Protecting forests through protecting rights

By supporting the active and informed engagement of indigenous communities, this project aims to promote a rights-based approach to forest and climate protection in Guyana.


Rainforest Foundation US

Why: Indigenous peoples in Guyana need secure land rights and must participate in programs affecting their lands and resources.

Recent studies prove that deforestation rates on indigenous and community lands are demonstrably lower than in other areas at a global level. Securing land rights is therefore critical to protect forests and keeping carbon dioxide emissions low.

Indigenous communities are the primary actors in the forested regions of Guyana, which cover some 85% of the country. Nonetheless, vast swathes of their customary lands remain without title, despite persistent community efforts. Meanwhile, these forest lands are being allocated to mining and logging interests.

Although Guyana has promoted a low carbon development strategy since 2009, core issues brought up by indigenous communities, including the titling of customary lands and the application of free prior and informed consent, have not yet been adequately addressed.


Norad intends to offer NOK 36,3 million in total for the period 2016-2020.

What: Advocacy, outreach, trainings, and community-led mapping and monitoring.

On the national level, this project will engage with civil society to conduct sustained advocacy on issues such as land tenure, governance, and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), as well as trainings on indigenous rights.

The project will also provide governance and rights trainings directly to communities across the interior of Guyana, supporting them to make solid decisions regarding their lands and resources.

It will support the expansion of community-led environmental monitoring into areas threatened by mining and logging. A land tenure assessment and maps of indigenous lands will be made publicly available through an online database, and compared with logging and mining concessions.

Finally, the project aims to promote young people’s involvement in an innovative way, through the facilitation of participatory film production documenting indigenous ways of life and traditional forest knowledge. 

Expected results

Indigenous land rights and FPIC are promoted through a rights-based approach to forest protection in Guyana.

  • Policies regarding indigenous lands, forests, and climate protection in Guyana are strengthened and comply with international human rights standards.
  • Maps and research regarding indigenous customary lands in Guyana are made publicly available, and used by communities and government agencies. 
  • Forest governance in Guyana is improved through the development of community bylaws, monitoring programs, and other community-based initiatives.


Rainforest Foundation US, Amerindian Peoples Association, Forest Peoples Programme, South Central People’s Development Association.


About the project descriptions

The project descriptions give insight in the NICFI portfolio for civil society organisations supported by Norad. 

The descriptions presented are written by the project partners. Only minor edits have been undertaken by Norad. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

Published 12.06.2016
Last updated 07.09.2020