In July 2018, we participated in the Fostering Community Conservation Conference, organized by the Global Forest Coalition (GFC) and meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where the members of GFC took part. Both events were held in Montreal, Canada, where the Secretariat of CBD is located and the meeting of the parties was held. The Global Forest Coalition took a part in the CBD meeting, promoting the ideas of community participation in the post-2020 biodiversity framework.
The GFC is a relatively young organization. It was founded in 2000 by 19 NGOs and Indigenous People Organizations IPOs) succeeding the NGO Forest Working Group established in 1995. The Forest Working Group coordinated by Netherlands National Committee of IUCN and the World Rainforest Movement led the multi-stakeholder initiative to address the underlying causes deforestation and forest degradation. Until 2005, the Global Forest Coalition was formally hosted by the World Rainforest Movement. In 2005, it was registered as an independent foundation in the Netherlands. Currently, this is a coalition of NGOs and IPOs from more than 65 countries defending social justice and rights of the forest people.
The mission of the Global Forest Coalition is to advocate for the conservation and restoration of forest ecosystems, through defending and promoting respect for the rights, territories, traditional knowledge and sustainable livelihoods of the Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women that co-exist with them.
The vision of Coalition is based on several major principles:
- Protect real forests, and the people dependent on them.
- Protect the rights of forest peoples, including customary systems of forest governance and conservation, and the territorial rights to land of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
- Halt deforestation and biodiversity loss.
- Recognition that plantations are not forests.
- Forests are not a commodity to be traded, forests are for life.
- Forests are key to the climate crisis.
- Biodiversity through cultural diversity is vital to biodiversity conservation and the protection of forest ecosystems, with an emphasis on inter-generational dialogue and the crucial role of young people.
The Global Forest Coalition’s work is based on its strategy to campaign through its broad membership and in coordination with other allies, alliances, movements and networks, to support the struggles of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women by bring their views, positions and proposals to the forefront of local, national, and global forest-related decision-making processes.
The Global Forest Coalition supports and coordinates joint NGO/IPO campaigns for socially and effective forest policy and the rights of Indigenous and other forest peoples. The members of coalition work on campaigns to defend rights, to prevent forest loss and land conversion to mono-culture, to support community conservation. They cooperate with other organizations and allies against unsustainable livestock, raising awareness about impact of such production, promoting more sustainable community-based initiatives. GFC works together with a large number of women’s movements, enhancing women’s rights and empowerment. The list of activities can be continued. However, the more information about current and past activities of the Global Forest Coalition can be found on its website: https://globalforestcoalition.org/
In general, the Global Forest Coalition promotes participatory approach and good governance, which serve as a basic precondition for sustainable development, and facilitates development of the bottom-up approaches for building new scenarios of life within the “planetary boundaries”.