How We Deliver

Catalyzing Breakthroughs: The SRM

Addressing unforeseen threats and opportunities with the Strategic Response Mechanism

Unforeseen threats to indigenous and community land rights can arise quickly and require rapid action to be countered effectively. Just as rapidly, critical windows of opportunity to secure rights can appear--and if not seized, can easily be lost.

The Strategic Response Mechanism (SRM) is designed to enable timely, flexible responses to these unforeseen opportunities and threats. It complements RRI’s annual planning process by allowing for rapid response to unexpected and time-limited opportunities. Up to US$50,000 can be dispersed to grantees in as quickly as a few weeks, allowing RRI to be effective in shifting political landscapes. 

Since 2008, RRI has used the SRM to influence important legislation concerning land and resource rights, such as supporting civil society efforts to ensure passage of groundbreaking legislation that recognizes community land rights in Liberia. SRM projects have also been used to effectively respond to urgent threats, such as resisting the expansion of an oil palm company’s operations on indigenous lands in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as overturning a judicial ruling that had revoked traditional land rights from forest communities for the development of a superhighway in Nigeria. The SRM has also helped maximize opportunities to influence the private sector toward respecting local communities’ rights to their lands and resources.

Selection Criteria

SRM proposals are evaluated and approved through a simple, expedited process. In order for an activity or project to qualify for SRM support, the activity must meet all five criteria:

  1. Capitalizes on a political window of opportunity, which is typically lost if not leveraged quickly
  2. Supports a critical moment in a social mobilization process
  3. Innovates, exploits higher risk opportunities, and has potential to accelerate impact or develop RRI partnerships
  4. Is a new or newly-expanded activity
  5. Has outcomes dependent on incremental funding and connectivity at the right moment

Search and view all past SRM projects below. 

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CSO Monitoring of RSPO Complaints Panel Decision on GVL’s Complaints

Date: May 8, 2018 - December 15, 2018

Country: Liberia

Region: Africa

Implementer: Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev)

Funding Amount: $49,473

Details:

The original intent of this SRM was for the Civil Society Oil Palm Working Group (CSO-OPWG) of Liberia to monitor the decision of the RSPO complaints panel against Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) for violating community rights. However, shortly after the SRM began, GVL suspended its RSPO membership and the objective of the plan was shifted to focus on monitoring GVL’s sustainability action plan instead. Although the CSO-OPWG was barred from the drafting of the GVL sustainability action plan and struggled to monitor it due to non-transparent implementation by the company, critical community awareness was raised on the matter.

Under the leadership of Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development, the CSO-OPWG informed communities and the government both of the complaints brought against GVL, as well as the RSPO decision against GVL. It also informed communities of GVL’s intended sustainability action plan. Furthermore, the CSO-OPWG held training sessions for complainant communities on effective monitoring techniques to use for both the RSPO decision and GVL’s sustainability action plan. The CSO-OPWG also published a full monitoring report on the sustainability action plan.

Securing Indigenous Peoples’, Women’s and Local Communities’ Rights Under a New Legal Land Framework in the Central African Republic (CAR), and Support for the Establishment of REPAR-CAR to Monitor the Land Reform Process

Date: February 6 - June 30, 2018

Country: Central African Republic

Region: Africa

Implementer: Center for Environmental Information and Sustainable Development (CIEDD)

Funding Amount: $32,323

Details:

This year, the government of Central African Republic announced its decision to draft a new land law, as the current legal framework centers on outdated laws from 1899, 1960, and 1964. With this crucial legislative opening, CIEDD used the SRM to solicit community feedback and secure women’s, indigenous peoples’, and local communities’ rights within the new framework.  Furthermore, CIEDD, established a network of parliamentarians (REPAR-CAR) to monitor the drafting and to champion the law within the government.

Thanks to the SRM, CIEDD was able to relaunch the land reform advocacy that had previously been undertaken by civil society but had stalled due to blocks and delays by the government. Significant progress was made in evaluating and responding to the proposed draft law first by hiring a consultant to analyze the draft, and then through consultation meetings with communities. Moreover, CIEDD will present a position note on the integration of women’s, communities’, and indigenous peoples’ rights in the new law to the government.

Securing Forest Peoples’ Customary Tenure in Kenya – a Strategic Response to Urgent Threats and Emerging Opportunities

Date: February 28 - December 7, 2018

Country: Kenya

Region: Africa

Implementer: Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)

Funding Amount: $64,919

Details:

In response to forced evictions of the Sengwer peoples and risk of eviction of Ogiek communities in Kenya, FPP used the SRM to substantially reduce the threat to these communities and securing the recognition of customary tenure through the implementation of Kenya’s recent legal developments and enforcing EU policies requiring human rights-based development cooperation. To do so FPP pursued domestic and regional (EACJ) judicial openings, obtained community title access for Sengwer and Ogiek communities, and advocated for the suspension of the EU WaTER project until it is restructured to protect the rights of implicated communities. Besides legal advocacy, FPP also utilized strategic dialogue, pursued a communications/media campaign, and mobilized communities for outreach.

