Rainforest Foundation Norway’s victories

Since the very inception of the organisation, Rainforest Foundation Norway’s projects have yielded concrete and visible results. Court cases against logging companies have been won, indigenous groups have gained their rightful territories, and rainforest protection has been placed on the political agenda, both in Norway and internationally.

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Photo:Bo Mathisen

Now that we are approaching our 25th anniversary, we are finding, together with our partners, that our work is producing results on an ever larger scale, in ever more rainforest countries.

Here are our most important victories!


Following two and half years of campaign work, the Rainforest Foundation’s initial project effects the coordination of the first ever privately funded demarcation of indigenous land in the Amazon region. 49,000 km2 of traditional land, the Menkragnoti Indigenous Territory in Pará state in Brazil, next to Xingu National Park, is demarcated, and then legally titled to the Kayapo people by the Brazilian government in 1992. Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) provides 25 percent of the finances for the campaign.

The Yanomami people gain their own 96,000 km2 indigenous territory – larger than Portugal – after 15 years’ struggle. The support of the Norwegian Programme for Indigenous Peoples for these efforts since the mid-1980s played a significant part in this outcome, and Rainforest Foundation Norway immediately joined the international campaign.


Rainforest Foundation Norway’s pilot project to monitor the borders around the Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil combines advanced satellite monitoring with border expeditions undertaken by the indigenous people themselves. This protects the territory, which is under enormous pressure from loggers and cattle ranchers.


22 indigenous groups in the northwestern Amazon, working in collaboration with Rainforest Foundation Norway, gain autonomy over their areas of forest. The Brazilian president signs the decrees which establish a number of indigenous territories along the Rio Negro river – home to 30,000 indigenous people and corresponding to the size of England.


In Indonesia, the semi-nomadic Orang Rimba people of Sumatra have their traditional lands demarcated and are granted exclusive rights to use them. RFN collaborates with its local partner organisation WARSI to create the 600 km2 Bukit Duabelas national park, later securing users’ rights for indigenous peoples in and around the park. For the first time in Indonesia, an indigenous group is allowed to continue its traditional cultivation and hunting and gathering activities within the boundaries of a national park. RFN and WARSI started working with the Orang Rimba in 1998, with the aim of protecting their remaining forest areas.  


In Papua New Guinea, the controversial and highly destructive Kiunga-Aiambak project, a logging operation disguised as a road project, is halted. This follows years of advocacy work by CELCOR, RFN’s local partner organisation, with significant financial input from RFN. The halting of the project marks an important victory for local communities and is a signal to loggers that they will be prosecuted if they do not abide by the strict logging code of the country.


The disclosure of corruption and illegal logging on the Mentawai Islands results in the first ever judgement in Indonesia in which anti-corruption legislation is employed to apprehend those guilty of illegal logging. Two bureaucrats are sentenced to prison terms. This follows a lengthy investigation by RFN’s partner organisation YCM, which uncovered and reported the illegal practices. 


The World Bank Inspection Panel investigates the practices of the World Bank in the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a request from indigenous groups working in partnership with RFN and the Rainforest Foundation UK. The Panel concludes that the World Bank’s bias in favour of industrial logging impoverishes local people, and that the Bank should rethink its approach to forest management and develop a policy based on true participation of forest-based peoples, with the aim of securing their traditional rights and promoting alternatives to industrial logging. As a result, the World Bank’s plan to grant 600,000 km2 of logging concessions in the DRC is shelved.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announces at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali that Norway will grant up to USD 500 million annually for rainforest protection in order to halt climate change. The measure was proposed to the Norwegian government by Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights gives an official warning to the Peruvian government for its failure to protect the isolated indigenous groups living in the Peruvian Amazon. The warning is a response to the complaint which RFN’s partner organisations AIDESEP and FENAMAD presented to the Commission in 2005, holding the Peruvian state responsible for the dramatic situation faced by the isolated indigenous peoples in the country.  


The logging company involved in the Kiunga-Aiambak project (see 2003, above), the Malaysian company Concord Pacific, is sentenced to pay more than USD 90 million in damages to local communities who have seen their livelihoods destroyed – the first time a logging company has been sentenced to pay compensation for damage done to the rainforest in Papua New Guinea.

Rainforest Foundation Norway’s partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo play a key role in ensuring that a number of illegal logging concessions are rescinded. The area that is spared logging is larger in size than England.


Rainforest Foundation Norway launches a campaign with two aims: to reduce Norway’s consumption of palm oil and to expose the link between deforestation and the production of palm oil. The campaign receives extensive media coverage, resulting in increased consumer awareness. Norwegian food producers respond rapidly and, by the end of the year, have cut their use of palm oil by two thirds.


Rainforest Foundation Norway is the main actor in the protection, by means of eight control posts, of a 60,000 km2 contiguous territory for indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in Peru. The manned posts stop loggers and gold diggers who illegally attempt to enter the territory of the uncontacted indigenous peoples.

The largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), divests its shares in Wilmar – named the “worst company in the world” by Newsweek magazine – as well as 22 other palm oil companies that are considered to be responsible for tropical deforestation. The GPFG’s investments in the palm oil industry are thus reduced by more than 40 percent. This follows years of campaigning by Rainforest Foundation Norway for a reduction in the GPFG’s investments in the palm oil industry.