Nearly all forests across the globe are inhabited. The peoples who live there have customary rights and 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, colonisation, logging, plantations, dams, mines, oil wells, gas pipelines and agribusinesses.
These encroachments often force peoples out of their forest homes. Many conservation schemes to establish wilderness reserves also deny forest peoples' rights. FPP supports forest peoples and indigenous organisations to promote an alternative vision of how forests should be managed and controlled, based on respect for the rights of the peoples who know them best.
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.
Forest Peoples Programme 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.
- Supporting and advancing the exercise of self-determination by indigenous and forest peoples by strengthening community governance, mobilisation and representation, and the creation and use of political spaces where indigenous and forest peoples' voices can be heard.
- Ensuring access to justice by developing and using accountability and redress mechanisms in both public and private institutions that are directly accessible to indigenous and forest peoples and their communities.
- Partnered advocacy towards legal and policy reform and the development of best practice and standards consistent with indigenous and forest peoples' rights in international law.
- Networking, sharing information and building solidarity for coordinated action among a wide range of actors.
Forest Peoples Programme (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 and an administrative office in the Netherlands.
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 organisation 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. Forest Peoples Programme has contributed to, and continues supporting, the growing indigenous peoples' movement whose voice is gaining influence and attention on the world-wide stage.