Environmental justice is the heart of Fern’s work. Protecting and strengthening Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ rights is not only the right thing to do, it is also the best way to protect and restore forests. 

When peoples’ right to land is taken away, the forest is often destroyed. 

To solve the climate and biodiversity crises, we need to strengthen the rights of the communities who live in and depend on forests, in Africa, America, Asia and Europe. But to achieve such a huge change, we, the organisations and networks that make up the forest and rights movement, must work together. 

That’s why Fern puts partnerships, networks and the forest movement at the heart of our work. 

International networks 

Fern works with international networks, such as the Rights and Resources Initiative (a coalition working to secure land rights for 2.5 billion Indigenous Peoples and local communities), the Forests Dialogue (committed to the protection and sustainable use of forests and based at Yale University), the Global Forest Coalition (an inclusive, informal alliance of Southern and Northern NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organisations), and the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) (a world-wide network of over 140 civil society organisations working together towards the Global Paper Vision (Fern is on the steering committee of EPN International), the Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance (CLARA) (a group charting ambitious paths for sustainable, just solutions to forest, ecosystem, land rights, agriculture & food issues (Fern was a founding member)) and the Community Rights Network (a group of rights-based organisations aiming for stronger community control over forests). 

Regional networks 

Some of our networks focus solely on one continent, or are made of groups from just one continent, such as the Forest Movement Europe (a network of European NGOs and individuals using social justice to protect and restore forests globally, which Fern facilitates) and the European Environmental Bureau. Other examples include the African Community Rights Network (ACRN) (organisations that stand in solidarity with communities to advocate for their rights in matters related to forests, rangelands and their territories). 

National networks working to protect and restore forests 

In timber producing countries Fern works with the following national networks through our national partners (see below): CALF in Democratic Republic of Congo, ForestWatch Ghana, the Liberian NGO coalition, the Vietnamese NGO FLEGT Network, the Cameroon Forest Platform and the Laos FLEGT Network. 

In the UK Fern works with the NGO Forest Coalition who work on forests in the context of climate change, biodiversity, development and human rights. 

Networks focussing on a specific topic 

For our biomass work we work with the International Biomass Working Group (based in UK, US and Brussels). 

In our wider climate work, we often work with Climate Action Network (Europe) and the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)

In our cocoa work we work with the VOICE Network, the network of civil society organisations working on cocoa, of which we are a member (Julia Christian is on their Board)

We also work with ad hoc networks of like-minded organisations who come together to achieve specific policy aims such as organisations working on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), known as the FLEGT NGO Coalition. As the aim of FLEGT is to ensure action both in the EU and timber producing countries, it is apt that there is a both a European FLEGT coalition and a network of organisations from Voluntary Partnership Agreement countries – they have a shared website Loggingoff.info which is co-managed by Fern. 

Who are Fern’s partners? 

Fern works with partners in all our campaigns, and whenever we start a new work area, we begin by looking for partners. We believe that EU policies are improved when policy makers receive direct input from affected people with on-the-ground expertise. Our partnerships aim to both explain the EU’s workings to national NGOs and to open space at the EU for them to be heard.  

Where such partnerships lead to joint fundraising, we create partnership agreements – outlining our contractual working relationships - but regardless of contracts, we always aim for equal, transparent and mutually beneficial partnerships that achieve strong benefits for forests and forest peoples.  

In Brussels our partners are Birdlife, Transport and Environment and EEB. Our joint work includes efforts to reduce EU burning of forest biomass and increase European Forest protection and restoration. We also work with ClientEarth and Environmental Investigation Agency to reduce the impacts of EU trade policy on forests and forest people.

At the European level we mainly work on climate issues (such as improving the health of our forests) and consumption issues (such as reducing EU imports of goods that destroy forests). A non-exhaustive list of our partners incudes: in Czechia, Hnuti Duha, in Estonia, the Estonian Fund for Nature and Estonian Forest Aid, in Finland, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, in France, Canopée, in Germany Robin Wood, in Romania, Agent Green, in Slovakia, Wolf and in Sweden, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.  

In Africa we work to support and learn from partners helping to negotiate or implement a Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with the EU as part of the FLEGT Action Plan. In Cameroon we work with Centre for Environment and Development (CED), in Central African Republic with CIEDD and Plateforme des organisations de la société civile pour la Gestion Durable des Ressources Naturelles et de l’Environnement (GDRNE), in Democratic Republic of Congo with Cercle pour la defense de l'environnement (CEDEN), in Ghana, with EcoCare Ghana and Civic Response, in Liberia, with the Foundation for Community Initiatives and Sustainable Development Institute and in Republic of Congo with Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH), Plateforme pour la Gestion Durable des Forêts (PGDF) and Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l'homme (RPDH). In Cameroon and Ghana our work goes beyond FLEGT to look at consumption issues especially around forest conversion for agricultural use, cocoa and rubber. 

In South East Asia, we work with the Lao-CSO FLEGT network led by the Lao Biodiversity Association and in Vietnam with the VNGO FLEGT network led by Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD). We also collaborate with Kaoem Telapak, Madani and the Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK) in Indonesia to promote bilateral trade that contributes to forest protection and respects rights.

In Latin America we mainly work on reducing EU imports of commodities like soya, beef and leather which have been grown on recently deforested land. In Brazil we work with civil society organisations such as ImazonAmazon Watch and Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation (APIB).

In North America we work with Dogwood Alliance to stop US forests from being cut down and chipped, shipped and burnt in the EU. Dogwood Alliance help coordinate the North American movement for forests Stand4Forests. We also work on bioenergy issues with the Partnership for Policy Integrity.

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