Investing in Indigenous cultural and natural resource managers

Indigenous cultural and natural resource management (ICNRM) creates many environmental, social and economic benefits. Indigenous communities and government have invested to build rapid growth in the sector. Yet ICNRM remains vulnerable to policy changes, inadequate resourcing, and a lack of diversity in funding. Expanding and diversifying non-government investment into ICNRM will ensure its long-term future. Novel partnerships between Indigenous communities, research agencies, private industry, and non-government organisations are needed to support Indigenous ICNRM enterprises to grow Indigenous-led opportunities on the ground. This project supports that effort and showcases ICNRM agencies as a key pathway for achieving the sustainable management of Australia’s natural and cultural resources.

The research is focusing on three key investor types – Indigenous corporations and communities, shareholder corporations, and philanthropic investors – to help investment in the ICNRM sector continue to expand and diversify into the future.

Using Indigenous led and co-developed participatory methods, this project is supporting non-government investment in ICNRM by:

  • investigating why non-government funders invest
  • identifying what investors need from performance and impact assessment
  • showcasing the multiple benefits of ICNRM
  • assisting ICNRM practitioners to highlight their value in investor-friendly ways

The project is enabling conversations between ICNRM investors and practitioners, aligning investor assessment needs to reduce management workload, and providing advice, tools and recommendations to guide future investment.

Project activities

There are 4 key activities in the project. These are to:

  • Review the existing evidence, tools and reporting for non-government investment into ICNRM
  • Evaluate the future performance and impact assessment requirements guiding non-government investment in ICNRM
  • Co-develop Indigenous and investor-led guidance and tools for building improved performance and impact assessment
  • Identify actions that ICNRM agencies and government investors can undertake to attract non-government investment

Anticipated project products

This project is providing evidence for the wider business case that attracts, guides and evaluates non-government investment into ICNRM enterprises. It is doing this through generating:

  • Information sheets for policy-makers including key outcomes, issues and messages
  • Investor-friendly products to understand ICNRM performance, impact, and future investment pathways
  • Guidelines for adapting existing metrics and reporting to better reveal the multiple benefits of ICNRM and guidelines to meet the needs of new non-government investment
  • Scientific publications, brochures and factsheets.

The project complements related research initiatives that address government investor priorities. This includes the assessment of fee-for-service impacts and the multiple benefits of Indigenous land and sea management programs. Supporting ICNRM agencies and their activities also contributes to wider strategic initiatives such as northern development.

This project is led by Dr Marcus Barber from CSIRO, with support from Dr Cathy Robinson and Dr Justin Perry.

Key partners include the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Bush Heritage and Traditional Owners.

Marcus Barber, CSIRO
E: [email protected]

Logo - CSIRO

  • Indigenous cultural and natural resource management would benefit from non-government investment, photo Glenn Campbell.
  • Kalan rangers and Justin Perry collecting samples.
  • Laura Ranger in FNQ, photo Lyndal Scobell.
  • Ranger workshop
  • Ranger workshop
  • Rangers working in shallow water environments, photo Glenn Campbell.