Empowering Indigenous Communities | WWF

Empowering Indigenous Communities

Posted on 03 March 2008

Indigenous communities across Bolivia, Cameroon, Panama and Papua New Guinea are being engaged by WWF through the Community Based Forest Enterprises (CBFE) project. The CBFE aims at strengthening forest-based operations run by indigenous and rural communities. In these areas, early linkages are being made with GFTN regional offices to assist these communities in achieving credible certification of their
forest enterprises.

Starting in mid-2007, CBFEs are supported by technical assistance from local WWF and GFTN offices in partnership with various local NGOs. The CBFE works in Bolivia with the Chiquitano indigenous communities in Santa Cruz; in Cameroon, with the Bantu and Pigmy communities in the Jengi and Campo-Maan landscapes; in Panama it supports the Emberá and Wounaan indigenous communities in the Darién province; and in Papua New Guinea, this helps rural communities in East and West New Britain provinces.

In each region, the project helps communities develop and strengthen their forest enterprises through teaching the skills necessary for the successful operation of the enterprise. These skills include responsible forest management, wood measurement, and marketing as well as business management and negotiation. This allows communities to maintain independent economic operators while contributing to the responsible management and conservation of their forest resources.

These CBFEs, with the help of regional FTNs have prepared and are following forest management plans to help ensure their management of forest resources is in harmony with responsible commercial utilization. In the future, these enterprises aim to have their forest management operations credibly certified. GFTN local offices are on the ready to support these communities during the certification process.

This support will allow the communities involved in the CBFE to not only engage in the step wise approach to credible certification, but also to create market linkages with other GFTN participants. This can bring not only economic growth and stability to these communities, but a more sustainable way of life.

For more information contact
Juan Seve (juan.seve@wwfus.org)