Inclusive Conservation Initiative
On 9 December, during CBD COP15, the launch of the GEF-7 Inclusive Conservation Initiative (ICI) was hosted in the GEF Pavilion. The new model offers increased direct financing to Indigenous and local community organizations in order to deliver multiple global environmental benefits and support related cultural and economic development initiatives.
The session was moderated by Kristen Walker, Conservation International. Claude Gascon, GEF Secretariat, introduced the ICI, underscoring the value of ensuring direct support to Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) who manage about 80% of global biodiversity and noting the dedicated funding of USD $25 million. Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, emphasized that ICI is just beginning its work, which much more work ahead to ensure and support the agency of IPLCs.
Lucy Melenki, Co-Chair of the GEF Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), provided a view of the process that led to the launch, calling for continued consultations and sharing to grow success. Sarah Wyatt, GEF Secretariat, shared experiences in developing the ICI. Luis Barquin, Conservation International, highlighted that about 80% of the resources are concentrated on direct support for activities on the ground.
Many representatives from the current portfolio, consisting of nine initiatives in 12 countries, were present during the session. Three representatives shared their perspectives, including: Elizabeth Silakan, IMPACT Kenya; Simon Loncopan, Futam Mawiza, Chile; and Nittaya Earkanna, IMPECT, Thailand). Elizabeth Silakan expressed hope that ICI will help to “shed the stereotypes” that IPLCs do not know how to manage funding, becoming examples of equal partnerships with ambition IPLCs. Ramiro Batzin concluded the session by sharing experiences in multilateral and bilateral funding initiatives.