much money we are receiving, but we also need to know how much is being disbursed in our name. When donors and NGOs collaborate with us directly, their funding makes greater impact than when disbursed through intermediaries—the Path to Scale dashboard can accelerate this trend.“

Rukka Sombolinggi, an Indigenous Torajan leader from Indonesia and Secretary General of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)

The New Path to Scale Dashboard

"The findings of the brief demonstrate that though donors have made important progress in mobilizing more support to empower communities to secure their rights and conserve critical ecosystems, much more is required. The Path to Scale estimates that at least $10 billion is required by 2030 to support the recognition of an additional 400 million hectares of tropical forests for IPs, LCs, and ADPs. We hope that this tool will help donors coordinate among themselves and mobilize the resources and direct funding necessary to ensure that local peoples are positioned to meaningfully contribute to achieving the 2030 climate and biodiversity targets."

Bryson Ogden, Director of Rights and Livelihoods and project lead for RRI for the dashboard and brief

Other findings in the brief include:

  • Bilateral and multilateral sources still drive most current funding for IPs and LCs. In 2023, multilaterals accounted for 42 percent of total disbursements. Funding from private foundations has increased from 8 per cent to 17 per cent of the total funding.
  • Norway continues to stand out for its high share of funding directly to NGOs, with Rainforest Foundation Norway as a primary implementing organization (regranting to IP, LC, and ADP organizations). Norway also disburses many grants directly to Indigenous organizations and national NGOs in tropical forest countries. In addition, Norway has led globally in providing results-based REDD+ funding, which in turn has provided significant funding for IP, LC, and ADP tenure and forest guardianship, historically through the Amazon Fund.
  • USAID continues to use consulting firms to implement large-scale tenure and participatory conservation projects (e.g., ARD Inc. implementing >$10 million activities in Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Cambodia, and Liberia), though the agency is seeking to advance more direct funding initiatives through its localization agenda.
  • Multilateral fund financing mechanisms (e.g., Global Environment Facility's Inclusive Conservation Initiative, Climate Investment Fund's Dedicated Grant Mechanism) continue to be co-implemented by international conservation organizations—along with significant forest conservation projects supported by all donor types.

  • The World Bank and Germany are the predominant donors to government institutions in tropical forest countries.
  • There are few instances of rightsholder organizations receiving grants of more than $1 million from donors. Exceptions include arrangements where rightsholder organizations have partnered with an allied co-implementing organization (e.g., the Bezos Earth Fund grants to RRI in partnership with the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and the Campaign for Nature in the Congo Basin and Tropical Andes).

Torbjørn Gjefsen

Senior Adviser, Policy
(+47) 970 16 842