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Just 17 percent of funding for Indigenous land conservation goes toward Indigenous-led projects, a new report finds.

From 2011 to 2020, $2.7 billion went toward protecting Indigenous land, but only about $477 million funded initiatives managed by Indigenous people or local communities, according to the report from Rainforest Foundation Norway and the Rights and Resources Initiative.

The report found that donors were highly isolated from local groups, largely distributing funds through intermediaries, such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, and the UN Development Programme. Roughly half of the total funding for local land management was channeled through multilateral institutions and implemented by large international organizations.

“The donors do not trust completely Indigenous peoples,” Valéria Paye, executive director of Fundo Podáali, a fund led by Indigenous women in the Brazilian Amazon, told Grist. “They say one thing, but in the practice and the time for action, it’s a different thing.”

Last year, countries pledged $1.7 billion to support efforts by Indigenous people to protect their land, but Indigenous groups expressed skepticism that they would see the money. “We suspect that many of these funds will be distributed through existing climate finance mechanisms, which have demonstrated great limitations in reaching our territories and supporting our initiatives,” the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, an Indigenous coalition, said in a statement.


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