What is the World Rainforest Movement (WRM)?
The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) is an international initiative that aims to contribute to struggles, reflections and political actions of forest-dependent peoples, indigenous, peasants and other communities in the global South. WRM is part of a global movement for social and environmental justice and respect for human and collective rights.
Its main role is to support struggles that defend the collective rights and self-determination of indigenous peoples and peasant communities who live in and with the forest over their territories, lives and cultures.
WRM was set up in 1986 by activists from different parts of the world in response to the ongoing destruction of forests in the global South and excessive consumption of tropical timber products in the global North. It has supported forest peoples who have been resisting the enclosure of their territories by different economic interests and extractive industries beyond timber (pulp, oil palm, minerals, dams, oil, etc), in many cases endorsed by big conservation NGOs.
From the beginning, WRM’s informal alliances with community groups, social and environmental justice organisations and social movements have been based on trust and shared political analysis of the direct and underlying drivers of forest loss and a commitment to prioritize the strengthening of community struggles in our joint work.
What WRM has learned
The WRM Secretariat has based its work on what it has learned from communities who live with and from the forest in Africa, Asia and Latin America. WRM has found that it is when rights of such communities are respected on the ground, and where women are meaningfully involved in decision-making, that forests have the best chance of being protected.
WRM understands territories not as physical spaces or land only, but as the totality of relations, customary rules, histories, animals, plants, human and spiritual beings and all their components that permit the reproduction of life and cultures.
For WRM, it is important to highlight the role of women in these struggles, not only because of the differentiated and usually more severe impacts they suffer from deforestation and other activities, but also because of their crucial participation in organizing collective resistance.
WRM's main activities
Facilitating exchange of information and resistance experiences
An important role for WRM is to facilitate the exchange of information and experiences among community groups in different forest regions in the global South where communities live with and from the forest. In many places, deforestation and land-grabbing threaten their way of life and community control over their territory.
Such exchanges can involve:
— networking and facilitating the getting-together of people active in resistance processes from different places where communities face similar threats to their way of life. For example, WRM helps bring together community members confronted with the expansion of industrial oil palm or timber plantations or forest-carbon projects. In these meetings or field visits, people exchange experiences, strategize and share both the difficulties and inspirations that are part of their struggles.
— the production of materials that describe and reflect on community struggles in different parts of the world in an accessible form and relevant languages, focusing on information particularly relevant for community organisations.
Denouncing false solutions
Critical analysis of international initiatives and policies presented at global conferences by international institutions as solutions to the forest crisis has been another important area of WRM's work over the past 30 years. Among the policy trends and initiatives that, while claiming to halt forest loss, have failed to conserve forests and address the needs and priorities of forest peoples, are:
— the Tropical Forestry Action Plan in the 1980s and its promotion of industrial logging in tropical forests and expansion of monoculture tree plantations;
— voluntary certification initiatives that, since the 1990s, have resulted in large-scale greenwashing of industrial logging and palm-oil production and have proved to be unable to halt the expansion of industrial timber, pulp and oil palm plantations;
— UN initiatives that, again since the 1990s, have failed to identify the direct and underlying causes of forest loss;
— current international initiatives promoting industrial tree plantations and land grabbing in the context of the Rio+20 Process and the UN's Paris Climate Agreement, including carbon markets, biodiversity offsetting and REDD+ programmes.
All these initiatives share one characteristic: they started as top-down processes negotiated in international meetings where communities had no (meaningful) seat at the table. Furthermore, they wrongly blame community forest use, shifting cultivation and peasant farming as main causes responsible for deforestation. These processes also tend to pay mere lip-service to the right of forest-dependent peoples and populations to self-determination, which includes the right to exercise decisions over their territory, their cultures and ways of life.
WRM disseminates its analysis and research so that the information becomes accessible to a broad array of local organizations and community groups. Important dissemination tools are:
The website and the electronic bulletin, as well as most of the material produced and shared by WRM, are available in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, some booklets and videos of particular relevance for local community groups are also available in languages spoken in these locations, like Swahili, Lingala, Bahasa and Malagasy.
