RECOFTC
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Scaling up The Center’s climate change activities through partnership with Give2Asia

Amina Kadyrzhanova
In anticipation of the upcoming launch of The Center's partnership with Give2Asia, Amina Kadyrzhanova examines the importance of securing climate finance for local communities across the Asia - Pacific.
Talk of the Forest

In 2015, the daunting challenge of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels was finally acknowledged in The Paris Agreement. The Agreement, which is the most ambitious commitment yet made by signatory countries, provided a roadmap to meet such a daunting challenge. Moreover, the Paris Agreement also made great strides in acknowledging the historical responsibility of global greenhouse emitters, setting a goal for developed countries to generate US$ 100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance to assist developing countries in climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of the global effort, developed countries are encouraged to lead in mobilizing climate finance from a variety of sources, taking into account the priorities and needs of developing countries.

Consequently, climate finance has become of interest to a wide variety of stakeholders, including philanthropic donors and the private sector, both imperative to securing the necessary capital. But it is important to remember that to deliver the ambitious Paris Agreement, these stakeholders must generate capital that addresses the vulnerabilities of the people most in need.

Forest communities living in the region are among the most vulnerable communities at risk particularly because these communities oftentimes depend on the forests for their livelihoods.

For effective and efficient use of the received finance, the communities acting as end-beneficiaries should be actively engaged and take ownership of the investment. However, only around 10% of the finance from international donors reach the local level, with the communities not receiving the investments at the volume or pace required to effectively adapt to the changing climate. A recently published report by the Rights and Resource Initiative (RRI) shows that local communities and indigenous peoples manage approximately 300,000 million metric tons of carbon on their lands. Imagine the impact these communities could have if more than 10% of international donations reached them.

Trees
Local communities and Indigenous Peoples protect land that stores massive amounts of carbon (RECOFTC/Lao PDR)

This financial gap is problematic as climate change continues to disrupt the livelihoods of local communities and state economies across the Asia-Pacific. As noted in a situational analysis of social forestry in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, four out of the ten countries most severely affected by climate change are in the ASEAN region. Not only does the region have an extensive coastline, but many of the ASEAN economies are heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and forestry. Forest communities living in the region are among the most vulnerable communities at risk particularly because these communities oftentimes depend on the forests for their livelihoods. The increased frequency and intensity of forest disturbances will, therefore, have a direct impact on their way of life.  

The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) has been working for more than three decades in helping local communities in the Asia-Pacific region live equitably and sustainably in thriving forests and healthy landscapes. With the launch of the new strategic plan titled “Resilient forest landscapes: Empowered communities, strengthened institutions, and shared prosperity,” The Center is planning to scale up its activities, especially to address climate change and gender equity. Over the last thirty years, The Center has trained over 60,000 people, of which 30% have been women – including national policymakers, government staff, researchers, civil society staff, local forest managers, local communities, and private sector actors – from over 60 countries. To expand its reach and impact of its work, The Center is partnering with Give2Asia.

The partnering of these two organizations will transform how finances are managed and delivered to local communities, filling in the financial gap that exists in the development sector and providing better access to finance for marginalized groups within these communities

Give2Asia is an international non-profit organization with an impressive network of 15,000 donors and 2,000 grant recipients. The non-profit connects corporations, foundations and individuals with community-based organizations across Asia. Since 2001, Give2Asia has provided over US$ 300 million worth of charitable donations to 25 locations in Asia. The Center believes that by partnering with Give2Asia, local communities will be better equipped to receive the necessary financial capital allotted by the Paris Agreement. The Center will do so by building on its own experience of working with local communities in the region and assisting Give2Asia in its goal to strengthen communities, build partnerships and improve lives.  Climate change mitigation and adaptation is possible, as are the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement; but to do so, partnerships must flourish between communities, non-profits, the private sector and national governments.  

Partnerships
The Center's 2018 People and Forest Forum brought together government officials, local communities, and the private sector to discuss ways partnership can further the Sustainable Development Goals. (RECOFTC/Thailand)

Using this opportunity, The Center is honored to announce the launch of its webpage on the Give2Asia platform. The partnering of these two organizations will transform how finances are managed and delivered to local communities, filling in the financial gap that exists in the development sector and providing better access to finance for marginalized groups within these communities. If the world’s most urgent problems are to be solved in the upcoming decades, then the local communities, who are on the frontline of the climate battle must be given the necessary financial support. The Center and Give2Asia intend to do just that through its innovative, blended finance approach.

We would like to encourage you to help us in our mutual goal of empowering local communities to sustainably and equitably protect their forests. Only by working together can the global community secure a healthier future for everyone.