15 December, 2019

The Green Climate Fund Indigenous Peoples Policy is welcome but Implementation will be tested on the Ground

By: Helen Biangalen-Magata
Baguio City, Philippines- Indigenous Peoples present during the 48th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies in Bonn, Germany welcomed the adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Policy of the Green Climate Fund and said the policy is a good step towards the respect of indigenous peoples’ rights in the fund.

“The IP policy is reaching and high level at least in terms of safeguards about indigenous peoples. The objective of the IP policy is not just to avoid doing harm but also for the GCF to be able to do good when implementing programs and projects” said Kimaren Riamit of the ILEPA in a Tebtebba- IWGIA side event.

He shared that the different important elements of the policy include the Free Prior and Informed Consent, Traditional Knowledge, indigenous peoples’ access to the fund, full and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples and redress and grievance mechanism that are culturally appropriate.

Helen Magata of Tebtebba Foundation gave an overview of what the Green Climate Fund is all about and how indigenous peoples have been engaging with it. She recounted how the indigenous peoples policy was swiftly adopted by the board members of the Fund on its 19th board meeting in February 27, 2018 in the GCF headquarters in Songdo, South Korea.

“This is a result of the collective work and support of all indigenous peoples who consistently signed on to the various letters that the IP Advisory Team sent to the GCF board members, and to the civil society organizations that lobbied with us in the Fund,” she said.

(Photo credit: Rafael Ponte)

Both Juan Carlos Jintiach of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and Gideon Sanago of the Pastoralists Indigenous Non-Governmental Organisations (PINGOs) Forum also expressed their optimism of the new IP policy. However, both of them pointed out that there needs to be a stronger and visible outreach of the fund through the different National Designated Authorities (NDA) and Accredited Entities (AEs) through which the Fund mostly works through- at the community level. 

Sanago also reiterated the need for the respect of the right of indigenous peoples on Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

“We learned from various experiences that indigenous peoples are often engaged in very superficial manner, if they are ever engaged at all. Therefore, we need to be knowledgeable on the things that are happening in our own countries so that this experience will never happen again,” he said.

He referred to a project (Simiyu project in Tanzania) that is among the funding proposals that were adopted by the GCF with conditions. The GCF board approved the project in 2017 with a condition that the accredited entity will come back to the board and show how it obtained the free, prior and informed consent of the peoples. According to Sanago, they have not heard about the funding proposal until was already in the GCF and ready for consideration of the board. He added that they did not have the chance to shape and influence the design of the proposal. Due to consistent and insistent follow up, the Accredited entity has already discussed with them on how to proceed with FPIC process. 

The side event also highlighted other recently adopted decisions of the Fund that are relevant to indigenous peoples and the indigenous peoples policy, including the Pilot Programme for REDD+ Results-Based Payments as shared by Tunga Bhadra Rai of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN).

The side event that was conducted in May 5, was facilitated by Ms. Kathrin Wessendorf of the Indigenous Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) was attended by at least 70 participants and was live-streamed via Skype.