We are a collaborative network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations in South and Southeast Asia.
We work with forest-based communities to strengthen their capacity in sustainable management of natural resources. For centuries, forest-based communities in the region have harvested a wide range of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) both for subsistence use and as a source of income.
NTFPs are defined as “all biological materials, other than timber, which are extracted from forests for human use.” These include rattan and other materials for craft making, forest fruits, resins, gums, medicinal plants and honey. Working with communities towards an optimal use and management of NTFP resources, not only supports basic livelihoods, but also can provide a strong incentive for involvement in forest conservation.
Recognizing the potential benefits of sharing experiences and pooling expertise, in 1998 we started an informal group of practitioners working in local initiatives in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. As our partnerships strengthened and initiatives intensified, the group decided to register as a non-profit organisation in September 2003.
Our shared goal is to empower forest-based communities to make use of and manage forest resources in a sustainable manner. To this end, the NTFP-EP catalyses and supports activities that build up and strengthen the capacity of our partner organisations in their work with forest-dependent communities, particularly indigenous peoples. Our partner organizations, while respecting the integrity of cultural traditions, work together with communities in developing and implementing initiatives that meet local needs. We strive to ensure that the benefits of these initiatives are equally enjoyed by young and old and by both men and women.