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MESOAMERICAN TERRITORIAL FUND

We are an alternative financial mechanism, managed directly by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, that is, by those who live and sustain the last great forests and natural territories in six countries of Mesoamerica.

We were born as an initiative of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), formed by indigenous and local community organizations that live in different territories and tropical forests of the region.

AMPB MEMBERS

Currently, our operations extend across: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

RATIONALE

A study by Rainforest Foundation Norway, in 2021 confirmed that less than 1% of global climate finance reached indigenous peoples and local communities in the global south in the last ten years.

This is not news to us, as we have directly experienced the fact that little international climate and nature protection funding has reached our local Mesoamerican
communities.

For this reason, we expressed our concern during the Global Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 (COP21) and, previously, at COP20 in Lima. In addition, we decided to take action and created our own Mesoamerican Territorial Fund.

OUR GOAL

We seek to contribute to the protection of biodiversity, the fight against climate change and the degradation of nature. We promote the strengthening of:

Governance.

Rights.

Indigenous and community entrepreneurship.

In this way we ensure the sustainability of the livelihoods, territories, forests, and other natural resources that Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage.

WHAT DO WE FINANCE?

Our Fund supports strategic initiatives, defined by the communities themselves and which have the potential to be replicable, scalable or to become public policy.
Among the different thematic funding windows are:

Climate change, nature degradation and biodiversity protection.

Land and forest rights.

Indigenous and community economic and productive enterprises.

Projects for women.

Youth projects.

Support for emergencies and opportunities.

5X5X5 AMBITION

In 5 years, our Fund will reach approximately 5 000 000 indigenous and community-based people, thereby actively conserving and restoring 50 000 000 hectares of forests and biodiverse ecosystems.

We are working to capitalize our Fund, over the next 5 years, from a current base of USD 1.5 million to USD 50 million to directly finance an annual average of 10 large community projects and 50 small community projects.

With this, we will be able to expand the geographic areas and territories prioritized by our Fund, involving other allies beyond the current membership of the AMPB.

A PROCESS THAT HAS ALREADY BEGUN

PILOTING

Support for small pilot projects and management of a grant portfolio of up to USD 11,000,000.

INCUBATION

Adjustment and formalization of our governance system and deepening of local participation, as well as alliances and commitments of financial resources for the following phases. Financing via donations.

CONSOLIDATION

Diversification of grant sources and financing mechanisms,
and consolidation of the governance system in the prioritized territories before expanding geographically in the future.

SCALING

Adjustments to the Fund's governance to adapt it to the communities it serves and their projects, as well as to community decision-making processes. Implementation of learned lessons, capitalization of USD 50,000,000 and diversification of FTM activities and services.

PILOTING

Support for small pilot projects and management of a grant portfolio of up to USD 11,000,000.

 

 

 

 

INCUBATION

Adjustment and formalization of our governance system and deepening of local participation, as well as alliances and commitments of financial resources for the following phases. Financing via donations.

CONSOLIDATION

Diversification of grant sources and financing mechanisms,
and consolidation of the governance system in the prioritized territories before expanding geographically in the future.

SCALING

Adjustments to the Fund's governance to adapt it to the communities it serves and their projects, as well as to community decision-making processes. Implementation of learned lessons, capitalization of USD 50,000,000 and diversification of FTM activities and services.

HOW DO WE WORK?

We are governed by a 7-person Board of Directors, composed of:

Three Grant Financing Instruments are adapted to the different investment realities in our territories:

Small grant

to communities with little administrative management experience (USD 10,000 to USD 15,000).

Large grant

to communities with a longer history of administrative management (USD 200,000 to USD 1,000,000).

Agile, rapid-response grants

for emergencies.

We create Territorial Base Committees, located in the territories in each country that are within the scope of the AMPB. Each of these committees is made up of representatives of the different community and thematic social bases in each territory (women, youth, community
entrepreneurs and general issues).

Their function is to identify, by consensus, project ideas and profiles for possible investment in their respective territories, in response to a call for proposals issued by the Fund’s Technical Committee for Regional Selection and Verification.

In addition, the Fund’s Technical Verification and Validation Committee is composed of 5 members (one community woman, one community youth, one person from the AMPB’s technical team and 2 independent experts). This committee validates the proposals through specific criteria, according to the call for proposals, verifying the eligibility of the proponents, expected strategic impact and their administrative, financial and technical feasibility.

Finally, the Fund’s Administrative and Technical Financial Unit is led by our Executive Management. It is composed of a team that, in addition to having professional experience, has practical knowledge and a track record of supporting our community organizations. It provides support to communities with less experience in the technical implementation and administrative management of projects, and with less access to technology.

The Fund’s administrative systems are tailored to the diversity of conditions in indigenous and community territories, while ensuring high standards of reporting and accountability.

TRANSPARENCY, MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The monitoring system combines internal self-evaluation3 with external and independent evaluation.

Deepens our community self-evaluation in the field, in each territory, and of each project. This helps us to build collective knowledge and cooperative action among ourselves. It helps us to value and review our performance in the projects, share learning among ourselves, and make joint decisions, based on mutual respect.

It provides an independent view from different perspectives, which allows us to identify problems and risks and then adjust strategies to achieve the desired changes in governance, rights, and entrepreneurship in our territories.

We subject ourselves to independent and transparent audit and evaluation so that all stakeholders know how well all aspects are working and whether they still need to be changed.

We integrate people from outside the AMPB into our governance as a mechanism to ensure transparency in decision making and neutrality on funded projects.

INITIATIVES FINANCED DURING THE PILOT PHASE

Women-lead forest nursery enterprise in Honduras.

Establishment of a biointensive community garden in Moskitia, Honduras.

Member of the Agroecological Farmers Network in Texcoco, Mexico, marketing her
products.

RESULTS

In the first pilot cycle of projects, during 2020-2021, we achieved:

10 projects supported

6 countries

7 indigenous peoples’ organizations

2 local community organizations

1 mixed organization: Indigenous Peoples and local communities

USD 600,000 invested

80% direct investment in the territory

20% of administration, operation, and accompaniment

USD 47,000 average investment per project

16 952 people supported

6 728 women supported (39.7%)

10 224 men supported (60,3%)

228 communities supported

9 audits performed

1 overall external evaluation of the pilot

GOVERNANCE

  • 78 organizational strengthening meetings
  • 2 internal virtual communication networks supported
  • 9 communities strengthened in land concession processes

RIGHTS

  • 27 processes of territorial defense and governance supported
  • 16 training events on rights
  • 30 meetings for dialogue and advocacy

VENTURES

  • 25 ventures supported on food self-sufficiency
  • 4 ventures supported on value-added timber products
  • 6 ventures supported on alternative tourism
  • 8 community forestry initiatives supported
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