Indigenous Peoples partner with IFAD, Sweden’s Sida, and Packard Foundation to build resilience and adapt to climate change

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Indigenous Peoples partner with IFAD, Sweden’s Sida, and Packard Foundation to build resilience and adapt to climate change

IPAF funded project Improving the livelihoods of the women of South-West Ethiopia who depend on the enset crop Year 2015 Organization DERE Integrated Development Action ©IFAD/Petterik Wiggers

Rome, 7 November 2023. As the climate crisis intensifies and the world seeks sustainable solutions, the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with its partners the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Packard Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, have today announced the recipients of the Indigenous Peoples' Assistance Facility (IPAF) grants.

These grants provide essential funding to boost Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to sustainably conserve and manage biodiversity, as well as enhance their resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change, especially given that they are among the most severely affected by its consequences.

Awardees have been selected from 42 different countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and represent 53 Indigenous Peoples groups. Activities will take place between 2023 and 2026 with the support of IPAF’s implementing partners working on the ground: Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (FIMI) Samburu Women Trust (SWT), the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education, known as Tebtebba.

“Through this support, we recognize and endorse the crucial role that Indigenous Peoples play to preserve biodiversity and adapt to the new climatic reality thanks to their unique knowledge,” said Dr Jyotsna Puri (Jo), Associate Vice-President - Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD.

“Today, Sida is proudly standing with IPAF to support Indigenous Peoples’ self-driven development initiatives, and we are eager to learn from the innovative solutions they have shared in response to the sixth call for proposals to face the challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. Indigenous youth and women are at the forefront of these projects, and we recognize and celebrate their agency,” said True Schedvin, Head of Unit for Global Sustainable Economic Development, Sida. “We extend an invitation to fellow donors to join this longstanding partnership,” added Schedvin.

“Indigenous Peoples communities used their traditional knowledge to ensure food sovereignty, increase their capacities and overcome climate change with these proposals,” said Margarita Antonio, Ayni-FIMI Fund coordinator.

Under IPAF, a funding instrument specifically designed to support Indigenous Peoples’ communities, awardees will receive between US$50,000 and $70,000 to finance their own projects and solutions to the challenges they face, fostering communities’ self-driven development. In addition to the financial resources, the facility offers technical assistance and capacity development to adopt the solutions designed and implemented by Indigenous Peoples.


Awardees: some examples

Bangladesh: The Zabarang Kalyan Samity aims to ensure food security and nutrition for at least 1,170 Tripura households in the Kagrachari Hill District. Indigenous Peoples and their agencies will evaluate their existing knowledge and practices and gain additional knowledge and skills through training to develop their identity. Their goal is to restore sustainable and resilient food systems, implement best practices in biodiversity conservation, and ensure sustainable natural resource management.

Colombia: The Kankuamo people are dedicated to preserving the ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, to which they are an integral part. They plan to combine their ancestral practices with modern technologies for biodiversity conservation, monitoring, and area management. To optimize land use and prevent agricultural expansion, Kankuamo will maximize the productivity of current production areas, employing traditional seeds to enhance food self-sufficiency and bolster agri-food production systems.

Ethiopia: The Gamo people are committed to preserving enset, a neglected crop commonly known as the 'Ethiopian banana,' which contributes to the food security of approximately 15 million Ethiopians. By intercropping this essential crop with vegetables and spices, the Gamo people aim to strengthen biodiversity in their territories. Through IPAF, they will implement climate adaptation strategies that align with their cultural values, traditions, and way of life.

“These projects are examples of the resilience, wisdom, and dedication of Indigenous Peoples’ communities in the face of climate change. We are excited to support and learn from these communities as they continue to lead the way in building climate resilience,” said Puri.

More than 476 million people from 90 countries define themselves as Indigenous Peoples. While they represent roughly 6 per cent of the world’s population, they account for 18 per cent of the world’s impoverished people. Seven out of 10 are native to the Asia and Pacific region.

Despite possessing invaluable traditional knowledge for both mitigating and adapting to climate change, Indigenous Peoples continue to be underrepresented in environmental policymaking at various levels.


Note to editors:

Full list of awardees.

More information about project examples provided in this press release is available upon request.

Video about IPAF. More detailed information about IPAF’s participants and activities can be found in performance assessments:

The Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF) Assessment of the performance of the fourth IPAF cycle (published in 2019).

Assessment of the performance of the fifth Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility cycle: Summary (Full version forthcoming).

Press release No.: IFAD/103/2023

IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency. Based in Rome – the United Nations food and agriculture hub – IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided more than US$24 billion in grants and low-interest loans to fund projects in developing countries. 

A wide range of photographs and broadcast-quality video content of IFAD’s work in rural communities are available for download from our Image Bank.