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Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) aims to slow down, halt and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Civil society is a key player in this effort.
Photo: Ken Opprann

Promoting global change by supporting local partners

Norad is entering into agreements with 39 organisations as part of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). The organisations will receive a total of 1.835 NOK billion in funding over the next five years to stop deforestation and forest degradation.

‘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 to fight deforestation,’ says Sveinung Rotevatn (Liberal Party), Minister of Climate and Environment. 

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) aims to slow down, halt and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Civil society is a key player in this effort.

Strong competence globally

Norad received a total of 358 applications from around the world before the application deadline in May last year. The call for proposals was centred around five categories: the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent populations; deforestation-free supply chains and financial markets; reduced forest crime and improved forest monitoring; increased ambitions for reduced deforestation; and ground-breaking ideas to reduce deforestation.

This is the fourth call for proposals under this grant scheme. There were many strong applicants, and the main reason why more did not receive support is funding limitations. Some of the grant recipients have received support previously; however, this does not mean that projects will automatically continue to receive funding from one period to the next.

Increased support for national organisations  

‘Norad received a large number of high-quality applications from relevant well-qualified organisations. The focus in this round is on strengthening the capacity of national actors in the efforts within forest conservation, particularly in the categories of indigenous peoples, forest crime and increased ambitions. Local expertise gives global results. We are particularly pleased that so many national actors qualify for support, and have seen a significant improvement in the quality of applications,’ says Norad’s Director General, Bård Vegar Solhjell, before continuing:

‘At the same time, 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.’

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

Indigenous peoples and local communities are being prioritised

The largest share of the grant, 640 million NOK, is allocated to support indigenous peoples and local communities who are dependent on the forest and environmentalists for their survival. This is in line with the Government priorities. Indigenous peoples are important guardians of the rainforest, and the forest is essential to the preservation of their culture. Seven out of 12 organisations receiving support in this category are based in tropical forest countries.  

Deforestation-free supply chains and financial markets  

Norad is entering into nine partnerships aimed at promoting deforestation-free supply chains and financial markets. Deforestation is financed by private investors, banks and other financial institutions both in forest countries and internationally. Financial institutions are in a position to influence and boost the private sector’s efforts in sustainability. Lack of transparency around subcontractors, financing and ownership structures make this work complex.

Civil society plays a key role as a watchdog in the efforts to improve transparency as well as a partner and knowledge provider for actors who want to escalate their work in the field.   

‘Civil society is an important actor for change and a key partner for Norad in the effort to ensure a greener world and achieve the SDGs,’ says Solhjell.

Reduced forest crime 

The illegal felling and trading of tropical timber is a criminalised industry, 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, both locally and globally.

Local and global efforts to increase support for REDD+

In the category for increased support for REDD+, it has been important to identify measures aimed at putting the issue on the global agenda and integrating the forest sector with forest countries’ efforts to meet their national climate targets. The measures range from promoting forest-friendly policies in the EU to working with religious communities in the fight against deforestation in Ethiopia.

Overview of organisations Norad is signing agreements with

Organisation, geographical area. Amount for five years, MNOK* 

Indigenous peoples, local communities and environmental defenders

  • AMAN, Indonesia - MNOK 30
  • Comissão Pró-Índio do Acre, Brazil (under the RFN agreement. See below)
  • Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Colombia - MNOK 60
  • EcoCiencia - MNOK 37
  • Fundacion Peruana Conservacion Naturaleza, Peru - MNOK 50
  • IBC / RAISG - MNOK 23
  • ISPN, Brazil - MNOK 20
  • Rainforest Foundation Norway, global - MNOK 237.1
  • Rainforest Foundation UK, DRC/CAR - MNOK 25
  • RFUS, Guyana - MNOK 20
  • Samdhana, Indonesia - MNOK 50
  • The Development Fund, Norway, Ethiopia - MNOK 39.5
  • World Resources Institute (WRI), Indonesia - MNOK 48.5

Deforestation-free supply chains and financial markets

  • Ceres - MNOK 45
  • CDP - MNOK 45
  • Client Earth - MNOK 60
  • Conservation International - MNOK 25
  • Fern - MNOK 30
  • Global Canopy - MNOK 65
  • National Wildlife Federation - MNOK 40
  • Rainforest Alliance - AFi - MNOK 25
  • Stockholm Environmental Institute. – TRASE - MNOK 60

Reduced forest crime and improved forest monitoring

  • Amazon Conservation (ACA) - MNOK 25
  • Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON) - MNOK 45
  • Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) - MNOK 70
  • Forest Trends - MNOK 35
  • Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS)  - MNOK 20
  • TRAFFIC International - MNOK 55
  • World Resources Institute (WRI) - MNOK 70
  • Yayasan Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) - MNOK 28.4

Mobilising ambition and support for forest friendly policies

  • Amigos da Terra, Amazônia - MNOK 40
  • BBC Media Action, Indonesia - MNOK 20
  • Caritas - MNOK 35
  • Fundação Brasileira, Brazil - MNOK 30
  • IPAM - MNOK 50
  • Norwegian Church Aid - MNOK 40
  • Mongabay - MNOK 30
  • Transport and Environment - MNOK 45
  • Wildlife Conservation Society - MNOK 40
  • WWF Norway - MNOK 120

    *Norad reserves the right to make changes until all agreements are signed.
Published 29.06.2021
Last updated 29.06.2021