What is Siemenpuu?

The Siemenpuu Foundation provides support to environmental work by civil societies in developing countries. The support is channeled to projects planned and implemented locally by NGOs in the South. The projects supported advocate ecological democracy, good living ('buen vivir') and environmental protection, or aim to tackle environmental threats. In addition to environmental issues, the focus is also on human rights, social justice and cultural diversity.

The Siemenpuu Foundation was founded in 1998 by 15 Finnish NGOs and foundations working with environmental and developmental issues. Between 2002 and 2013, Siemenpuu has funded more than 450 environmental projects in over 50 developing countries. The Foundation receives its funding from the public development cooperation funds administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The Foundation's budget for 2017 is 1.25 million Euros.

Many people think that environmental protection can only be of interest to those who 'can afford' it. Another misconception is that in wealthier countries we have managed to solve the conflict between economic growth and environmental issues. Poverty, then again, is often seen as the underlying reason for a number of environmental problems, as people are compelled to cut down too much timber for firewood or overfish their local waters.

The situation takes on a whole new meaning when considered in terms of ecological footprint and debt. As stated in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) annual report 2011, serious environmental threats actually result from the increase in wealth. Thus, the key problem here are rich countries transferring the majority of the environmental impacts of their lifestyles to the South. Underlying causes for environmental degradation are the modern industrial culture, economy based on continuous growth, increasing social inequality, and the economical technological outlook on nature.  

The Siemenpuu Foundation promotes recognising the root causes of complex environmental and social issues, higlighting causal relations, and acting upon the actual causes. The Foundation aims to long-term cooperation with our Southern partners and to increase interaction based on equality. At the same time, attempts are made to deepen substantial dialogue on environmental issues and NGO cooperation between the South and the North.

During the period 2016–2021, Siemenpuu Foundation's work is guided by the Long-term Action Plan 2016–2021 (LTAP) (pdf, 0.1 Mb), approved by the Foundation's executive board. LTAP describes the context and conditions of Siemenpuu Foundation's work and outlines the Foundation's goals and methods.

During 2016-2017, the support provided by Siemenpuu is channeled primarily through eight regional and thematic cooperation programmes. Individual projects outside the scope of these programmes are supported in special cases. The Siemenpuu Foundation is an expert in the central themes of the projects it supports. The Foundation has an information and communication theme that changes every other year and includes publications and events.

The eight regional and thematic cooperation programmes of Siemenpuu are:

  • Indonesia: protection and sustainable use of forests
  • India: rights of the indigenous Adivasis
  • India: food sovereignty in the Tamil Nadu state (phase out in 2016)
  • India and Nepal: South Asian dialogues on ecological democracy
  • Latin America: alternatives to monoculture plantations
  • Mali: environmental protection and awareness in the Sikasso region
  • Mekong region: sustainable energy policy
  • Global dialogue for good living ('buen vivir')

Events organized by Siemenpuu are listed on the Events webpage and on facebook page, where you can find also news from Siemenpuu's partners in the South. Videos produced by Siemenpuu and partners can be found on our vimeo account.