How we achieve political change

If we are to save the rainforest and secure the rights of forest peoples, we must address the underlying causes of rainforest destruction. Together with our network of partners, we work to influence the policies and practices of governments, intergovernmental bodies and private enterprises to ensure that they are consistent with rainforest protection.

Although collaboration with organisations in rainforest countries is the most important component of our work, this in itself will not suffice if we are to halt the destruction of the rainforest. It is also vital that Norway and other countries provide financial support to forest protection measures and curb the consumption of goods linked to tropical deforestation.

Decisions that impact the rainforest and its inhabitants are taken at many different levels – by businesses and investors, by national and local governments, and by international bodies such as the UN and the World Bank.

Accordingly, all of our projects have provisions for policy work, and we are actively engaged in advocacy in political arenas and processes where Norwegian and international environmental and development policy are shaped. Our aim is to ensure that the protection of natural forests, biodiversity, and human rights - including the rights of forest-dependent communities - are top priorities both rhetorically, in fact and in funding.

A decisive result of our advocacy work was the Norwegian government's decision to grant up to USD 500 million annually for rainforest protection in order to halt climate change - a measure proposed by Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway.

In dialogue with the decision-makers

We participate in a number of international processes pertaining to rainforests and indigenous rights, including the UN climate negotiations and the deliberations of the UN's Human Rights Council. In close collaboration with our network of partner organisations, we work to ensure that donors and financial institutions such as the World Bank espouse policies that are consistent with rainforest protection and the upholding of the rights of indigenous peoples.

A key priority for us has been to influence the design and implementation of climate change mitigation measures such as REDD+ towards a greater emphasis on full and effective participation of civil society, creating concrete benefits for those who actually protect the forest, and the protection of biodiversity. We have also supported the indigenous movement in selected countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, promoting South-South cooperation and the advancement of the indigenous rights agenda internationally.

In Norway, we are in close dialogue with the Ministry of Climate and Environment regarding the government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) and with the Ministry of Finance and the central bank regarding the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and how to minimise the contribution of its investment portfolio to tropical deforestation.

SUPPORTING THE STRUGGLE: In DR Congo, we support our partner organisations in their effort to get an indigenous law on the books.

Advocacy in rainforest countries

We cooperate with our partner organisations in engaging in advocacy work in rainforest countries. This work is informed by local experiences, views and conditions, and the expert knowledge of local organisations - while we contribute with our experience from policy, campaigning and communications efforts as well as with financial support. Together we can exert an influence on the authorities and provide valuable input when it comes to how they should improve practices and policies that affect rainforest ecosystems and the rights of forest-dependent peoples, incuding indigenous peoples.

For example, we cooperate in crafting submissions to the UN Human Rights Council, which evaluates national compliance with human rights obligations. If the council recommends that a country do more to uphold the rights of indigenous peoples, this will increase the pressure on the country to do so.

Campaigning and informational activities

We have kept rainforest protection high on the public agenda in Norway by maintaining a clear media profile, sharing information and campaigning, and thus promoting awareness among the Norwegian population and business community of the impacts of their consumption pattern, activities and investments on the rainforest and its inhabitants. We also engage in close dialogue with businesses that import goods linked to tropical deforestation, such as palm oil and tropical timber, in order that they adopt policies to minimise their footprint on the rainforest.

Read also: How to run a successful palm oil campaign

Our visibility and messaging encourages individuals and businesses to join Rainforest Foundation Norway in the fight to save the world’s rainforests.