Forest Agreements – The low down

At Cool Earth, we value the relationships we’ve created with our Indigenous partner communities above all else. That’s 60 community areas across 5 countries to be exact. And one of the ways we strengthen these relationships is by signing an annual Forest Agreement. But what does that mean?

What is a Forest Agreement?

Once a year, our teams on the ground in Peru and Papua New Guinea travel to our partner communities in the rainforest to sign this Forest Agreement document –  a promise of trust and collaboration with each other to continue our work in supporting communities in their fight against the climate crisis. And our most recent Forest Agreement signing just took place in the local community of Waduada in Papua New Guinea.

A group of people in Waduada community in Papua New Guinea standnig in front of palm trees and waving their hands

Waduada community at the Forest Agreement Signing

More than a document

But Forest Agreements are so much more than just a document. For the communities, this signing event is a cause for celebration, with the whole community turning up to witness.

On this day, the community also decides how it will collectively spend the money Cool Earth provides (known as an unconditional cash transfers) for that year.

Unconditional cash transfers are funds in the hands of communities to be spent on and invested in the way in which they decide, creating autonomy, speed and choice. And at Cool Earth we’ve been sending unconditional cash to Indigenous communities in the rainforest for over 16 years.

The community of Waduada, for example, has decided to send 50% of their funds directly to households to support families in accessing basic needs, such as household items and food. The other 50% will be spent on community projects that strengthen livelihoods and improve health and sanitation.

Raising their voices

In a world where Indigenous peoples are excluded and marginalised, especially from decisions regarding their land, livelihoods and human rights, we want to make sure that the communities we work with feel heard, understood and respected.

That’s what the Forest Agreement signing is all about. It’s celebrating the collaboration between Cool Earth and our Indigenous partners, because we think the work that they do is pretty amazing.