Indigenous communities play a vital role in environmental preservation, and to bolster the power of Indigenous wisdom in conservation, the governments of the UK, US, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands have announced a $1.7 billion funding pledge to support Indigenous peoples in reversing forest loss and land degradation.
The funding is the result of COP26 talks and a part of the broader commitment from over 100 countries to end deforestation by 2030. The bulk of the funding will come from these governments, but private pledges totaling $600 million have also been contributed by Ford Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Arcadia, Wyss Foundation, and the Rainforest Trust.
Tuntiak Katan, a leader of Ecuador’s indigenous Shuar people, told the Guardian that he is cautiously optimistic about the pledge: “We are happy with the financing announcement, but we will be watching for concrete measures that will reveal whether the intent is to transform a system that has directed less than 1 percent of climate funding to indigenous and local communities. What matters is what happens next.”
A recent United Nations review showed that South American deforestation rates were up to 50 percent lower in areas under Indigenous control. In addition to providing a blueprint for a more sustainable society, Indigenous resistance is the leading force behind many environmental campaigns in the US and abroad.