Friend of the earth international vision (FoEI)

The aim of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is of a peaceful and sustainable globe where people live in harmony with nature. In an interdependent society where fairness and human rights are valued, FoEI envisions a community of people who live in self-respect, wholeness, and satisfaction. This is a community built on people's autonomy and participation through democratic processes established on environmental, economic, and social fairness and free from any kind of prominence or exploitation. FoEI jointly assures respect for human rights and peoples' rights, ecological and social justice, and human dignity in order to safeguard sustainable communities. To prevent as well as reverse unlawful ecological actions a leading to the destruction of natural resources, foster the planet's environmental and cultural diversity, as well as safeguard environmental friendly livelihoods. In order to secure the personal strength of native people, women, local communities, groups and to make certain general public involvement in decision making process. To create change in the direction of sustainability as well as equity between as well as within communities having innovative strategies plus remedies. To linking grassroots, national and global struggles, build alliances with varied movements, mobilize people, create awareness and take part in vibrant campaigns. FoEI campaign on modern day most critical ecological as well as social concerns.

Friends of the Earth International is an organization that has grown globally in 74 countries basically involved in environmental issues. It was founded in the year 1969 as an organization against nuclear energy development by Robert O Anderson with a personal contribution of $200,000 with other co founders David Brower, Donald Aitken and Jerry Mander. It was until 1971 that FoE became an international organization with networks in U.S, Sweden, the UK and France. Currently, FoEI has its secretariat in Amsterdam and it gives assistance to its network and all its major campaigns worldwide. The National groups among its global network, elect representatives during its bi-annual general meeting that form the executive committee and are responsible for policy formulation and overseeing the secretariat activities (Friends of the Earth International, n.d.).

FoEI coordinates all its campaign activities and national groups which mostly work under their own names, who are members are at liberty to run their own campaigns as long as they don’t conflict with the policies set and agreed upon at the international level (Friends of the Earth International, n.d.). The national groups are made up of pressure groups and sometimes individual activists that conduct educational and research activities in progressive and sustainable environmental policies. The national groups are required to be independent of political parties, religious affiliations hence open, democratic and non-discriminatory within their internal structures. Cooperation is encouraged with organizations working for similar goals. The national groups work on the main issues affecting their own country and are at liberty to participate in the international campaigns relevant to them.

Friends of the Earth International, (n.d.) considers environmental issues within political, social and human rights context. Their campaigns extends the conservative movement horizons and seeks to tackle sustainable economic and developmental aspects. Its membership has grown significantly from the traditional developed west countries and emphasis is being geared towards groups in developing countries. FoEI current set campaign priorities include the following:-

Climate Justice

Economic Justice

Forests and Biodiversity

Food Sovereignty



Other existing priorities include:-

Nuclear Power

Mining and extractive industries





Consumption and Intensive meat production

FoEI international campaigns are based upon three major integral classifications which include:-

Environmental and Human Rights Protection

Protecting Biodiversity under threat of extinction

Ecological Debt repayment owed to those exploited by rich countries

Friends of the Earth International, (n.d.) has had several milestone successes since their inception which include their campaigns which have yielded the following:

Subsidies which were amounting to billions eliminated from corporation that benefitted and were polluting environment

Spearheading reforms in the World bank to tackle Human and environment rights

Lead in the global warming debate in an attempt to force the U.S to come up with the best legislation;

Made sure that over 150 destructive projects globally did not materialize.

New major Oil tankers and strip mine regulations were brought into effect as a result of our campaigns

Whaling internationally was banned.

Human and Environmental Rights

Human rights abuses are being advanced against environmental and society campaigners globally. The length and severity of these scenarios have recently become noticed through such groups like UN Special Rapporteur and Global Witness. Friends of the Earth has been on the fore front of advocating justice for those affected and is also working to raise awareness. The question we need to answer is why is this happening? The increased demand and competition for scarce natural resources has brought about increased cases of exploitation of resources, land grabbing and attempts by powerful individuals to corruptly acquire private community managed properties. The human and environmental rights defenders who respond to these issues have ended up facing detentions which are unlawful, murdered, threatened and harassed among others. These individuals or organizations that perpetrate these abuses in many cases usually do these on behalf of their governments or major multinational corporations (Young, 2000). The scale of this issues is largely problematic since monitoring globally is not easy. There are cases where some regional, municipal or national governments have resulted in amending the existing laws so that such heinous activities can go unabated. All these are some of the challenges non-profit organizations are experiencing.

