Local communities wrestling with the impacts of climate change on food security have also struggled to get funds to deal with those impacts. The United Nations created the Green Climate Fund in 2010 – but it can be very difficult for countries and communities to be accredited and access money, according to Reuters. So some indigenous leaders in Mexico and Central America are taking matters into their own hands.

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Indigenous leader of the Bribri community Leví Sucre said his family used to grow beans at their home in Costa Rica. But he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “That’s impossible now. When growing beans, there’s a period where they can’t receive water (and need dry conditions). Now, unexpected cold fronts and rains are spoiling them.” But he said getting money from international climate funds is “an almost impossible task.”

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Sucre and other leaders are putting together a Mesoamerican Territorial Fund through regional organization Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests, with the goal of offering easy, fast financing to indigenous communities for climate change mitigation and adaption projects. The leaders hope the fund might get international support. While the Central American Bank for Economic Integration would be the ones holding the money, according to Reuters, indigenous people would manage the fund without much input from outsiders. Communities would propose their own projects for financing. Sucre hopes by the middle of this year they could apply for international funds.

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The fund would largely go to projects working to protect food security, drawing on traditional knowledge. Sucre said, “We’re not dismissing the use of technology because we know that it must be complementary. But we want to incentivize the use of technologies that don’t erase our culture.” Money could help communities change how they farm as weather grows more unstable.

A 2008 United Nations report cited by Reuters said: “indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change, owing to their dependence upon, and close relationship with the environment and its resources.”

Via the Thomson Reuters Foundation

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