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Indigenous people are the most important conservationists. Money should go to them

Guest Author -

The world leaders gathered at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last year and there was a pledge of $1.7 billion to help Indigenous peoples and local communities advance their land rights and forest management by 2025.

The monetary commitment was far less than five per cent of the Indigenous population, and certainly less than what they deserved as the undisturbed Defenders of the Earth and largest conservationists who are known to protect 80 per cent of the worlds rainforest biodiversity.

But as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers, so many people took it in good faith and were secretly praying that the money would actually make it to Indigenous communities before all the middlemen took their cut.

Still, t's difficult to ignore the facts or recent research released by the Rainforest Foundation Norway and the Rights and Resources Initiative.i

Their study found that just 17 per cent of about $2.7 billion invested by donors between 2011 and 2020 on the same issues actually went toward activities that were Indigenous peoples' organisations.

Here's the thing: Do I whine about Indigenous Rights too much? Probably.

But despite what the crazy Anti-Indigenous Rights mob might try to tell us, the system is set up to work in favour of Western governments and corporationsâ€"not Indigenous people's best interests.

Why do the majority of funds from the United Nations go to non-Indigenous organisations? Why does the Australian government funnel money to non-Indigenous organisations rather than its First People?

Why do state governments in NSW funnel funding to Aboriginal people back into government coffers instead of its intended recipients?

OK, that's a lot of questions, but a wise person once said that you need to "follow the money."

Now that more citizens are asking for greater transparency and accountability from their governments, we can see there's a trend.

It's clear that those who have the power and control the financial system don't trust Indigenous people, despite their willingness to acknowledge that Indigenous people have done a lot for the environment and biodiversity conservation.

There's a problem with the way funding works in Australia and around the world: it's designed to work with non-Indigenous organisations, not Indigenous people.

Dean Foley is a Kamilaroi entrepreneur and founder of First Nations Lottery

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