A dense tropical forest is broken up by a construction site

Three Basins, Three Battlegrounds

Frontline communities defending their rights and rainforests against the onslaught of extractives in Brazil, DRC, and Indonesia

The Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong-South Asia Basins are home to 80% of the world’s tropical forests, two-thirds of its flora and fauna, and some of the most economically and politically marginalized communities on the planet. As demand for commodities – particularly from the Global North – increases, rainforest countries have become focal areas for extractive industries’ expansion in the hunt for oil, gas, and minerals. Approximately 20 percent of tropical intact forest landscapes are designated as extractive concessions, presenting an enormous threat to these crucial ecosystems.

Building on 35 years of cutting-edge and impact-focused investigations, the Environmental Investigation Agency is committed to exposing the extractive sector’s illegalities, supporting communities’ struggles, and proposing ground-truthed regulatory innovations. We explore three cases that underline the current threats that extractive industries pose to these key ecosystems, highlight the ways that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are resisting, and offer recommendations for strengthening forest governance from the ground up. Read the report here.

This report was prepared in advance of the 2023 Summit of the Three Basins. Before the event, EIA joined over 70 other Indigenous, environmental, and human rights organizations in signing a joint statement expressing concern that the initiative was not paying enough attention to the threat of extractive industries and the importance of community rights. This statement is also available in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Bahasa.

Ultimately, many of these advocates feel that the Summit did not take enough bold action in the fight to protect tropical forests and forest-dependent communities. Governments and leaders vowed to strengthen collaboration to preserve the world’s great rainforest basins, but fell short of adopting concrete outcomes, and remained silent on many key issues noted by other signatories to the joint statement.