Kawari Banner image




To safeguard human rights and successfully address climate change and biodiversity loss, carbon markets must fully engage our planet’s forest stewards.

“There is nothing more powerful than when a community naturally comes together to support all of the individuals that are a part of it. This kind of community solidarity is among the many values that Indigenous societies practice, where everyone is responsible for ensuring that every individual prospers, including safeguarding the resources that sustain the community.”

Minnie Degawan, Director, Kawari Fund, Re:wild

The Kawari Fund

In the Inga language (a variation of the Quechuan language) spoken in southern Colombia, the word “kawari” means a panoramic view of the forest or the landscape. This captures the spirit of the fund, which is to bring together all of the critical pieces to ensure the success of the carbon market and holistic protection of forests to help improve the health of the planet, much like the individual pieces of an ecosystem work together for planetary health.

The Issue

Demand for carbon credits from nature-based solutions is growing around the world. The pace of growth of this demand often means that Indigenous peoples and local communities are not adequately consulted, leading to rushed decision-making and unfair benefit sharing that have negative long-term implications for their communities. In the worst cases, Indigenous rights are violated. Communities are displaced. New rules over land and resources are created that communities didn’t agree to. The inadequate representation of Indigenous voices and perspectives in the nature-based carbon world also means the knowledge and opinions of the most important stakeholders are being ignored.

The Solution

The Kawari Fund was created to help address the issues of social integrity, adequate representation, and informed participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in carbon negotiations, with particular focus on jurisdictional (national or subnational) initiatives.  

The fund provides a trusted source of financial support in the carbon space for Indigenous peoples and local communities to strengthen their role and negotiating position in carbon markets while also ensuring that they benefit equitably from carbon trading schemes they engage with. This, in addition to robust accounting and verification systems, is referred to as “high-integrity” in the carbon market. The fund also helps support NGOs and governments working to achieve high-integrity emissions reductions. 

The Kawari Fund aims to transform climate financing mechanisms – such as REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – that have been criticized for their focus on credit and profit generation instead of on addressing gaps in the institutional capacity of governments, Indigenous peoples, and local communities. This transformation is especially important as for-profit companies continue to accelerate carbon processes in tropical jurisdictions that overlap with Indigenous territories to secure carbon rights – moving toward signing purchase agreements without consulting the communities most affected by those agreements. 

How It Works

The Kawari Fund is guided by an advisory council composed of experts in climate finance and Indigenous rights, including Indigenous representatives. The council plays a central role in continuing to define the fund’s scope, priorities, and decision-making processes.

The fund is administered by Re:wild and was constructed with the support of diverse Indigenous peoples and local community representatives.

Kawari grants will provide nimble and dedicated support to enable the development of initiatives with high-integrity and high impact for climate change, biodiversity and Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Examples of activities the fund will support include:

  • enabling activities to allow IPs and LCs to effectively participate in national policy processes on emissions reductions so their rights will be adequately promoted

  • workshops, travel and training for Indigenous peoples and local communities interested in building their negotiating skills

  • participation in stakeholder engagement and consultation meetings related to emissions reductions initiatives

  • employment of consultants to work with governments that otherwise do not have the capacity to equitably engage Indigenous peoples and local communities, but want to do so

  • capacity building for NGOs to help equitably facilitate the process 

How You Can Support

The Kawari Fund’s core initial donors include the Packard Foundation via the Climate & Land Use Alliance (CLUA) and the Hewlett Foundation. It is open to support from philanthropic, corporate and public sector donors. The fund’s governance structure is designed for independence, giving donors a defined, limited role in decision-making to ensure legitimacy of the process. Please contact us at hello@rewild.org for more information on supporting the Kawari Fund.