Forests cover 12% of the planet and nearly all are inhabited. Many of the peoples, who live in and have customary rights to their forests, have developed ways of life and traditional knowledge that are attuned to their forest environments. Yet, forest policies commonly treat forests as empty lands controlled by the state and available for ‘development’ – colonization, logging, plantations, dams, mines, oil wells, gas pipelines and agribusiness. These encroachments often force forest peoples out of their forest homes. Many conservation schemes to establish wilderness reserves also deny forest peoples’ rights. FPP advocates an alternative vision of how forests should be managed and controlled, based on respect for the rights of the peoples who know them best. It works with forest peoples in South America, Africa, and Asia, to help them secure their rights, build up their own organizations and negotiate with governments and companies as to how economic development and conservation are best achieved on their lands.
FPP was founded in 1990 in response to the forest crisis, specifically to support indigenous forest peoples’ struggles to defend their lands and livelihoods. It registered as a non-governmental human rights Dutch Stichting in 1997, and then later, in 2000, as a UK charity, No. 1082158 and a company limited by guarantee (England & Wales) Reg. No. 3868836, with a registered office in the UK.
FPP’s focus, in the beginning, came from the expertise and relationships that the small founding team had with specific communities, primarily in the Guyanas and in South and South East Asia. Forest Peoples Programme has grown into a respected and successful organization that now operates right around the tropical forest belt where it serves to bridge the gap between policy makers and forest peoples. Through advocacy, practical projects and capacity building, FPP supports forest peoples to deal directly with the outside powers, regionally, nationally, and internationally that shape their lives and futures. FPP has contributed to, and continues supporting, the growing indigenous peoples' movement whose voice is gaining influence and attention on the world-wide stage.
Forests are owned and controlled by forest peoples in ways that ensure sustainable livelihoods, equity and well-being based on respect for their rights, knowledge, cultures and identities.
FPP supports the rights of peoples who live in forests and depend on them for their livelihoods. We work to create political space for forest peoples to secure their rights, control their lands and decide their own futures.
Get the rights and interests of forest peoples recognised in laws, policies and programs
Support forest peoples to build their own capacities to claim and exercise their human rights
Counter top-down policies and projects that threaten the rights of forest peoples
Promote community-based sustainable forest management
Ensure equity, counter discrimination and promote gender justice
Inform NGO actions on forests in line with forest peoples’ visions
Link up indigenous and forest peoples’ movements at the regional and international levels.