Mining Activities

There are communities globally affected by unwarranted mass deforestation and the environment due to mining especially coal mining. FoEI has been on the fore front campaigning to allow communities to have a say in these activities. It is also calling for a just and smooth change from fossil fuels and large dams construction and encouraging alternative suitable economically viable and democratic practices in which communities have control in. There has been successes in countries such as Australia where dirty energy was fought by the local communities and activists resulting in the ban of Fracking (Young, 2000). Fracking is the process of injecting pressurized liquid pressure so as to force open existing fissures to extract natural gas and oil. This process has direct and immediate negative effects to drinking water, air climate and food hence posing health hazards to communities and animals and environmental degradation. Currently, there are such calls by FoEI to pressurize UK government to stop this process. There have been workshops by various FoEI groups to sensitize communities affected by impending extraction of natural gases and other minerals. Despite such successes, this is not as easy as it seems since there has been negative smear campaigns against these advances especially in UK and other legal issues raised against our groups worldwide.

Food Sovereignty and Biodiversity

According to Young (2000), in many years most of the indigenous communities have not had it easy for their rights and protection of their territories, lives and culture to be recognized something that the UN adopted through its General Assembly. Although campaigns towards real recognition by the indigenous people rights and challenges has increased, it is still wanting especially in collective land rights, resources and territories. Most of these communities are still the most vulnerable, marginalized and disenfranchised especially in the Asia Pacific. The reduced democratic space in most of these regions has resulted in violations of their rights and endurance of a number of crises in food sovereignty, development aggressions and environmental protection.

Friends of the Earth International has embarked in the fight for food sovereignty by building a movement and encourage system changes hence production of healthy food for these indigenous communities by the peasant farmers. The growth and strength of such movements will mean that all activities in the grass roots are paid attention to. This is through building alliances with similar goals related groups to fight for the survival of the earth with and discipline and commitment.


Fact is, half of the world’s forests have disappeared through increased large scale farming and a good reason is increased exports of meat and crops, such as soy and palm oil, have led to a privatization of these forests for conversion for farming, triggering further deforestation.  Yet forests provide livelihoods for many communities. Forests also help in the regulation of our climates, and are home to some of the most diverse species and habitats(Young, 2000).

FoEI is working towards forests conservation with the support of indigenous communities through strengthening their rights and encouraging management of forests. Campaigns are geared against large scale industrial plantations, destructive timber logging, monoculture farming etc. The issue of deforestation through conversion of forests into timber and palm oil plantations which results in the depletion of natural forest resources and displacement of people is very rampant. FoEI groups and their alliances are in the forefront to end government’s institutionalized discrimination and marginalization, and corporate impunity to effect real system changes by ensuring indigenous communities collective challenges are supported. The end results will be protected ecosystems, cultures, sustainable systems and practices and eventually real democratic people oriented solutions to food sovereignty the world is facing. We urgently need to protect the forests in our fight for a sustainable future for everybody.

Climate Justice and Energy

Billions of people worldwide are facing the threat of climate change and the global energy as a result of unsustainable economies and development based on fossil fuels and other destructive energy sources such as dams construction (Young, 2000). Friends of the Earth International is a growing global movement, diverse and effective global that is spearheading the push for alternative energy sources and push for a climate justice. Tackling climate crisis therefore needs for a shift of fossil energy based economies towards alternative energies based economies through democratic and community controlled practices. There is also an urgent need for reduction of green house gas emissions all over the world. Devastating effects are already being felt.All over the world, the fight against Dirty Energy also is growing, and calls for an energy paradigm shift is getting louder day by day.

How effective has the collaboration been between State between governments and the FoEI? This has been achievable via provision of human and financial resources, material and equipment, enhanced communication and exchange information, as well as experiences in developing joint projects and policies. It has also been made easier through interventions of the government agencies in giving protection to activists as well as strengthening human and environmental rights laws. Enacting policies that encourage and support alternative energy sources such as solar, laws that inhibit environmental degradation and protection of biodiversity.

The government is also encouraged to fast track cases against illegal environmental activities, human rights violations by individuals and corporate that are ongoing etc as well as create an enabling environment for these nonprofit organizations to work within. This because NGOs such as FoEI play crucial part in the governments shortcomings by filling that void hence social development is realize (Young, 2000)..

According to Bull, Jobstvogt, Böhnke-Henrichs, Mascarenhas, Sitas, Baulcomb, & Carter-Silk, (2016), if these relationship between government and non-profit organization is strengthened the results would be leading to:-

Increased focus and society awareness of its needs.

There will be an aggressive mobilization to utilization of resources to solve social problems.

Programmes and services will greatly benefit targeted communities closely

Projects within these communities will benefit them through their involvement hence job creations

Joint implementation of projects

There will be agreement frameworks between the parties

Policies will be enacted to influence growth and development.


Bull, J. W., Jobstvogt, N., Böhnke-Henrichs, A., Mascarenhas, A., Sitas, N., Baulcomb, C., ... & Carter-Silk, E. (2016). Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats: A SWOT analysis of the ecosystem services framework. Ecosystem services, 17, 99-111.

Friends of the Earth International. Home - Friends of the Earth International. Retrieved 4 December 2017, from

Young, D. R. (2000). Alternative models of government-nonprofit sector relations: Theoretical and international perspectives. Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly, 29(1), 149-172.

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