Skip to content

Language switcher

Defending rights

Forests are home to people. Rural communities and Indigenous Peoples have been living with and protecting their forests for centuries. But their lands and way of life are under threat, and their rights to govern, live in, use and conserve their territories are often not recognised or respected.

The Global Forest Coalition has always identified itself as a rights-based forest policy advocacy group. Part of the rationale for the birth of the Global Forest Coalition was the need for an organisation that took the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent peoples as a starting point in the fight to protect forests.

In the name of forest conservation, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have also been forcibly relocated: moved away from their lands and territories and resettled in areas that are alien to them. This has sometimes happened with the consent, or even the involvement, of conservation organizations. We particularly denounce so-called ‘Green Land Grabbing’ for false solutions to climate change, in the name of forest carbon offset or bioenergy projects (see also our Forests, Trees and Climate Change Campaign).

Women are often the main victims of projects and policies that exclude and ignore forest-dependent peoples. Their rights, needs and fundamental roles in forest conservation and restoration should be at the heart of rights-based forest policy. GFC believes that forest conservation policies that ignore the rights, needs and roles of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women violate fundamental human rights and are a barrier to creating broader support for forest protection.