Spinifex, mulga and red sand in north-west South Australia,

What philanthropy can do

This content forms part of our insights on the Indigenous land and sea management sector.

For environmental grantmakers, the case to support Indigenous land and sea management is compelling, with benefits to biodiversity; climate change mitigation; improved economic, social and cultural circumstances for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and strengthened Indigenous knowledge systems. In particular funding Indigenous land and sea management work:

  • Recognises the environmental significance of Indigenous titled lands
  • Makes amends for past social and environmental injustices to Indigenous people
  • Supports Indigenous people to build better livelihoods including through better health outcomes and employment
  • Recognises the unique position, inclination and knowledge of Indigenous people to help with the biodiversity crisis
  • Supports Indigenous peoples’ customary obligations and responsibilities to their Country
  • Resources Indigenous peoples’ aspirations to live on-country and ensures a peopled landscape

While government has made a significant contribution to funding Indigenous land and sea management programs, there is an important role for philanthropy to play. This includes:

  • Supporting advocacy to both grow and embed the long-term future of government funding of Indigenous land and sea management programs.
  • Funding work that is not supported through core government funding, for example cultural mapping, collaboration and sharing between ranger groups and communities, testing new approaches and technologies.
  • Funding work that demonstrates the viability of expanding Indigenous land and sea management program to new areas, for example urban and regional and different types of land tenure.
  • Assisting groups to explore and develop opportunities in natural resource markets and services like carbon abatement, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and fresh water
Members spend time with Mutitujulu Rangers and Traditional Owners in the Katiti-Petermann Indigenous Protected Area during our Central Australia field trip 2018.

While historically there has been limited philanthropic funding of Indigenous land and sea management work, the Indigenous land and sea management sector and philanthropy are increasingly building funding relationships. Larger Indigenous groups, including Land Councils and large, established land and sea management ranger groups, are building their capacity to seek philanthropic funding. And more philanthropists are building their knowledge, confidence and funding of the sector.

The AEGN supports funders to understand, engage with and fund Indigenous land and sea management by developing resources, running cross cultural training, hosting presentations from on-ground practitioners and undertaken field trips to give members first-hand experience in land and sea management work.

Philanthropists who are interested in learning more about mechanisms and opportunities for building successful and respectful relationships with Indigenous land and sea management organisations should contact us.

Learn more about Indigenous land and sea management