Norway supports 39 new projects: Civil society plays a key role in the fight to save the rainforest

‘The support to civil society yields important results for Norway’s commitment to the rainforests. Civil society strengthens indigenous peoples, as well as the rights and the forest areas of local communities, holds companies accountable for deforestation in the production of raw materials, combats forest crime, and helps authorities in fighting deforestation,’ says Sveinung Rotevatn (Liberal Party), Minister of Climate and Environment.

 Today, Monday 28 July 2021, the government announces its continued large-scale support to international civil society. A total of 39 organisations will receive altogether NOK 1,835 billion over the next five years, from 2021 to 2025, in the effort to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in the world’s tropical forests.

Norway’s international climate and forest initiative aims to help halt and gradually reverse deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Civil society is crucial for the achievement of this goal.

‘Indigenous peoples’ fight is also our fight’

The largest share of the allocation to civil society, almost NOK 640 million, goes to support indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent local communities. This is in line with the Climate and Forest Initiative’s strategy to support these groups.

‘Strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples is one of the most effective ways to protect the rainforest. Indigenous peoples and other environmental and human rights campaigners often risk their lives in the fight against deforestation; therefore supporting these groups is also a question of social justice and human rights. Their fight should also be our fight,’ says Rotevatn.

 Evidence shows that indigenous people can often be the best guardians of the forests, as their light-touch livelihoods are well attuned to the precarious nature of rainforest ecosystems.

We must influence the big hitters

One of the goals of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative is to reduce the pressure on tropical forests from the global trade in raw materials such as soya, beef, palm oil, timber, rubber, cocoa and coffee. This work is boosted through new projects aimed at civil society, by paving the way for deforestation-free production, holding companies accountable, and making better data on companies’ deforestation risk available to investors.

‘There has been a focus on targeting efforts towards global financial markets, and international investors and companies in the supply chains category. In order to reverse the deforestation trend, we need to influence the big hitters and make it financially unsustainable to cut down the forest,’ says Norad’s Director General, Bård Vegar Solhjell.

Norad – the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation –
will manage most of the 39 new agreements with civil society organisations. Norad has been responsible for the application process in cooperation with the Ministry of Climate and Environment. Norad received a total of 358 applications from all over the world before the application deadline in May 2020.

‘Norad received a huge number of solid applications from relevant organisations with good competencies. The focus in this round is on boosting national actors’ capacity in forest preservation work. Local competence yields global results. We are particularly pleased that so many national actors qualify for support, and we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of the applications,’ says Solhjell.

Working to combat forest crime

Prioritised in the call for proposals were also two other important priority areas for Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative: Reducing forest crime and increasing support for global cooperation to reduce emissions from tropical forests (REDD+).

Illegal logging and the illegal trade in tropical timber is a major international challenge, often organised by large, transnational networks that are involved in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The networks undermine entire economic systems and violate the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Transparency and public access to information about, for example, licences, property ownership and possession, and financial flows, are crucial for uncovering and stopping this form of crime. Civil society plays an important role in exposing and reporting cases of corruption and other illegal practices in the forest sector.

About the applications

This is the fourth time that the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative has issued a call for proposals for this type of multi-year grant scheme for civil society. The standard of applicants was high, and the main reason why more did not receive support is limitations on available funding. Some of the grant recipients have received support before, but there is no guarantee that projects will be continued from one grant period to the next.

This year’s allocation of funding shows an increase in support for national organisations, particularly in Brazil. The involvement in African countries has also been stepped up, with a special focus on the Congo Basin. It has been particularly important to ensure a comprehensive and strategic portfolio, both in terms of geography and thematic focus.


The 39 organisations that Norad is signing agreements with are as follows: 

Category 1. Indigenous peoples, local communities and environmental defenders

Organisasjon, geografisk område 
AMAN, Indonesia 
Comissão Pró-Índio do Acre, Brasil  
Det norske Menneskrettighetsfondet, Colombia 
EcoCiencia (Ecuador) 
Fundacion Peruana Conservacion Naturaleza, Peru 
IBC / RAISG (Peru/regionalt) 
ISPN, Brasil 
Regnskogsfondet, globalt 
Rainforest Foundation UK, DRK/CAR
Rainforest Foundation US, Guyana 
Samdhana, Indonesia 
Utviklingsfondet, Etiopia
WRI, Indonesia 

Category 2. Deforestation-free supply chains and financial markets

Ceres, globalt 
CDP, globalt 
Client Earth, globalt 
Conservation International, Guyana 
Fern, globalt 
Global Canopy, globalt 
National Wildlife Federatio, Brasil 
Rainforest A. – Afi, globalt 
Stockholm Environment Institute – TRASE, globalt 

Category 3: Reduced forest crime and improved forest monitoring

Amazon Conservation (ACA), Peru 
Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON), Brasil 
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), globalt 
Forest Trends, Mekong 
Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS), Colombia 
TRAFFIC International, global 
World Resources Institute (WRI), global 
Yayasan Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI), Indonesia 

Category 4. Mobilising ambition and support for forest friendly policies

Amigos da Terra – Amazônia, Brasil 
BBC Media Action, Indonesia 
Caritas, DRK og Colombia 
Fundação Brasileira, Brasil 
IPAM, Brasil 
Kirkens Nødhjelp, Etiopia 
Mongabay, global 
Transport and Environment, globalt, Brasil, Indonesia 
Wildlife Conservation Society, Indonesia og DRK 
WWF Norge, global 

Norad reserves the right to make changes to this list until all agreements are signed.