Among the dissemination tools, the WRM Bulletin has special relevance. It has been published uninterruptedly since 1997 in order to support the struggles of the peoples who defend their territories and forests against the direct and underlying causes of deforestation. One of its objectives is to help transmit the voices of the numerous resistance struggles, as well as to provide information on international plans and initiatives that deal with forests, warning about the risks and impacts on the lives of people who depend on them. The bulletin is distributed by e-mail, available on WRM’s website and printed in cases it is necessary to reach communities or organisations with little or no access to the internet.
To receive the electronic bulletin, as well as to keep informed about other WRM materials (videos, books, booklets, reports) and actions, please subscribe to our mailing list here.
WRM International Secretariat
The WRM Secretariat currently has a team of seven people located in different countries. Its office is in Uruguay. The international secretariat team receives input and guidance for its activities from the WRM Advisory Committee; from the biannual WRM strategy meetings with WRM allies from different continents; and from regular interaction between the team and hundreds of community organizations, social movements, NGOs and indigenous peoples' organizations in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
WRM Advisory Committee
— Hendro Sangkoyo – School of Democratic Economics (Indonesia)
— Larry Lohmann – The Corner House (United Kingdom)
— Premrudee Daoroung – Project SEVANA South-East Asia (Thailand)
— Shalmali Guttal – Focus on the Global South (Thailand)
— Silvia Ribeiro – ETC Group (México)
— Tom Goldtooth – Indigenous Environmental Network (USA)
— Ivonne Yanez – Acción Ecológica (Ecuador)
Funding and Annual Reports
It has never been easy to secure funding for the type of work WRM does and it is getting harder every year. There are several reasons for this. Among them, we would highlight the tendency among donors over the last years to focus on quantifiable “results” and "output" and the increasing priority of supporting market-based approaches to the forest crisis. WRM is grateful for the financial support received over the years, which has allowed the organisation to carry out its work in an independent manner.
WRM has received financial support in the past years from the following organisations and donors: Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Siemenpuu Foundation (Finland), Misereor (Germany), Olin gGmbH (Germany) and Stiftung Umverteilen (Germany), Heinrich Böll Foundation (Chile and Brazil Offices) and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Brazil office).
Click here to download the WRM Annual Report 2021
Click here to download the WRM Annual Report 2020
Click here to download the WRM Annual Report 2019
Other Relevant information about WRM
Stichting World Rainforest Movement (WRM) is a Dutch foundation registered in 1999 at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce under number 34118798.
The legal address of the Stichting WRM is Vuile Riete 12 in Linde (Dr.), the Netherlands.
The Board of the Dutch WRM Foundation, responsible to govern legal and financial-administrative issues, is composed as follows:
— Larry Lohmann – Chairman;
— Ivonne Yanez – Treasurer;
— Silvia Ribeiro – Secretary;
— Premrudee Daoroung – Member.
In 2016, WRM was granted ANBI in the Netherlands. The acronym stands for "Algemeen Nut Beogende Instellingen" and the status is granted to foundations registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce whose mission and activities are deemed by the Tax Service overwhelmingly to serve the common good.
If you live in the Netherlands, the advantage of donating to an institution with the ANBI-status is that you can deduct your gift from your taxable income, according to the rules of the Dutch tax administration (see here)
If you want to make a gift and need a certificate of the WRM ANBI-status, please get in touch with us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Uruguayan Education Ministry has granted the WRM Foundation registered in the Netherlands permission to function in Uruguay where the office of the WRM international secretariat is located. In Uruguay, the Foundation is registered under the name of “Fundación Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques Tropicales”, with the fiscal number (RUT) 00215767260016.
The members of the Dutch WRM Foundation Board and WRM Advisory Committee, as well as any volunteers WRM might work with, do not receive any form of salary for the activities they carry out for WRM. They can request reimbursement for costs incurred for participation in WRM meetings, such as transport and accommodation costs.
Only WRM international secretariat staff and the international coordinator of the organisation receive a salary based on a legal contract. Individuals hired for short-term, specific activities, such as for carrying out case studies, can receive an honorarium, based on a contract clearly describing the tasks carried out and the remuneration agreed.
See here a copy of the last annual audit.
World Rainforest Movement
Avenida Bolivia 1962 Bis, 11500 Montevideo, Uruguay
Phone / Fax: +598 2605 6943 / E-mail: email@example.com