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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Support to Develop Sustainable Forest Management Standard in Community Forestry

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Nepal

Implementor GFN (Green Foundation Nepal)

Funding Amount 30,604


This SRM, approved in early October, is progressing satisfactorily and activities have begun in the form of local, provincial and national level meetings with key stakeholders.

Results expected from this SRM include the formation of clear policy guidelines arising from discussions with local government representatives from select municipalities to develop community friendly standards and follow-up from governments. This will ensure that the new Sustainable Forestry Management Standard is true to its name in letter and spirit, and will replace the “Scientific Forest Management” (SciFM) which was promoted over the customary practices of Community Forestry User Groups (CFUGs). GFN and its allies have advocated against SciFM since before its dominance in policy, critiquing its implications on rightsholders and overall efficacy. In line with these critiques, SciFM has failed to produce the promised benefits on forest management and is being reviewed by a government task force to be replaced.

Community-based Management in Kerinci-Seblat National Park and Development of Sustainable Community Enterprises in Non-Timber Forest Products

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Indonesia

Implementor Walestra

Funding Amount 49,989


The National Conservation Director (MoEF) approved the first Partnership for Ecosystem Restoration for two “Women’s Caring for the Environment” groups (KPPL) in Bengkulu province on Sumatra Island. The conservation partnership was granted to two women’s groups, KPPL Sumber Jaya and KPPL Sejahtera, based respectively in Karang Jaya village and in Sumber Bening village, in Rejang Lebong District. The KPPL Sumber Jaya group with 40 members was granted 37,66 ha and the KPPL Sejahtera group with 42 members was granted 40,52 ha in the Kerinci Seblat Nasional Park. This is a breakthrough because these are the first community groups in the conservation area buffer zone to become partners in managing conservation areas for the ecosystem restoration scheme in a National Park in Indonesia. Importantly, the project also strengthens food security for the women’s groups, who grow fruit trees and other edible plants in their nursery to plant in the national park area.

Maya Q’eqchi’ Indigenous Community of Agua Caliente v. Guatemala: Setting a Legal Precedent on Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Land and Resource Rights in Guatemala

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Guatemala

Implementor ILRC (Indian Law Resources Center)

Funding Amount 100,000


This SRM’s progress is tied to the Court’s scheduling as it supports the bringing of the Maya Q’eqchi’ Agua Caliente Indigenous Community v. Guatemala case to the IACHR, a culmination of a 45-year struggle to secure legal ownership rights of the Q’eqchi’ people in 16 communities in Guatemala. The people of Agua Caliente and the surrounding communities have endured illegal and endless delays and irregularities in survey, titling, and registry processes that have allowed private companies to exploit minerals in the communities’ lands, skirting requirements for community consultation,

ILRC is presenting an argument to the Court on how Guatemala’s failure to recognize the legal, social, and political character of Indigenous Peoples violates the country’s human rights obligations under international law. This is a critical case because it raises the issue of Indigenous Peoples’ permanent sovereignty over natural resources – one of the main elements of the right of self-determination of ‘peoples’ under international law — for the first time before the IACHR. A hearing in February 2022 has the potential to deepen jurisprudence on Indigenous Peoples’ collective property rights in Guatemala that could set a new legal precedent on Indigenous land titling applying to all countries in the Americas. In anticipation of the upcoming hearing, ILRC’s legal team is collecting data and testimonies, and working with community leaders to serve as witnesses before the IACHR.

Read the blog post.

Protection of Ekuri Community Forest against Illegal Logging

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Nigeria

Implementor WATER (Wise Admin. of Terrestrial Environment and Resources)

Funding Amount 40,000


To date, WATER has organized two community workshops to share information and identify community members’ roles and responsibilities. FPIC was obtained from the communities during these meetings and a court case against Sibawood Industry and Agriculture was filed, with four plaintiffs and four witnesses from affected communities. WATER is in the process of supporting ICCA registration to better protect the Ekuri forest long-term.

Technical-legal and Advocacy Strategy to Influence the Multipurpose Cadaster Policy of Colombia for the Defense of the Territorial Rights of Afro-descendant Peoples

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Colombia

Implementor Hileros/PCN (Black Communities process of Colombia)

Funding Amount 47,546


Following the mobilization of 56 communities the territorial level communities at the territorial level who had not previously received information on the government’s plan to implement the multipurpose cadaster, a road map of the legal-political strategy for influencing the multipurpose cadaster implementation plan was agreed upon.

The road map addresses: 1) continued pedagogic formation at the community level to ensure that communities are well-prepared and equipped with critical information to debate during the government meetings; 2) definition of crucial spaces and moments for participation in meetings with actors supporting the multipurpose cadaster plan and request information (World Bank, IDB, USAID, AFD) and governmental institutions involved in the implementation plan (IGAC, ANT, Minister of Finances, National Development Institute, DANE, SNR); 3) alliance-building with Indigenous groups (CNTI and MPC); and 4) coordination with regional and/or local governments (District of Cartagena in the Caribbean region; Northern Cauca region, and Pacific region).

Pending activities include a national forum for Afro-descendant communities to consolidate the plan for influencing at the national level and completion of a   communications strategy.

Evidence-Based Advocacy for Conflict Resolution of Indigenous Peoples in Aru Islands, Maluku

Date 2021 - 2022

Country Indonesia

Implementor Papua Study Center

Funding Amount 33,773


This project supported legal action by the Marfenen Adat community against the Navy, the Governor, and the Agrarian Affairs Minister. Unfortunately, the Court ruled in favor of the military based on its consideration of only “formal” land tenure evidence and not the customary tenure rights of Marafenfen community on their land. Papua Study Center and the Save Aru Movement -together with community leaders and their lawyers – are strategizing to appeal the Court’s decision while intensifying local mobilization in support of Marafenfen Peoples.

For context, the Aru Islands are an archipelago south of Papua. The Indonesian Navy seized 689 ha to build an airport on their traditional hunting grounds. The community reports that the military set up a highly profitable business of wildlife meat (using machine guns to kill animals) and an illegal trafficking of protected species.