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$100,000 can be dispersed to grantees in as quickly as a few weeks, allowing Rights and Resources Initiative (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:

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

Search and view all past SRM projects below.

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Strategic response to external threats of proposed geothermal project to the customary tenure rights and ancestral domain of the Guinaang, Colayo and Balatok tribes in Pasil, Kalinga, Philippines

Date Under contract – end date 30 June 2020

Country Philippines

Region Asia

Implementor Tebtebba

Funding Amount $24,514


Objective: Address the threat of the geothermal project through Information, education campaign on indigenous peoples’ rights and genuine FPIC process towards building consensus, develop community protocols to strengthen customary governance to lands and territories, and increase tribes’ awareness on alternatives in harnessing community resources.

Strengthening coordination across social sectors and in the implementation of Public Policy agreements

Date Under contract for the period July 11, 2019 to Extended to December 15, 2019

Country Colombia

Region Latin America

Implementor ONIC

Funding Amount $34,980


Outcome: support ONIC is helping the Ethnic Commission of Peace (IP-AD organizations) to engage with the Colombian government at the highest levels, aiming to secure the allocation of budget to implement the Ethnic Chapter of the peace accord, which constitutes the safeguard mechanism for the protection of the collective tenure rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples.

Results to August 2019: 

Under the new government of President Duque, the implementation of the peace accord has been  delayed. For Indigenous, Afro-descendant and women’s organizations the delay in the peace accord implementation has increased insecurity at all levels.  The systematic killing of Indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders, reaching more than 500 leaders assassinated since the signing of the peace accord, brought the social movement to a nationwide protest during the first half of 2019.

The protest pressured the government to approve the plan for the functioning of the High Level Space of Ethnic Peoples (IEANPE in Spanish), an official space in which IP and AD organizations have a high-level representation for monitoring the implementation of the peace accord. Considering the pressures from the social mobilization and international community, the government opened a call for technical-budgetary proposals to implement the peace agreement.

To respond to the government’s call for technical-budgetary proposals between the period June-October, RRI is supporting ONIC with the SRM to prepare a proposal for technical guidance and budget allocation to advocate for the inclusion of the actions enshrined in the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement in the national public budget for 2020. The preparation of the proposal is underway, and it will be passed to the Congress for approval.

Links to evidence:

“Gobierno Nacional incumple los acuerdos pactados con los Pueblos y Organizaciones Indígenas en el Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2018-2022 y a la Minga Nacional 2019”

“Primer Informe de Cumplimiento del Capítulo Étnico en el marco de la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz en Colombia”

“Capítulo Étnico en el Acuerdo Final de Paz”

Securing of Community Forest Rights and strengthening inclusive governance and local livelihoods in Nepal

Date Under contract for the period April 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019

Country Nepal

Region Asia

Implementor FECOFUN

Funding Amount $45,510


Objective: Leverage FECOFUN’s presence in more than 100 key offices at the local level to ensure community forestry is in the new budget and laws of Nepal’s new three-tier government. Preliminary negotiations and intelligence show that the Federal government alone could be persuaded to allocate between $5-10 million for community forestry, including community forest enterprise. At the provincial level, FECOFUN will engage with eight governments to ensure that they pass forestry laws which support community forestry.

Strategy for an effective prior consultation of indigenous communities affected by proposed development actions of Oil Block 200, Ucayali, Peru

Date Contract Extended to: August 31, 2020

Country Peru

Region Latin America

Implementor FECONAU/IDL/ FPP

Funding Amount $9,992


Objective: inform communities and provide key legal advice on the implications of the oil project and the available legal mechanisms to defend their rights and territories.  A communications and legal strategy to respond to MINEM’s advancing the FPIC process and to apply pressure to the government to influence or stop the FPIC process for Block 200 will be implemented with participation by the 14 affected communities, state institutions, and media outlets.

Evidence of Achievement:

This SRM support to FECONAU in coordination with the Institute for Legal Defense (IDL), helped ensure that 14 indigenous communities affected by proposed development actions of Oil Block 200 were fully informed and prepared to go through the prior consultation process. The activity is still ongoing due to a shift in institutional administration and continued changes in the schedule to carry out of the prior consultation process from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) to Perupetro.

However, IDL has implemented a political and legal advocacy strategy to support FECONAU in engaging specific Peruvian government authorities on what’s transpired between MINEM and the affected communities and submitted a legal action to challenge the prior consultation plan under Perupetro’s purview as a part the strategy. Meanwhile after holding informational sessions with IDL on their legal options, the communities developed a communications strategy to be launched in June 2020 for media coverage and advocacy tailored to the authorities in Lima in order to build upon the momentum generated by IDL submitting the legal action. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the schedule for prior consultation has been delayed further.

