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Building a Platform for the Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous People



The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF): Building a Platform for the Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous People


Jakarta, September 25, 2017

The Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force (GCF) Annual Meeting on September 25 -28 in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, will launch a new initiative that brings indigenous people and local communities together with governors and sub-national actors to develop and achieve low-emissions development targets in each jurisdiction.

Since the Rio Branco Declaration in 2014, the GCF governors have become more aware of the important role of indigenous peoples and local communities in supporting the GCF’s commitment to tackle climate change. A study carried out by Earth Innovation Institute in 2014 showed that the indigenous communities are important forest custodians who are critical for fighting climate change. Indigenous territories in the Amazon contain 32.8% (28,247 MtC) of the total above-ground carbon storage in the region. Furthermore, across several tropical forest countries (Indonesia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Central America, and the Amazon Basin), the studied showed that 20% of forest carbon is located in territories claimed or managed by indigenous peoples and customary groups. Thus, the GCF states and provinces are aware, and recognize the role, of indigenous peoples, and will discuss the principles, programs, and actions for supporting indigenous peoples and customary groups at the Annual Meeting in Balikpapan.

Prior to the GCF Annual Meeting in Balikpapan, a number of discussions were held between indigenous people organizations in each GCF member state and province. At the global level, indigenous peoples’ organizations and government representatives held a meeting in Klamath, California, from 21 to 24 August, 2017. As a result of the meeting, indigenous organizations issued the “Klamath Letter,” which contains the principles and suggested actions for sub-national and national governments, as well as intergovernmental and civil society organizations, for supporting the indigenous peoples’ agenda.

The Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB) Executive Board member, Cándido Mezúa Salazar, stressed that the Klamath Letter is both the basis of the indigenous peoples’ agenda of the Balikpapan Statement and a proposal for action that has been agreed upon by indigenous peoples’ organizations from around the world.

In addition to the meeting in Klamath, a number of indigenous peoples’ organizations have proposed concrete steps to help the GCF member governments to develop working plans that are aligned with the indigenous peoples’ agenda of the Balikpapan Statement. In relation to this, the Secretary General of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Rukka Sombolinggi, said that indigenous people would not just stop with promoting the indigenous peoples’ agenda or principles, but bring these initiatives to sub-national governments in a framework which can be effectively implemented for the benefit of indigenous peoples. “We already have a concrete action plan that will be conveyed to the governors who are members of the GCF”, said Rukka.

Alfonso Chávez, from Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca (COICA), an organization that coordinates indigenous people from 9 states in the Amazon, hopes that the GCF is not just a forum to exchange thoughts and ideas, but provides real action for protecting forests and indigenous peoples around the world.

The indigenous peoples’ agenda is acknowledged by the GCF governors. East Kalimantan Governor and 2017 GCF Annual Meeting host, Awang Faroek Ishak, will invite suggestions from indigenous peoples’ organizations during this year’s Annual Meeting. According to Governor Awang, the GCF should catalyze the development of initiatives that are vital for the continued existence of indigenous communities, such as the recognition of customary areas, increased consultation with indigenous peoples and improving the participation of indigenous peoples’ organizations in subnational policies and programs, and developing benefit-sharing mechanisms for climate finance.



GCF Indonesian Secreatriat

Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU)

Seruni Soewondo

+6281295695011/+628161874849 (Whatsapp)


GCF Secretariat

Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force

Michelle White




INOBU is made up of a growing team of experts committed to helping farmers produce commodities without harming the environment and society. INOBU’s team consists of young and innovative Indonesian researchers who have expertise in the fields of environmental policy, economics and the natural and social sciences. From research, INOBU develops policy innovations and IT applications that are tested on the ground and then adopted by partners.



Launched in 2009, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) was designed to advance jurisdiction-wide approaches to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Since then, the GCF has more than tripled its membership and expanded its reach to include members from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States. GCF states and provinces are leading the way in building robust jurisdictional programs to protect forests and climate while enhancing rural livelihoods.


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