The International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests is a worldwide network of organisations representing indigenous and tribal peoples living in tropical forest regions (Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas). The Alliance was founded in 1992 during an indigenous conference in Malaysia, where the Charter of the Alliance was adopted, and has been fighting continuously for the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples ever since.
The Alliance has a flexible structure of nine autonomous regions coordinated and supported by a Technical Secretariat. The membership of the Alliance, made up of indigenous and tribal peoples organisations in regional networks, is the highest policy-making body in the network. Policy is formulated through the Alliance’s International Conferences, which have been held every two to three years since the establishment of the Alliance in 1992. The most recent was in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2002.
Between these assemblies, the Alliance is coordinated by an International Coordinating Committee (ICC), which meets at least twice a year to monitor the work of the Alliance. The Committee is constituted of 9 Regional Coordinators. Supported by a regional secretariat and the International Technical Secretariat, each Regional Coordinator represents one of the nine regions falling within the Alliance’s remit. These regions are:
Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico
Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brasil, French Guyana, Bolivia, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela and Colombia
Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Burundi, Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon etc.
Nigeria, Togo, Benin Republic, Niger, Gambia, Senegal, Liberia and Sierra Leone
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Southern Sudan
Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan
Thailand, Burma, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam
Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines
Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia
Regional Coordinating Committees (RCC), constituted by national coordinators in the region, coordinate the work in each of these regions under the leadership of the Regional Coordinators (RC).
The International Technical Secretariat
The Alliance has an International Technical Secretariat, based in Panamai, which gathers and distributes information, organizes the paperwork, facilitates contact between indigenous and other organizations, participates in and reports on relevant meetings, analyses important international processes, and maintains the logistical activities of the Alliance. The Secretariat is staffed by the Executive Secretary of the Alliance, an Office Manager and an Information Officer. The Secretariat produces a quarterly bulletin, which charts recent developments, and provides background information about ongoing processes.