Helping Communities Secure Wins Around the World
Trump’s election has many of us focused on the struggles for justice that lie ahead. But to sustain us through these fights, we must also take time to remember and celebrate the victories we have achieved. I’m thrilled to share two such victories with you now.
For the past 12 years, the Oakland Institute’s research has revealed countless myths about development. We work to shine the light on these myths, reframe the debate, and most importantly, put the tools of truth in the hands of local communities to help them secure important wins.
One such win took place in Cameroon. Three years ago, we exposed the dubious dealings of Herakles Farms, a US-based company that was set to obtain a 99-year lease for 73,000 hectares of land in Cameroon. Its plan? To deforest a pristine tropical rainforest and create a palm oil plantation.
This month, that lease is up for renewal. On the eve of this decision, we released a new report based on cables obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request that exposed that the US government bullied Cameroon into accepting the deal. Communities on the ground are now using our report to ensure that the Herakles Farms deal is cancelled once and for all.
We’ve also secured incredible victories in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In February, we released a report that provided clear evidence that timber companies in the country were evading taxes while engaging in illegal practices.
Our report was a game changer. It received massive media attention and forced several government agencies, including the Minister of Forests, to publically respond to our research. Then in November, the government acted on our findings by substantially increasing in the log export tax. This action will drastically reduce logging and deforestation in PNG, and was a direct result of the public outrage created by our report.
If this wasn’t enough good news, in September PNG’s Supreme Court returned 120,000 hectares of land to their rightful owners in a land grab case that we exposed in 2013!
None of this would be possible if we were funded by big foundations or corporations. As we continue working to reframe the debate around land grabs and secure wins around the world, your support is more important than ever.
Your tax-deductible donations are what allow us to do the work that we do. I hope you will give as generously as you are able to this year. We are counting on you.
Thank you so much,