Though the Sengwer and Ogiek cases have advanced toward securing court rulings that protect communities from violence and secure their rights to customary lands, all have yet to be decided (decisions are imminent- 2019). Building on the adoption of the Bungoma County Forest Act, a strong alliance of forest dwellers and pastoralists was also formed (CLAN) to engage in community-county dialogues to support community tenure-based approaches to forest conservation including mapping customary lands, registering land claims, and applying for community land titles.

Congolese Environmental Civil Society’s advocacy around the major ongoing reforms in the Forest Sector: drafting of the new Forest Policy, the revision of the Forest Code, and the lifting of the Moratorium on the issuance of new logging concessions

Date: June 1 - October 1, 2018

Country: DRC

Region: Africa

Implementer: Coalition of Women Leaders for the Environment and for Sustainable Development (CFLEDD)

Funding Amount: $35,000

Details:

In 2018, the government of the DRC announced its intentions to revise its Forest Code and threatened to lift the moratorium on forest concessions. Using the SRM, CFLEDD sought to create and implement a strategic advocacy and consensual action plan for use by civil society groups to secure their inclusion and participation in these processes. This was created with input from approximately 115 civil society members. CFLEDD also recruited three consultants to write technical notes on the Congolese Forest Policy, Forest Code revisions, the lifting of the forest moratorium, and the place of transversal themes and rights of local populations and civil society throughout these processes.

These policy notes were then validated at national level workshops and formatted into brochures for wider public distribution. The information is formatted so that it is easier for communities to understand. CFLEDD also had exchanges with FONAREDD and the Congolese parliament to validate the technical notes. As a result of this activity and cooperation with administrative institutions, civil society and communities are much more strongly implicated in the advocacy process for the forest governance policies.

Seizing Opportunities for advancing the Rights of Guinean Communities Affected by AngloGold Ashanti

Date: October 17 - 31, 2018

Country: Guinea

Region: Africa

Implementer: Inclusive Development International (IDI)

Funding Amount: $49,975

Details:

The objective of IDI’s SRM in Kitinian, Guinea was to support mediation between the mining company AngloGold Ashanti and the communities that were forcibly displaced because of the extension of the company’s mining operations. To do so, IDI hosted a four-day negotiation training and preparation workshop for 21 community representatives in which participants mapped a timeline of their interactions with AngloGold Ashanti, and better organized their requests and organization tactics. For community members to negotiate with AngloGold Ashanti from a position of strength, IDI led intensive capacity building and evidence collection efforts.

In total, IDI mobilized a petition of complainants with 300 signatures and spent some 90 hours in dialogue with the company in both pre-mediation meetings and formal sessions. As a result, there is a preliminary agreement between parties to address water access at the current resettlement site. Mediations have continued past the project end date, with the most recent session taking place on November 26th, 2018. In this session, the complainants hoped to address infrastructure issues, company transparency, compensation for loss of assets and income, and human rights abuses by the company.

Strategic Support to Kendeng Communities

Date: August 9, 2017 - March 31, 2018

Country: Indonesia

Region: Asia

Implementer: Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia

Funding Amount: $59,718

Details:

This initiative sought to provide strategic support to the Kendeng Communities in their struggle against the construction of a cement factory by PT Semen Indonesia in Rembang, Central Java. This local community opposes this project that will destroy the water sources of the Kendeng mountains area which are essential not only for their farming activities, but for their survival. Despite support from President Joko Widodo and a Supreme Court ruling to revoke the license of the cement company, the Central Java Governor issued a new license allowing PT Semen Indonesia to extract limestone and clay from the mountains of North Kendeng, whose water people depend on for their livelihood.

The Kendeng community, and in particular women, have been mobilizing against this project, setting up tents on the construction site, at the offices of the Central Java Governor, and cementing their feet in front of the presidential palace. The communities have a strong case, a favorable Supreme Court judgment, presidential instructions, and Komnas HAM (Indonesian Commission on Human Rights) recommendations. However, they are facing criminalization in Central Java for the actions taken.

This SRM helped to create a conducive environment to ensure the rule of law and use this conflict as a symbolic case to address key problems of collusion of interests and weak law enforcement. Through the SRM LBH provided legal support to Kendeng community members facing criminalization; developed a counter narrative using evidence of PT Semen Indonesia’s social and environmental impacts, combined with information on the company’s influence on political elites, media, and within universities; supported communities’ mobilization; and facilitated advocacy initiatives by the community regarding their rights.

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