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The Hong Kong branch Friends of the Earth is not a member of Friends of the Earth International.

Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) is an international network of environmental organizations in 77 countries.

Friends of the Earth International are the world's largest grassroots environmental network and they campaign on today's most urgent environmental and social issues. They challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

In contrast to many other NGOs operating internationally, Friends of the Earth International is structured from the bottom up as a confederation of groups. Each country has its own separate organization, which in many cases existed and campaigned in its own right before choosing to affiliate to the global network. The groups conduct their own campaigns and coordinate their activities through the umbrella body Friends of the Earth International. The national groups are often composed of grassroots local groups working in their own areas.

FOEI is assisted by a small secretariat (based in Amsterdammarker) who provide support for the network and its agreed major campaigns. The executive committee of elected representatives from national groups set policy and oversee the work of the secretariat.

Campaign issues

Friends of the Earth considers environmental issues in their social, political and human rights contexts. Their campaigns stretch beyond the traditional arena of the conservation movement and seek to address the economic and development aspects of sustainability. Originally based largely in North America and Europe, its membership is now heavily weighted toward groups in the developing world.

The current campaign priorities of Friends of the Earth internationally are:
  • economic justice and resisting neoliberalism
  • forests and biodiversity
  • food sovereignty
  • climate justice and energy

The campaign priorities are set at the bi-annual general meeting of Friends of the Earth International.

In addition to the priority campaign areas Friends of the Earth International has a number of other campaign areas which are active internationally. They include:

All FoE International campaigns incorporate elements of three core themes which are:
  • protecting human & environmental rights
  • protecting the planet's disappearing biodiversity
  • the repayment of ecological debt owed by rich countries to those they have exploited.

Friends of the Earth groups

The Friends of the Earth organizations in each country are themselves many-tiered networks reaching from grassroots activists up to the national pressure group which campaigns for environmentally progressive and sustainable policies. The groups and activists at all levels also carry out educational and research activities.

Friends of the Earth groups are required to act independently of party political, religious or other influences; be open, democratic and non-discriminatory in their internal structures; and be willing to cooperate with other organizations who are working for the same goals. These are conditions of remaining a member of FOEI.

The national groups work on the main issues affecting their own country and choose to participate in the international campaigns of FOEI which are relevant to them. In turn, the local (grassroots) campaigners can work on local, national and/or international campaigns.

Structure of the network

The member organization in a particular country may name itself Friends of the Earth or an equivalent translated phrase in the national language, e.g., Friends of the Earth , Friends of the Earth (England Wales and Northern Ireland), Amigos de la Tierra (Spain and Argentina). However, roughly half of the member groups work under their own names, sometimes reflecting an independent origin and subsequent accession to the network, such as ERA and WALHI (FOE Indonesia).

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is supported by a secretariat based in Amsterdammarker, and an executive committee known as ExCom. The ExCom is elected by all member groups at a general meeting held every two years, and it is the ExCom which employs the secretariat. At the same general meeting, overall policies and priority activities are agreed.

In addition to work which is coordinated at the FoEI level, national member groups are free to carry out their own campaigns and to work bi- or multi-laterally as they see fit, as long as this does not go against agreed policy at the international level.


Friends of the Earth was founded in 1969 in the United States by David Brower after his split with the Sierra Club based in part on their reluctance to challenge the construction of nuclear power plants. It became an international network in 1971 with a meeting of representatives from the U.S.marker, Swedenmarker, the UKmarker and Francemarker. For further historical details see articles on the national FOE organizations.

Notable supporters

  • Dominique Voynet, who ran in the 1995 and 2007 French presidential elections in the "les verts" parti, or Green Party is a member.
  • Jay Kay, frontman of the funk/acid jazz group Jamiroquai, is known for donating a part of the profits earned from his album sales to Friends of the Earth and Oxfam, among other things.

Support for The Big Ask

Among those present at the launch of Friends of the Earth 's climate change campaign The Big Ask were: Jude Law, Edith Bowman, Sian Lloyd, Ross Burden, David Cameron, David Miliband, Thom Yorke, Stephen Merchant, Michael Eavis, and Emily Eavis.

Member organizations


  1. FOEI Campaigns
  2. FOEI Membership Criteria
  3. FoEI Secretariat
  4. FoEI Structure
  5. FOEI History
  6. Radiohead's Thom Yorke to guest-edit Observer Magazine published March 20, 2008.
  7. Friends of the Earth report of The Big Ask launch

See also

External links

Video clips

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