WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 29, 2023: The Rights and Resource Group has selected Deborah Sanchez, an Indigenous Miskitu woman from Honduras to lead its funding mechanism, CLARIFI (the Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative). Deborah will officially assume her role on September 11, 2023.
CLARIFI was established by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Campaign for Nature (C4N) in 2022 to fill a critical gap in the current ecosystem of funding for Indigenous Peoples’, local communities’, and Afro-descendent Peoples’ rights and conservation. CLARIFI is a global initiative with a priority to support projects to advance justice, climate, conservation, and development goals in low-, lower, and middle-income countries, and all ecosystem types, particularly in those ecosystems, lands, and territories not covered by other financing mechanisms.
Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, Coordinator of RRI and President of the Rights and Resource Group which is RRI’s coordinating body, said, “ The selection of Deborah Sanchez underscores CLARIFI’s mandate to be an Indigenous-led funding mechanism, led by representatives of Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and local community rightsholders. I am excited and hopeful for her to bring her impressive personal and professional credentials to benefit communities across the world.”
Sanchez was born and raised in a small coastal community in the Honduran Moskitia where she began her career by engaging in her community’s titling process and governance system. She was previously a coordinator of forest, climate, and biodiversity at the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forest (AMPB) and a member of the Executive Committee and Interim Executive Director for the People Forest Partnership.
Sanchez has advised various organizations on forest certification, climate change, and economic development projects based on respect of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. These include the IUCN, the Social Capital Group, Société de coopération pour le développement international (SOCODEVI), and the Forest Stewardship Council of Honduras. She also advised the Rainforest Alliance and the German development agency GIZ on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Sanchez said on her appointment, “Throughout my life and career, I have seen the power and impact of land rights and access on communities’ governance and spiritual connection with their land and resources. The stories of Indigenous women around me have also inspired me to bring my own experiences from community, country, and region to this role. I plan to fully put this knowledge and perspective to work as we build CLARIFI into a powerful funding mechanism for the advancement of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples.”
Brian O’Donnell, Director of C4N said, “Sanchez understands the urgent need for a global financing mechanism that can be co-created with territorial communities to support their solutions for the climate and biodiversity crises. We look forward to the role she will play in encouraging investments in community-led initiatives for the governance of local territories for conservation and land restoration.”
CLARIFI’s design and implementation are guided by a steering committee of Indigenous and community rightsholders from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, along with partners from RRI and C4N. It prioritizes key thematic areas of tenure security, advocacy, and legal support; conservation and resource management; organizational capacity; environmental/human rights defenders; and Indigenous and local economies, in addition to providing support to emerging rightsholder-led funds.
Dr. Pasang Dolma Sherpa, an Indigenous member of the CLARIFI steering committee and Executive Director of CIPRED (Nepal) said, “CLARIFI was founded to correct a glaring gap in funding for Indigenous Peoples and local communities to advance their conservation practices, traditional livelihoods, and sustainable management of endangered landscapes. As a fellow Indigenous woman, Deborah can closely relate to our mission. She also brings to this role a proven record in working with Indigenous women and youth—areas we are excited for her to contribute to as she comes on board.”
For more information on CLARIFI, contact RRI’s Communications Team.
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