Indigenous Women Propose Inclusive System to Conserve Forests in Costa Rica (Part 4)

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    Educating from the forest

    They also want to share their knowledge with other people both inside and outside the indigenous territories. Its goal is to design a training program that involves people, from youth to adults, and serves to promote a cultural dialogue about the worldview of the forest.

    In fact, an opportunity was identified through field schools. This is a learning methodology in rural territories, where people acquire knowledge in a practical way from both technicians and their peers.

    Indigenous women showed interest in transmitting their knowledge to rural women regarding land management and its worldview, with field schools being an option that also involves multiple institutions, thus optimizing resources and enhancing the scope.

    Indigenous Women Propose Inclusive System to Conserve Forests in Costa Rica (Part 3)

    For Herrera, the dialogue of indigenous and rural women drew attention in relation to improving communication between institutions in order to optimize aid, since this institutional mechanism will allow joining efforts to solve other needs, such as projects in favor of access to energy. and technology, and training in leadership, accounting and finance, among others.

    “The key is in how we are linking them with the appropriate entities so that they can create capacities, not only environmental but of another nature, so that they can work on their own initiatives”, she says.

    “The cabécares, for example, told us: why do women always think that we are the only ones who should receive gender training? We would like there to be training for men on issues of masculinity, because the victims are almost always us. It was then that they asked us for help to find institutions to provide these trainings”, she adds.

    Another line of action is aimed at making them visible in decision-making positions. Although some hold positions on boards of directors, these are usually in the secretaries or vocal offices.

    “If one sees the trend in the election of boards of directors, they are always selected as secretaries, prosecutors or members, not in positions of power such as the presidency, although there are vice presidents and one or another in the treasury”, Herrera details.

    “They want women’s groups and organizations to be identified in order to dimension the participation of women in indigenous territories and make their voices visible, so that they are reflected in the new National Forest Development Plan”, she points out.

    The achievement of its carbon neutrality goal depends on the conservation of Costa Rican forests. Photo: Giancarlo Pucci / UNDP Costa Rica

    Funds advance

    The achievement of funds to implement the gender action plan has also advanced. In December 2020, the Minae announced that Costa Rica will receive 60 million non-refundable dollars from the Cooperative Fund for Forest Carbon (FCPF), represented by the World Bank, in recognition of the efforts made in reducing carbon emissions derived from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as from the increase in carbon stocks and institutional actions to address the main threats to ecosystems, such as forest fires and illegal logging.

    Part of that money, Herrera details, will go to the Inclusive Sustainable Development Fund. Thus, Fonafifo would have a seed capital of US$ 1.2 million to develop actions contemplated in the gender plan. “The idea is to develop the PSA Mujer”, she says.

    Likewise, in November 2020, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved US $ 54.1 million in non-reimbursable funds that it will give to Costa Rica under the modality of Payment for Results, for having reduced GHG emissions associated with deforestation in the period 2014-2015.

    With technical support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the REDD + Secretariat, the country presented a proposal to recognize 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured by its forests in those 2 years.

    Part of the money will be used to strengthen the PES program, mainly in relation to closing gaps for women and indigenous territories. Specifically, US$ 32.5 million will be used to finance the PES aimed at small and medium producers, including rural women and young people.

    In addition, around US$ 8 million will be awarded to the indigenous PES to benefit about 33,000 people. However, it is still not enough.

    Non-sufficient funds

    The pandemic took a heavy toll on Fonafifo’s finances, in addition to budget cuts. Most of the money comes from the resources generated by the single tax on fossil fuels, which establishes a 3.5% charge on the consumption of gasoline and diesel.

    In the first semester of 2020, given the decrease in the consumption of fossil fuels, the amount that was not received was around ¢ 2,000 million.

    Although the Fonafifo readjusted its numbers to solve this drop in income and used its reserves to continue paying the current contracts, given the situation, the same amount of new hectares cannot be added – the trend had been 40,000 a year – to forest conservation schemes, that is, new contracts are in check.

    Another source of income is derived from 25% of the income obtained from the collection of the water fee. This instrument, created in 2006 by Decree 32868-Minae, allows the State to receive an amount from the concessionaires of the water resource based on its use.

    A third source comes from the sale of Costa Rican Compensation Units (UCC) within the framework of the domestic carbon market. The Climate Change Directorate (DCC), a dependency of Minae, created the Country Carbon Neutrality Program as a voluntary decarbonization mechanism for organizations, territories (cantons and districts) and products.

    Costa Rica Will Invest More Than ¢ 1,100 Million in Sustainable Productive Projects Led by Women

    In this way, organizations interested in obtaining the “C-Neutral” seal undertake a GHG inventory process and, based on this, establish a reduction plan. Within the compensation component, these entities can choose to purchase UCC and that money goes to the PSA.

    In 2020, and as a measure to raise fresh funds, Fonafifo launched a fourth source of financing. In alliance with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), a calculator was launched so that tourists can voluntarily compensate for their air flights and ground transfers.

    According to calculations by both institutions, taking the 2018 visitation data as a reference and assuming that only 10% of the emissions were offset, an annual capture of US$ 3.57 million would be generated. That money would finance PES contracts to conserve 14,000 hectares of forest.

    Caring for Irìria

    The search for fresh funds continues, says Jorge Mario Rodríguez, director of Fonafifo. To do this, it innovates in mechanisms that can attract the attention of international cooperation and the private sector.

    The idea is to get enough money to invest in women and indigenous people. In both cases, it will be investing in the women of Sibu, in whose hands lies the health of the girl-land; without Irìria, we would not exist.
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