Siemenpuu Foundation: Biocultural Rights of Forest Communities in Myanmar and Nepal

Deadline: 4 August 2019

Siemenpuu Foundation has announced a call for project concept papers that aim at strengthening biocultural rights of forest-communities in Myanmar and Nepal.

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The aim of the funding scheme on biocultural rights is to strengthen the realisation of biocultural rights and forest management capabilities of indigenous and other forest related communities. ‘Biocultural rights’ recognize community’s identity, culture, governance system, spirituality and way of life as embedded in a specific landscape by local customs to steward its lands, waters and forests. Such rights are increasingly recognized and supported by international law.

As communities have adapted their lives to different but interdependent ecosystems of a country, its cultures of areas like mountain forests, river valleys, etc. complement each other’s capacities to adapt human life to the diversity of environment in ways which have sustained country’s biodiversity.

As communities can live in diverse regenerating local ecosystems by diverse customary tenures, livelihoods and life-heritages, respecting this uniqueness is crucial for the country to save its biodiverse environment.  The support to biocultural rights aims thus:

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  • to promote such ways of life, by which communities’ cultural diversity sustains biodiversity and is sustained by it.
  • to secure communities’ rights and ability to continue such self-reliant ways of life, whose cultural diversity is crucial for their country’s capacity to sustain its biodiversity with its human life.

As local biodiversity has regenerated in such communities’ customary sustainable use, which fulfills also people’s rights, support for this helps also the implementation of target country’s obligations on biodiversity and human rights.

To reach these objectives the project proposals can be related to, for example:

  • Documentation, mapping and advocacy related to land and forest tenures and reforestation;
  • Asserting or claiming traditional, locally determined indigenous and customary rights and tenures, also as part of national or international laws and commitments;
  • Customary sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity which helps to secure, revive and restore the diversity of communities’ self-reliant biocultural life-heritages, rights and livelihoods;
  • Strengthening of traditional knowledge systems (for shelter, food, health and community integrating culture connected to the year cycle);
  • Strengthening of multi-ethnic forest community heritages by biocultural revitalisation.

Funding Information

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  • Siemenpuu is looking for projects with a maximum of 40.000 Euros, starting at the latest in the beginning of 2020 and lasting for maximum two years.
  • Siemenpuu is looking for 4 – 5 projects to be financed from its funding scheme on biocultural rights of forest communities.


  • Applicants should be registered local civil society organisations (CSOs) in Myanmar or Nepal, with experience and capacity for working together with local communities.
  • Additionally, the applications will be considered on the basis of how the proposed projects would succeed:
    • to strengthen women´s rights and position in forest communities
    • to utilise participatory community learning approaches in the proposed project intervention
    • to include networking activities between communities and have multi-ethnic approach
  • Some general requirements for funding support:
    • Communities are involved in both planning and implementation of activities
    • Reliable financial management and project financial auditing according to national laws and Siemenpuu specific project management and financial reporting guidelines
    • Minimum of 10 % of self-financing (either cash, voluntary work and/or donated goods)

How to Apply

Applicants must download the concept paper form and send it by email at the address given on the website.

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