indigenous woman with teal blouse and jewelry standing in a village
The Imiría lagoon fisheries resources in the Amazonian region of Ucayali have slowly restored themselves over the years, providing food security for neighboring Indigenous communities and settlements | Marlon Del Águila / USAID Pro-Bosques

Editor’s Pick: Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Part I
By Sophie Schrader

This blog is the first part in an Editor’s Pick Series highlighting USAID’s work with Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The first part of the series features Climatelinks blogs that reflect these efforts, and the second part will feature resources and projects highlighting the successes of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Partnering with a broad range of stakeholders is crucial for achieving a lasting impact and, when it comes to addressing climate change, programming requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. In order for USAID to have maximum impact in confronting the most urgent demands of the climate crisis, improved participation at all levels is key. Thus, an increased emphasis on working with Indigenous Peoples and local communities is critical to USAID’s climate efforts. In this blog, learn about ways that USAID programs and activities are already lifting up the voices and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in order to address climate change. 

Indigenous Leaders Protect Forests: Sustainable Businesses for Community Forest Management in Ucayali Peru features the Forest Alliance, a bilateral program of USAID in the Peruvian forest sector implemented by the Association for Integral Research and Development. This project works with seven Indigenous Communities from two Indigenous groups, Shipibo Conibo and Cacataibo, to conserve and sustainably manage forests and restore degraded lands. This includes improving forest-based livelihoods by developing sustainable businesses to strengthen the management of communal lands through an inclusive approach that connects community members to profitable markets.

Colombia is Embracing Variable Renewable Energy in a Big Way with USAID Support outlines renewable energy projects that are gaining traction through assistance from the USAID-NREL partnership. Many of these projects, estimated to provide more than 40,000 jobs, are in Northern Colombia, which is predominantly Indigenous land. USAID is developing a program to focus on providing relevant job training to members of these local Indigenous Communities so that they can compete for employment in this expanding energy sector. 

Geospatial Services for Climate-Smart Environmental Decision-Making in the Brazilian Amazon offers insights into USAID and NASA’s SERVIR-Amazonia program, which works with a range of stakeholders to improve local capacity to harness satellite data and geospatial information and foster sustainable natural resource management. SERVIR-Amazonia collaborates with Indigenous Communities, governments, universities, and others to identify local development problems and identify solutions in the form of tools, data sets, and capacity building activities that use satellite data, earth science, and geospatial technologies. 

Producing Local Stories on Environment and Climate Change outlines USAID’s ABC+ project, which produces books for Kindergarten through third grade readers in the Philippines that inform children of the increased risks of climate change, such as storms, floods, and droughts. In partnership with the Philippine Government’s Department of Education, the project brings together local authors and illustrators, and partners such as SIL LEAD and the Asia Foundation to produce books for early grade learners using software such as BLOOM and Let’s Read in their respective mother tongues.

Combating Climate Change with Communities in Papua highlights USAID’s efforts to support co-management arrangements between local communities and Papua’s national and provincial governments. This approach focuses on using, strengthening, and adapting existing skills and knowledge that have existed for millennia, rather than replacing them with entirely new knowledge, resources, and technologies. Aspects of traditional practices that have been integrated into village regulations include the protection of important or sacred places, community clean water sources, sacred animals, and medicinal plants. Traditionally governed selective felling of timber and sustainable harvest of fisheries have also been applied under village regulations through strengthening ancestral ties with nature.

Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Biodiversity Conservation, Low Emission Development, Climate Change, Climate Change Integration, Climate Finance, Climate Policy, Climate Risk Management, Climate Science, Conflict and Governance, Clean or Renewable Energy, Forest/Forestry, Indigenous, Land Use, Mitigation, Partnership, Resilience, Sustainable Landscapes
Latin America & Caribbean
Sophie Schrader Headshot

Sophie Schrader

Sophie Schrader is a communications coordinator for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s International Partnerships. Previously, Sophie supported USAID communications through the Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) and Advancing Capacity for the Environment (ACE) programs, including as the Content and Social Media Manager for Climatelinks under SEEK. Sophie holds a B.A. in Sociology and Studio Art from The College of Wooster and completed a thesis focused on the real life impact of hashtags utilized in digital movements.

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