About Rainforest Foundation Norway

Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) is one of the world's leading organizations in the field of rights-based rainforest protection.

We are working for a world where the environment is protected and human rights are fulfilled. Our specific focus is the intersection of these two global concerns. Our main arena is the tropical rainforest of the world.

Our mission: To support indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world's rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights by assisting them in:

  • Securing and controlling the natural resources necessary for their long-term well-being and managing these resources in ways which do not harm their environment, violate their culture or compromise their future; and
  • Developing the means to protect their individual and collective rights and to obtain, shape, and control basic services from the state.

The strategy for 2018–2030 takes it a step further. We will intensify our efforts aimed at getting companies and investors to stop rainforest destruction, and towards authorities for the establishment of national and international frameworks for sustainable rainforest management. The protection of indigenous peoples’ territories will remain a cornerstone of our work.

It is also essential to preserve the three remaining large rainforest areas – in the Amazon, Congo Basin and on the island of New Guinea – in order to maintain the earth’s ecosystem services.

We collaborate closely with about 50 local and national environmental, indigenous and human rights organizations in 6 countries in the Amazon region, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. The core of our approach is to support a strong and vibrant civil society. That's why we build long-term partnerships and elaborate shared strategies with legitimate and representative local organizations, with the aim of enhancing their capacity and effectiveness.

We are part of the international Rainforest Foundation network, with sister organizations in the United Kingdom and the USA. Rainforest Foundation Norway is a legally and financially independent non-governmental organization, with a highly specialized staff of approximately 80 people, including 8 staff at our DRC country office in Kinshasa.

Our work is funded by The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Rainforest Fund, Ford Foundation, the Norwegian embassies in Indonesia and Brazil, The Climate Land Use Alliance (CLUA), Sobrato Philanthropie, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Good Energies Foundation. In addition, we receive regular donations from corporate partners and the general public.

Sting and the indigenous leader Raoni meet again, 20 years after setting out on the tour that was to change both of their lives.


We were founded in 1989, following the formation of the Rainforest Foundation the same year by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. It came about after the leader of the indigenous Kayapó people of Brazil, Chief Raoni, made a personal request to them that they help his community protect their lands and their culture. At that time, we comprised the Norwegian branch of the international Rainforest Foundation network.

In 1997, we became an independent foundation. In 2003, we reorganized as a democratic organisation with five Norwegian member organisations. Members are: Friends of the Earth Norway, The Development Fund, The Future in our hands, Nature and Youth, and Eco-Agents.

Securing rights - saving rainforests

  • The rainforest is home to millions of indigenous people 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.

Our approach to rainforest protection

Rainforest Foundation Norway has a rights-based approach to rainforest protection. We believe that the peoples and nations 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. They also have the strongest motivation to protect them.

Legal recognition of the collective territorial and cultural rights of forest-based peoples and communities is crucial to the fulfillment of their human rights. It is also a prerequisite for the long-term protection of the rainforest.

Secure tenure is not in itself a guarantee for sustainable resource use. We do however believe it provides the best foundation for working with people and communities to meet the challenge of combining development with the protection of biodiversity and the maintenance of the essential ecosystem services provided by the rainforest.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals link the ambition of halting deforestation and protecting the world’s biological diversity with the global goals of eradicating hunger and poverty. Protecting the last large contiguous areas of rainforest is essential for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.