Estimated duration
5 Years
Estimated total value
Latin America & Caribbean
AGRO RURAL; Inter-American Development Bank

Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Strategies


This Commitment will support the participatory development of community action plans and capacity building in at least three countries in Latin America. Specific investments will be determined by the community action plans but may include support for capacity building and adaptation and mitigation initiatives, including: improved land tenure security, training in forest mapping and carbon measurements, engagement in carbon finance programs, developmnet of policies and instruments to capture and allocate revenues for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and participation in regional, national , or international dialogues on climate change. Basic selection criteria for beneficiary countries and communities will include:
– Level of vulnerability to climate change impacts, such as bio-physical and ecosystem changes that affect community livelihoods;
– Level of vulnerabiliy to displacement or loss of access to resources due to climate change impacts or to potential mitigation projects proposed for ancestral territories or lands currently used or occupied;
– Community interest;
– Existence of a viable partner or of internal community resources to execute commitment activities;
– For mitigation projects: (i) potential forest area to be protected or reforested and/or potential levels of carbon capture or storage, or GHG emissions reduced, and/or (ii) feasibility of mitigation project to mobilize resources for the community through carbon or other climate change mitigation financing schemes.
The projected milestones for the implementation of the Commitment will be adjusted to specific community and project situation but will be breadly as follows:
03/10: Selection of Project Executing Agency (agencies) and pariticipating countries
06/10: Identification of beneficiary communities
12/10: Completion of training in 100 communities and community based climate change action road maps in 20 communities
1/11-3/11: Development of 5 action plans and progress on 10 others
3/11-12/11: Implementation of 5 action plans and identification and selection of pilot projects
1/12-12/12: Implementation of carbon finance, adaptation, and other key projects as part of the five action plans; and implementation of pilot projects
1/11-12/12: Participation of select community representatives in national, regional, or international climate change policy disscusions and meetings (at least 5 documented community cases)


It has been well established that indigenous communities are among those most fundamentally affected by the impacts associated with climate change. In particular, their dependency on their natural environment for physical, cultural, and spiritual survival makes them highly vulnerable to changes in climate cycles. This situation is exacerbated by the often fragile nature of the lands they occupy and use.
Furthermore indigenous people may be negatively impacted by restrictions to their traditional activities and access to natural resources as a result of carbon finance schemes that target their lands and territories. At the same time, their close connection to these environments and their traditional coping and adaptive strategies, make them uniquely qualified to participate in climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. As an example, carbon financing schemes represent a unique opportunity for indigenous peoples to be compensated for forest preservation which is inherent to their way of life.
Revenues from carbon financing could support indigenous peoples in becoming less financially dependent on central governments, especially in Latin America where indigenous peoples already play a major role in tropical forest stewardship. This will require that communities have access to land tenure rights, governance mechanisms, and technical capabilities that enable them to: (i) implement carbon finance schemes that meet market requirements, (ii) capture the revenues and benefits of these schemes; and (iii) allocate the benefit flows in a sustainbale mananer. The absence of these factors may lead to conflict, exclusion, loss of land, or acces to resources and other socio-cultural impacts.
Despite these circumstances, indigenous peoples, especially in the developing countries, have not played a strong role in the dialogue and decision-making processes regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the climate change dialogue becomes increasingly sophisticated with new science and market and governance options, the already tenuous capacity of indigenous peoples to participate and contribute to the design of these activities continues to decrease due to lack of access to information and adequate resources to participate in local, regional, national, and international meetings and processes.
For the reasons described above, the IDB proposes to support a reorientation of this engagement process as well as concrete actions to strengthen indigenous peoples’ capacity to mitigate and adapt to the risks of climate change, and to participate in the benefit flows that might be generated by carbon fianace and related environmental services schemes. Through this commitment the IDB will mobilize a multi-disciplinary effort.
The Commitment will support communities in understanding the challenges of climate change vulnerability and the opportunities and risks presented by carbon finance schemes and the projects that underly them. Based on this understanding, communities will be supported in identifying their goals in the various spaces of the climate change arena and developing road maps to achieve those goals.These issues relate to engagement in carbon finance schemes, implementation of pilot projects, and development and initial implementation of comprehensive community climate change action plans, among others.

Progress Update

October 2014
Around 1,000 indigenous leaders from 418 communities and 84 indigenous groups from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil benefited from community-based training in climate change and REDD readiness. The curriculum included several issues related to climate change concepts, ecosystem services, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), indigenous rights, international conventions on biodiversity, climate change, and national legislation. Likewise, several community leaders received practical training on carbon stock measurement, GIS and interpretation of carbon maps. Scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center provided materials and instruments for the training. The impact of the training was measured through before-after evaluations that revealed a 56 percent increase in knowledge of trainees regarding climate change topics
The project identified and trained five new young indigenous leaders who participated in international events on conservation, climate change, and REDD+ in Washington D.C. (USA), San Jose (Costa Rica), Montevideo (Uruguay), and San Martin (Peru). These events were sponsored by Rights and Resources Initiative, the Mesoamerican Alliance for People and Forests, the World Climate Research Programme, and the Forest Dialogue. Opportunities for networking with these organizations and programs were facilitated for the project partner Environmental Defense Fund;
Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and its area of influence in Madre de Dios, Peru was selected as a pilot site to develop inputs for the Jurisdictional REDD+ program through the consultancy ‘Opportunities to develop REDD+ Projects in indigenous territories under the Indigenous REDD proposal’ in collaboration with the IDB’s Climate Change and Sustainability (CCS) team. 33 communities live in this territory of 900,000 hectares of tropical rain forest and cloud forest that contain a unique biodiversity of global importance. The Federación Nativa de Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) played a vital role during the execution of this component.

Partnership Opportunities

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.