Representatives of indigenous and local community organizations from 16 countries created the Community Territorial Finance Alliance with the aim of transforming financing mechanisms for territories from the grassroots, as well as their relationship with community financing organizations and government organizations, banks, multilateral organizations and other actors that are interested in contributing to this vision.
The Alliance calls on all national, regional, local and global authorities to support the proposals of the indigenous peoples and local communities of Mesoamerica to continue their fight against the climate crisis, loss of natural life and the reversal of ground degradation.
This is one of the results of the Exchange of knowledge on community mechanisms for territorial financing, held in the city of Morelia, Michoacán (Mexico) from October 7 to 9, 2022. Its objective was to strengthen territorial capacities from the implementation of the challenges and good experiences of financing to combat Climate Change, for the conservation of biodiversity and to reverse the degradation of nature.
“We have to strengthen capacities in financing issues so that we can empower ourselves economically” – America Olgin Mora, Red Mocaf
The event was convened by the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Mexican Network of Forest Peasant Organizations (Red Mocaf); the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF) mechanism; the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and the Coordinator of Territorial Women Leaders of Mesoamerica of AMPB. It had the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
A call for transformation
The indigenous peoples and local communities that make up the new Alliance demand that national, regional and local governments, multilateral agencies, international organizations and corresponding authorities include in their environmental and development policies the proposals of indigenous peoples and communities to make it possible for financing reaches their territories with alternative financing models that are based on a set of principles.
This effort seeks to promote new forms of financing in different modalities that respond to the needs and aspirations of organizations in territories; strengthen community organization on a territorial basis as a fundamental basis to guarantee rights, management and development of initiatives aimed at recognizing governance schemes and strengthening the livelihoods of communities; ensure that financial systems articulate various actors with common objectives that know the aspirations, needs and contributions from the spaces; strengthen their own knowledge systems and local capacities for the design and implementation of local, national and regional financing mechanisms; and develop financing experiences that combine donations/subsidies, soft loans, public funds, private funds.
“If we don’t know what we have or what we want, we are easily lost. We work on restoration projects and I believe that we must have indicators of progress in the territories” – Ana Ortiz, Semilla A.C.
The collective recognizes the linguistic and cultural diversity of the actors involved in this agenda, and the innovative power that derives from it. It also highlights the challenge of incorporating women, youth and other excluded sectors.
The Alliance will promote a space for coordination and dialogue of knowledge between community financing organizations and government organizations, banks, multilateral organizations and other actors that are interested in contributing to this vision. From this vision, a space of imagination, creation and collaboration will be articulated to build financing mechanisms based on trust and mutual respect; and establish alliances that respond to the aspirations that recognize the value that each actor that participates and makes visible the investment of the communities and their organizations and contributes important knowledge.
The Alliance is conceived as a creative space that allows challenging, innovating and proposing new ways of thinking, narratives, approaches to doing things involving various actors who can work together.
“The resources must be channeled directly to the organizations of forestry and agricultural producers, indigenous peoples and local communities. This will allow them to decide how to use them, since they are the ones who best understand the situation on the ground” – Jhony Zapata, Forestry Officer, FAO Forest and Farm Facility (FFF).
Dialogue with donors
The exchange in Morelia will be secured by a meeting with donors in Washington D.C., United States, on October 12 and 13. This will be a space for meeting potential donors and allies interested in investing in and strengthening indigenous and community financing mechanisms.
This meeting will be the first of a series during which options and solutions will be offered to change the current model of climate, biodiversity, and development aid. The goal is to kick-start a large proportion of international finance, where change really needs to happen, but to do so in a way that is relevant to rural communities.