Bridging the Gap: Working to Deliver the CoP26 Forest Tenure Pledge

Dialogue co-hosted by

Rights and Resources Initiative and the Donor Working Group

On September 29, 2022, RRI and the Donor Working Group hosted a virtual discussion between Indigenous Peoples and local communities and the donors of a historic $1.7 billion Pledge made in 2021 at CoP26 to support these groups. This dialogue provided a unique opportunity for Indigenous and local community members to connect directly with the Pledge donors, and receive updates and answers to their questions about the commitment.


At CoP26, 22 donors—including 5 bilaterals (Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 17 foundations—made a historic commitment to support Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights to their lands and forests.

Their Pledge to contribute $1.7 billion between 2021-25 reflects both the urgency for solving the climate and biodiversity crises and recognition of the essential role of IPs and LCs as guardians/stewards of forests and nature. But despite the critical role they play in protecting forests and nature, only a small fraction of these communities enjoy secure rights to own, manage, and control their lands and resources. They also have little access to the support, services and funding required to protect forests and nature and to pursue sustainable livelihoods.

In fact, new research by RRI and Rainforest Foundation Norway finds that only 17% of global Indigenous and local community tenure and forest management funding between 2011–2020 mentioned an Indigenous organization.

The next few years are critical to developing more effective ways for how different stakeholders and sectors can work together to achieve the ambitions of this Pledge. However, key questions remain from IP and LC rightsholders themselves about the status of the commitments that constitute the Pledge. How are donors working together and with other stakeholders to achieve these ambitions? What are the pathways through which rightsholders can access funding? And how will donors be held to account?

This virtual event, hosted by RRI in collaboration with the Donor Working Group (officially known as the Forest Tenure Funders Group) provided a unique space for Indigenous and local community leaders and representatives to connect directly with the Pledge donors. The event provided a platform for sharing information and updates on the Pledge with a wide group of stakeholders, answering their questions, and for gathering feedback.

Speakers and Panelists

  • Margarita Antonio Matamoros, Miskitu Indigenous woman and Program Coordinator of the AYNI Indigenous Women’s Fund at the International Forum on Indigenous Women, the first and only fund created and directed by and for Indigenous women, Nicaragua
  • Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
  • Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister of State and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
  • Chris Penrose Buckley, Senior Land Policy Lead, Government of UK
  • Joseph Itongwa Mukumo, Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Network for the Management of Forest Ecosystems of Central Africa (REPALEAC), the DRC
  • Dr. Shree Kumar Maharjan, Deputy Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Nepal
  • Sara Omi, President of the Territorial Women Leaders of Mesoamerica of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests, Panama
  • Peter Kitelo, Ogiek leader and Executive Director, Chepkitale Indigenous People Development Project, Kenya
  • Clemencia Carabalí, Presidential Advisor for Women’s Equity, Colombia