Fellows Network

Antoinette Royo

The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, Executive Director

Stockholm, Sweden

Nonette actively bridges indigenous peoples and local community actors, their governments and institutions in key ecosystems, including forest and agroforest landscapes, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She provides support to strong national groups through focusing attention to land rights and land tenure recognition options, without which policy and practice in natural resource management by indigenous peoples and local communities efforts will diminish. At the Land Tenure Facility, Nonette is leading a team of 15 to generate more financial and technical support to community-led actions for nature’s sustainability amid threats of landscape conversion and devastation, her deepest source of inspiration.

At her birthplace in Cagayan de Oro, Northern Mindanao, Philippines, she continues to periodically connect and actively advise online via the Samdhana Institute where she remains a fellow. She works with the Indigenous Peoples/local communities, linking them with key foundations and technical partner NGOs and Universities. They combine teaching, research and extension in a robust inquiry into education for sustainable development, working in a ridge to reef landscape involving the last remaining forests of Mindanao. Here, watersheds feed key aquifers and rivers, flowing into Macajalar Bay, which bursts with beautiful and endemic marine life.

Her greatest challenge remains working with effective global finance, whilst ensuring local ownership and stakeholder decisionmaking. Her goal is to keep a balance between financing and  the rights and interests of millions of poor people living within protected areas or key environmental corridors not only in the Philippines and Indonesia, within Southeast Asia. She continues to learn from experiences in Latin America and Africa about resistant, cash strapped governments and a semi accountable private sector. This becomes doubly difficult when reliable science and good legal recourse are not readily available.

The practice of personal mastery coupled with a systems thinking approach, and coaching, led Nonette to accept the challenge of leading the Tenure Facility. The Facility works with International Funders and Governments to support Indigenous Peoples and local communities to do what they do best: protect the environment by securing their land rights. Building upon local community initiatives, assets, and innovations in the last remaining forest corridors is a work of art and a labor of true love and commitment.