Thematic Work

Charting a Path to Scale

The Path to Scale Initiative, established by RRI and co-chaired with the Tenure Facility, is an informal network of public and private donors, intermediaries, and rightsholders committed to scaling up funding, coordination, and innovation to recognize local tenure and ensure Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples are empowered to meaningfully contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate and conservation goals. Its members work together to:

  1. Support the recognition of an additional 400 million hectares of tropical forests for IPs, LCs, and ADPs; and
  2. Contribute to mobilizing at least USD 10 billion to directly support these efforts by 2030.

The Path to Scale has previously contributed to the historic donor pledge at CoP26 to contribute USD 1.7 billion by 2025 to support IP and LC rights to their lands and forests. In 2022, it catalyzed new coordination and innovation among public and private donors and key intermediary non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to scale up global ambition and funding to recognize local tenure.

Here are a few highlights of what we achieved.

In 2022, the Path to Scale reimagined the parameters of the new structure of donor financing and administration systems to ensure that more resources directly reach rightsholders to support their own initiatives to protect the world’s forests and biodiversity. This included a new study, Funding with Purpose in collaboration with Rainforest Foundation Norway, that showed how donors can make their funding more fit for purpose. This means that climate, conservation, and rights funding is channelled in ways that are relevant and appropriate for the needs of IPs and LCs. The report was launched during the UN Climate Week in New York and was covered by 19 media outlets in 13 countries across four continents.

A park ranger from the indigenous community of Borikada patrols in Cabaña Puerto Caiman, Resguardo Curare Los Ingleses. | Photo Credit: Juan Arredondo for Scientific American.

We followed this analysis with the publication of Building Bridges using inputs from Path to Scale members. This report was launched in Montréal on the eve of CoP15, and set forth clear, actionable best practices and concrete ways for the donor community to engage with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples and channel support directly to their local initiatives for climate and conservation action.

In 2022, the Path to Scale evolved into a key platform for coordination and information sharing between donors, intermediary NGOs, and rightsholder networks. In September, RRI and the Donor Working Group of the Forest Tenure Pledge co-hosted a virtual discussion between Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and donors on the historic USD 1.7 billion Pledge made in 2021 at CoP26 to support these groups. Attended by 805 people and broadcast in seven languages, this unprecedented dialogue was a rare opportunity for Indigenous and local community members to connect directly with donors and receive updates and answers to their questions about the historic commitment. It was also RRI’s largest-ever virtual event for Indigenous and community rightsholders.

“History tells us [that since] time immemorial we have been here. The biodiversity of this land is who we are. We want to maintain the integrity of our land. We do not want to be rich. We want to be kind to our animals. We want to be respectful of our vegetation. The environment is the pride of our people.”

– Cosmas Murunga, an Ogiek elder from Mt. Elgon, Kenya

The Path to Scale concluded 2022 with a global convening in Montréal just ahead of the UN CBD CoP15. The meeting assessed collective progress against the Path to Scale targets and historic 2021 Forest Tenure Pledge by donors to secure and defend IPs’ and LCs’ rights to their lands and forests. Over 40 leaders from the public and private donor community, rightsholder networks and funds, and intermediary NGOs joined the discussion, and yielded an ambitious 2023 workplan and agenda for donors to scale up their efforts to increase funding for rightsholders’ initiatives.