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.

Find an entry

Peru—Mobilizing Communities Affected by Oil Spill to Demand Compliance with Court Rulings

Date November 2021 – May 2022

Country Peru

Region Latin America

Implementor Legal Defense Institute (IDL)

Funding Amount $15,000


This Strategic Response Mechanism provided financial support to the Legal Defense Institute (IDL) of Peru in support of communities affected by the 2014 Norperuano pipeline oil spill. IDL worked to ensure that the reparations for damages and health care ordered by the judicial court ruling actually reached the affected communities in Loreto, Peru.


In June 2014, 2,500 barrels of oil from the Norperuano Pipeline spilled in Peru’s Loreto region, severely impacting the Indigenous Cuninico, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, and Nueva Esperanza communities, among others. These communities have lived in the Amazon Forest region and stewarded the land for generations. The spill, which occurred in the Cuninico River, has impacted their ability to grow crops and access clean water. The communities worked together, with the support of the IDL, to file a case against Peru’s Health Ministry (MINSA) and the regional government of Loreto in order to request specialized health care for the communities affected by the oil spill.

In two unprecedented rulings by Peru’s judicial courts, the communities won. In 2018, a regional court ordered the Regional Health Directorate of Loreto to develop, implement, and finance a health plan for the Native communities, and in 2021 the Constitutional Court ordered PetroPerú to identify damages to determine compensation The main objective of this SRM project was to ensure compliance with the judicial ruling, to guarantee the participation of community leaders in the development of the health plan, and to determine the value of damages caused by the oil spill.

How did we help?

With funding from RRI’s SRM, IDL led participation and represented four of the affected communities in hearings on the enforcement of the two rulings, bringing community leaders and officials from the Judiciary and Regional Health Directorate to discuss face-to-face.

New health plans are discussed by local communities in Peru affected by the 2014 Norperuano oil spill.
On April 23, 2022, the communities of San Francisco, Nueva Esperanza, Cuninico and Santa Rosa discuss the new health plan. Credit: IDL


The impact

  • IDL designed and implemented a community-led health plan for four of the communities affected by the 2014 spill of 2,500 barrels of oil.
  • IDL also led a successful campaign to raise public awareness on progress in compliance with the court’s rulings and published a document outlining the process of monitoring and enforcing ruling compliance.
  • Their efforts resulted in 17 media stories being published about their struggle, including Wayka’s “The tragedy after an oil spill has a woman’s face”, featuring video interviews with community members. The impact was also documented by AIDA, Diario La Republica, Servindi, and Expreso, among others. Public pressure is extremely important and a way communities can help ensure regional governments and judicial bodies adhere to hearing schedules and protocols.
  • IDL produced a report on the valorization of damages in the community—both ecological and economic—sharing this information with community members, judicial officials, and PetroPerú. With this information, the affected communities are more equipped to reach a fair agreement with Petroperú throughout the compensation negotiations.

Advancing Land Tenure Reform in Indonesian Land Bill by supporting local districts legal recognition of Indigenous Peoples land tenure rights and their mapped territories

Date 2015

Country Indonesia

Region Asia

Implementor Epistema Institute

Funding Amount $23,000


With RRI’s support, the Epistema Institute published six policy briefs on strategic issues of land tenure reform in response to the Indonesian land bill. The institute was also able to hold several meetings with Parliament legal drafters and experts as well as with Parliament Commissions and conduct regular information meetings with civil society organizations.

Mobilization of Indigenous Peoples Affected by Oil Spills to Demand Compliance with Court Rulings Ordering Reparations for Damages and Health Care

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Peru

Region Latin America

Implementor IDL (Legal Defense Institute)

Funding Amount $15,000


SRM funding supported Indigenous Peruvian communities affected by a 2014 oil spill in their ancestral territory through workshops, conversations, information gathering, and compliance monitoring. With RRI’s support, the Legal Defense Institute is working to ensure compliance with the Judicial ruling ordering the Regional Health Directorate of the Regional Government of Loreto to design, implement and finance a health plan for Indigenous communities.

For context, in 2014, 2500 barrels of oil spilled from the Norperuano Pipeline in the Cuninico ravine of Loreto (Peru). In 2015, OEFA concluded that Petroperú was responsible for the potential damage to the health of native communities because of the spill. In 2016, Cuninico’s leader participated in a public hearing of the IACHR, which ratified this ruling. In 2018, the Civil Chamber confirmed the sentence and ordered to design an emergency public health strategy to the affected communities. In January 2021 the Constitutional Court sided with the Indigenous communities, a historic victory.

Protection Action to Defend the Cofán Population from Extractive Activities in their Ancestral Lands

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Ecuador

Region Latin America

Implementor Earth Law Center

Funding Amount $19,238


RRI is supporting the town of Cofán, Eduador to protect the Indigenous community after six Petro Ecuador oil wells were built without community consultation. The wells significantly impacted the community as they cut through the center of their territory. PetroEcuador has shown no signs of intent to negotiate, and the community is bracing for armed conflict. Activities expected to be completed with SRM funding included:

  • Leading the legal action against the Ecuadorian government based on the violation of the community’s FPIC rights.
  • Organizing online and in-person workshops to inform community members on the legal action needed.
  • Promoting communications campaigns to raise awareness and impact to influence local and national authorities.

Recognizing and Protecting the Afro-descendant community conservation systems in the Pacific/northern Cauca region

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Colombia

Region Latin America

Implementor ASOMCAUCA (Association of Afro-descendant Women of Northern Cauca)

Funding Amount $100,000


RRI is supporting the Association of Afro-descendant Women of Northern Cauca in its fight to to gain recognition and protection of Afro-descendant community conservation systems in the Pacific Cauca region in Colombia. Activities began in December 2021, but will be ongoing until 2023 and include:

  • Organization of assembly for the socialization and discussion of the project with the communities for approval of the workplan.
  • Identification, delimitation, and mapping of conservation areas in each Community Council.
  • Holding assemblies for each of the Community Councils to officiate the areas to be conserved.
  • Organization of follow-ups, evaluations, and monitoring of activities to track the evolution of the process in each area, to gather lessons learned, and to plan next steps.

Securing Local Communities’ and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in and Around Protected Areas

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Nepal

Region Asia

Implementor FECOFUN (Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal)

Funding Amount $69,765


After Nepal’s federal government announced its intention to demarcate nearly 110,000 hectares of community forest lands as strict protected areas, RRI’s collaborator FECOFUN, the Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal, sprung into action. With SRM funding, FECOFUN and its allies mobilized to counter this demarcation, drive, engage civil society, and generate resources and advocacy forums to build critical mass against the proposal. FECOFUN’s mobilization benefits from the increasing global attention to conservation-related human rights abuses in Nepal, highlighted in the review of the WWF by an Independent Panel of Experts and a recent publication from Amnesty International.  Since the approval of the SRM in early November, a sustained media campaign is underway and is steadily building momentum.