FECONAU and IDL are confronting major political and economic forces in Peru with limited resources and MINEM’s transfer of FPIC responsibility to Perupetro assures an extended legal battle and greater challenges for protecting collective land rights in Peru, where there will be a need for increased support of their efforts.

Defense of Collective and Territorial Rights Through a Technical-Budgetary and Advocacy Strategy to Achieve the Implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement

Date December 15, 2019

Country Colombia

Region Latin America

Implementor ONIC

Funding Amount $34,980


Objective: support ONIC in helping the Ethnic Commission of Peace (IP-Afro organizations) to engage with the Colombian government at the highest levels, aiming to secure the allocation of funds in the national public budget for 2020 to implement the Ethnic Chapter of the peace accord, which constitutes the safeguard mechanism for the protection of the collective tenure rights of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples.

Evidence of Achievement:

The deteriorating security situation in Colombia over the second quarter of 2019 in particular complicated ONIC’s capacity to carry out the political advocacy as planned. The humanitarian situation around criminalization and violation of rights is rapidly deteriorating—with at least 800 extrajudicial killings of social activists, Afro-descendants, and indigenous leaders since 2016—making efforts to advance the collective rights agenda while maintaining safety incredibly difficult.

ONIC completed the technical budgetary proposal and established key allies within the Congress including members within the Commissions for Peace, the parties Partido Liberal, Partido de la U, Polo Democratico Alternativo, Cambio Radical, and Partido Verde. However, the regressive actions of the Duque administration and its explicit lack of interest to implement the peace accord were a major challenge to the success of this SRM. Congress has cut budgetary appropriations for 2020 across social programs, including to agencies responsible for the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter. ONIC’s allies in Congress advised to wait until 2020 to present their proposal for technical guidance and budget allocation for inclusion into the 2021 budget.

During the implementation of this SRM, ONIC coordinated the presentation of the technical budgetary strategy before the High-Level Space of Ethnic Peoples (IEANPE) to discuss next steps for political advocacy in 2020 utilizing the technical budgetary strategy. 13 state institutions, 9 foreign embassies, 3 multilateral organizations, 9 congressional representatives, and 2 commissions were invited to participate in meeting, however attendance was affected by the social unrest. ONIC shared key points from the meeting with IEANPE and an abbreviated version of the technical-budgetary strategy with the invitees to maintain their engagement by socializing the strategy.

In addition, ONIC as a member of the IEANPE, carried out an advocacy strategy at the national and international levels achieving secure funding for the next two years for a total of $490,000 from the United Nations Multi-Donor Fund. This financing enables all indigenous and afro-descendant organizations that are members of the IEANPE to continue with their crucial role in monitoring the government’s compliance with 97 indicators defined in the Implementation Plan for the Ethnic Chapter for the Peace Agreement. The funding is essential for the IEANPE’s role in safeguarding the collective tenure rights of different ethnic groups and the promotion of intercultural dialogue, through a gender, generational, and human rights-oriented focus.

Legal-environmental strategy to restore the collective titling process of the Barú Community Council

Date November 30, 2019

Country Colombia

Region Latin America

Implementor OTEC and Collaborators: Barú Afro-Community Council, IOM-USAID, DeJusticia

Funding Amount $49,931


Objective: defend the fundamental right to the territory of the afro-descendant community of Barú, in Cartagena, Colombia, through a legal-environmental and advocacy strategy to re-establish the collective titling process by the National Land Agency, ANT.

Evidence of Achievement:

-A well-documented legal action against the ANT administrative order was prepared. If successful, the strategy could result in a historical victory of restoring the Barú community’s collective rights and titling, which would set a precedent providing legal grounds for other Afro-descendant communities under similarly nebulous collective tenure situations.  Because of the judicial recess in December, the case will be submitted in early January 2020.

-A study compiling collective tenure information on the island, including the reconstruction of the property and cartographic information of the area occupied by the community was completed to complement and strengthen the preparation of the legal action. The study also analyzed the state of the natural resources essential for community livelihoods.

-An advocacy strategy through the community’s network of allies in the State and CSOs was implemented and this has strengthened integration of groups across the Colombian Caribbean.

-A media/communication campaign about the case is also planned to be launched in early 2020 to avoid it getting drowned out by the November/December 2019 media coverage of the protests in Colombia.