- The rainforest is home to millions of indigenous peoples and other populations whose rights, culture and very existence are threatened by its destruction.
- the rainforest cannot be saved unless those who live there are able to protect their environment while also meeting their immediate and long-term needs.
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Securing rights, Saving rainforests
Rainforest Foundation Norway supports indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world's rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and secure their rights to their land.
Rainforest Foundation Norway is engaged in 11 countries, in all three rainforest continents. We are working closely together with more than 70 environmental- and human rights organisations. Our partnerorganisations work locally, nationally and internationally.
The Rainforest Foundations in the UK, the USA and Norway have assisted forest communities in saving an area of rainforest the size of Greece, and are actively working to protect an area the size of Bolivia.
Campaigning and lobbying
- Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) runs campaigns that seek to:
- address the underlying causes of rainforest destruction, and
change the policies and practices of governments, intergovernmental bodies and private enterprises.
Awareness and action
An important part of our work focuses on generating and strengthening national and international public awareness and action. We produce a quarterly newsletter, electronic news updates and publications that take up important rainforest issues. We use sosial media actively to communicate with our supporters.
RFN advocates a rights-based approach to rainforest protection. We believe that the peoples who for generations have developed their cultures and societies in balanced interaction with the highly complex yet vulnerable ecosystems of the rainforest have fundamental rights to these areas.
Legal recognition of the collective territorial and cultural rights of forest-based peoples and communities is crucial to the fulfilment of their human rights. It is also a major prerequisite for protecting the rainforest.
Deforestation continues at a rapid rate in the Amazon. The human rights of indigenous peoples are regularly violated, and the last remaining groups of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation are now threatened with extinction.
Since 1989 Rainforest Foundation Norway has developed close partnerships with a broad network of local organizations throughout the Amazon, including many indigenous organizations. Together with these partners we run projects in bilingual education, management of indigenous territories and improvement of forest laws and indigenous peoples' rights.
Our experience has shown that the most effective way to protect the Amazon rainforest is by securing the territorial rights of its indigenous peoples. Rainforest Foundation Norway works to establish new indigenous territories and to protect existing ones. The strengthening of indigenous organizations is an important part of this activity.
In Peru we work to protect the right of isolated indigenous groups to maintain their traditional way of life and preserve their cultural integrity - which in turn means protecting the forests they inhabit. We also support the fight against exploitation of natural resources in indigenous territories.
- contains more than half of the world's plant and animal species.
- irreversible loss of biodiversity
- The destruction of rainforests accounts for one fifth of global emissions of greenhouse gases.
In Central Africa, Rainforest Foundation Norway works closely with environmental and indigenous organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to promote forest-dependent peoples' access and rights to land, and ensure sustainable, community-based management of the rainforest.
Rainforest Foundation Norway, in cooperation with Rainforest Foundation UK, supports advocacy work by local groups. This work seeks to achieve a policy shift - away from the industrial logging focus of national forest policy, promoted and financed by the World Bank, and to a policy that helps to combat poverty through sustainable, rights-based forest management.
The Rainforest Foundation supports forest-dependent peoples in mapping their traditional forest uses in order to document their traditional rights and strengthen their advocacy work towards local authorities. Our projects focus on areas where forest-dependent peoples are threatened by logging interests, by non-participatory conservation policies and by large-scale development projects.
Southeast Asia and Oceania
Rainforest Foundation Norway started working in Southeast Asia and Oceania in 1997, and has since developed a range of projects together with local organizations. Our work focuses on sustainable forest management and securing land rights for forest-based peoples. In this work we join with dedicated organizations that maintain close relationships to communities in danger of losing their traditional lands and livelihoods if deforestation continues at the same rate as today.
Rainforest Foundation Norway supports legal action against logging companies and campaigns to introduce logging moratoria. We work to help forest peoples obtain exclusive user rights to their traditional lands. Through capacity building, alternative education, para-legal training and by supporting traditional expressions of culture, Rainforest Foundation Norway seeks to strengthen the role of forest peoples in protecting their home territories against destruction.
2007 DR Congo: The World Bank Inspection Panel investigated the practices of the World Bank in the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following a request from indigenous groups. The Panel concludes that the Bank's bias towards industrial logging impoverishes local people. The World Bank should rethink its approach to forest management, and develop a policy based on true participation of forest-dependent peoples, with the aim of securing their traditional rights and promoting alternatives to industrial logging.
2007 Peru: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights gives an official warning to the Peruvian Government for its failure to protect the isolated indigenous peoples living in the Peruvian Amazon. The warning is a response to the complaint which RFN?s partner organizations 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. This is the first official warning from an international human rights authority to a state relating to isolated peoples.
2003: The controversial and highly destructive Kiunga-Aiambak logging project is halted in Papua New Guinea. This marks an important victory for local communities and a signal to the loggers that they will be prosecuted if they do not abide by the strict logging code of the country.
2000: The semi-nomadic Orang Rimba people of Sumatra have their traditional lands demarcated and are granted exclusive use of the area. For the first time in Indonesia, an indigenous group is allowed to continue its traditional cultivation, hunting and gathering activities within the boundaries of a national park.
1990s: The Rainforest Foundation develops a series of on-the-ground projects in the Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil. Activities include border monitoring to prevent incursions, training indigenous health monitors, developing a bilingual education system for the 14 indigenous peoples who share the Park, and developing ecologically sustainable income opportunities. As a result, the 27,000 km2 Xingu Park emerges as an ecologically intact green 'island' and an effective barrier against the widespread deforestation around the reserve.