The Green Climate Fund (GCF) takes mainstreaming the voices of indigenous peoples into its operations a step further by hosting the first Indigenous People’s Advisory Group (IPAG) meeting on 26-28 September 2022.
Organised by the GCF Secretariat and chaired by Tunga Bhadra Rai, Director of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), the meeting provided a direct avenue for IPAG members to have dialogues with GCF’s operational and programming teams, as well as GCF’s Independent Evaluation Unit. This presented opportunities to share knowledge, address process gaps, and open opportunities for bolstering indigenous peoples’ consultative capacity in GCF’s projects.
“This meeting is a big statement that the Green Climate Fund is serious about working with indigenous peoples. We have moved from just being a stakeholder in the governing instrument to being a constituency that has a dedicated policy,” said Kimaren Ole Riamit, Maasai leader and Director of the Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA).
Ensuring safeguarded climate programmes, scaling up of nature-based solutions with regard to indigenous knowledge, and proactive support and inclusion of indigenous peoples in GCF’s decision-making were major areas of discussion. Key meeting points also included aligning on investment priorities and enhanced collaboration with GCF, especially on strategic interventions for forests, ecosystems, and land use.
“This first meeting is truly a historic and meaningful milestone for GCF. It’s a privilege and honour to benefit from the advice and wisdom of indigenous leaders and experts,” said Tiffany Hodgson, GCF Environmental and Social Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples Manager.
The productive three-day meeting saw the articulation of the IPAG multi-year workplan that outlines advice on activities affecting indigenous peoples, defines practical steps in implementing and monitoring GCF’s Indigenous Peoples Policy, and provides other guidance, as may be requested by the GCF Board.
In accordance with its Indigenous Peoples Policy, GCF has established the IPAG to enhance coordination between GCF, Accredited Entities and Executing Entities, governments, and indigenous peoples in relation to matters concerning indigenous peoples. The first term of the IPAG runs from January 2022 to December 2024.
The GCF Secretariat and IPAG members acknowledge the foundational work of the late Leo Paat, GCF’s first Environment and Social Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples Manager. He led the development of GCF's Environment and Social Standards, Gender Policy, and Indigenous Peoples Policy.
Helen Biangalen-Magata, representative of indigenous Kadaclan from Paracelis, Mountain Province, Philippines and Communications Officer of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy, Research and Education).
Juan Carlos Jintiach represents the Shuar, an indigenous group in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. He has served as a Parliamentary advisor in the Republic of Ecuador’s National Congress.
Kimaren Ole Riamit is an indigenous leader from the Maasai representing the African Anglophone region. He is the Founding Director of the Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA).
Tunga Bhadra Rai belongs to the Rai Indigenous Nationality of Nepal. He is the Director of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) Climate Change Partnership Program.