Siemenpuu's development cooperation programme 2018-2021

The programme in 2018-2021 is a continuation of the activities that Siemenpuu has carried out since 2002 as a funder of environmental and democracy initiatives of civil society organisations in the global South and as a communicator of development issues in Finland. This new phase makes powerful use of the unique expertise of the Foundation in identifying and funding exceptional civil society groups in the global South that at the same time improve living conditions of marginalised communities and take care of the natural environment.

Main funding for the activities in 2018-2021 comes from the programme-based support for CSOs, received from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA).

Siemenpuu’s activities contribute to the realization of Finland’s development policy goals. The projects supported by Siemenpuu in developing countries alleviate poverty and inequality, and decrease biodiversity loss and climate emissions. The projects are initiated, planned and implemented by local civil society organizations (CSOs) in the South.

During this programme period, Siemenpuu will call for proposals through five funding schemes:

  • A Just Transition to Ecological Democracy
  • Forests and Coastal Ecosystems
  • Biocultural Rights of Indigenous Forest Communities
  • Rural Women and Food Sovereignty
  • Climate and Energy Justice

The support for the strengthening of civil societies is a cross-cutting goal of the programme. Human rights based approach, improving women’s rights and position, as well as mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are also included in all five funding schemes.

During 2018-2021, projects will be funded in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America. The main focus countries are Brazil, Indonesia, India, Mali, Myanmar and Nepal, as in all these countries Siemenpuu has long-term experience, expertise and strong cooperation networks to other actors working with similar advocacy and donor activities nationally and internationally. After 2019, Siemenpuu will support activities in India without MFA's funding.

During 2018-2021, Siemenpuu will fund approximately 25-40 new projects, and 30 projects that have started before 2018. The goal is, among others, to strengthen the environmental rights of more than 50 000 beneficiaries and to contribute to processes leading to the inclusion of at least an additional 110 000 hectares of land under conservation and sustainable use.

Siemenpuu’s communications work in Finland supports reaching the programme goals. The communications activities will contribute in Finland to an understanding of the value and importance of development cooperation and policy. Siemenpuu plans to reach at least 30 000 people through its communications work annually.

Download and read here Siemenpuu's Development Cooperation Programme 2018-2021 document (pdf, 750 kB)

Indigenous people and traditional forest communities are important guardians of world’s biodiversity and cultures that maintain it. ‘Biocultural rights’ denotes a community’s long established right, in accordance with its customary laws, to steward its lands, waters and resources. Such rights are being increasingly recognized in international environmental law, including UN’s agreements and declarations. Siemenpuu’s aim is to strengthen the realisation of biocultural rights and sustainable forest management capabilities of the indigenous and other forest communities. Aim is also to promote the communities’ participation in decision-making processes and sharing of models for sustainable living nationally and internationally.

Climate change has been identified by many as the biggest environmental problem of our times. On the other hand, energy policies often favour large-scale infrastructural developments that are routinely accompanied by human rights abuses and ecological degradation. Thus, seeing climate change mitigation and adaptation in broad ecological and human rights-orientated context is necessary. Siemenpuu’s aim is to promote local, decentralized and ecologically sustainable means of energy production in both technical and political level. These energy solutions include advocacy on policy level, alternative sustainable energy plans by CSOs, and community-based and owned electricity production which benefits especially women.

Conserving the remaining tropical forests and coastal ecosystems is of utmost importance due to the remarkable carbon stocks and unique biodiversity that they hold, livelihood opportunities and cultural basis that they provide, as well as for the intrinsic value of nature itself. Siemenpuu’s aim is to promote the conservation of forest and coastal ecosystems in ways that are socially sustainable and respect the rights of indigenous and other forest-dependent communities. Apart from tropical rainforests, the importance of peat swamp forests, mangroves, as well as seagrass and coral reef ecosystems are highlighted in the light of global carbon cycles.

Just transition refers to the desire of making the ecologically necessary changes, such as phasing out of fossil fuel use, in a manner that promotes at the same time employment and social protection. Ecological democracy describes in brief the key elements of the desirable society; a short hand for ecologically sustainable, politically democratic and socially egalitarian community and a world system. Siemenpuu aims to support and promote civil society spaces to discuss, develop and present societal ideas and systemic alternatives locally and globally.

Land grabbing by large-scale investors has displaced millions of small-scale farmers from their land – at the same time small-scale farmers face a rapidly changing climate. Women are fighting for their identity as peasants, for ownership of the land they cultivate, and against gender based violence. Agroecological production practices conserve agricultural biodiversity, mitigate climate change and help adapting to it. Siemenpuu aims to support these sustainable rural livelihoods and food sovereignty through small-scale farmers organisations and other supporting them. Support is geared even more towards the promotion of gender equality as a crucial element for sustainable livelihoods.