Towards climate justice
If we are to truly tackle the climate challenge, we must reframe the issue as one of climate justice. This begs us to acknowledge our interconnectedness with people and places that may seem far away and obliges us to focus on equity and regeneration in place of injustice and depletion. It reinforces our common but differentiated responsibilities in fighting climate change as individuals, communities and nations. At its best, thinking in terms of climate justice engages us in coming up with real, locally-led solutions that actively contribute to a good life for all the world’s peoples. Since its founding in 1990, Climate Alliance and its member municipalities have stood for climate justice and for holistic, local solutions to this very global challenge.
The logic of local
The indigenous rainforest territories of the Amazon Basin, making up a land area almost eight times the size of Italy, contain more carbon than all the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia combined. Many top-down efforts to protect such areas for their value as carbon sinks, however, miss the big picture and alienate indigenous peoples in the process. Countless indigenous communities as well as the rainforests upon which we all depend are under direct threat by infrastructure projects, large-scale agriculture and extractive industries. Indigenous peoples, who have been practicing sustainable forestry for millennia, are key to keeping these vital forest ecosystems intact. We know that climate action must happen locally – just as municipalities are often best at putting climate action into practice because of their direct connection to realities on the ground, so are the indigenous the perfect players when it comes to climate action in their rainforest territories.
A tradition of cooperation
In line this holistic approach, Climate Alliance has forged a close partnership with the umbrella organisation for the indigenous of Amazonia, known as COICA, right from the start. COICA has a fixed position on the Climate Alliance Executive Board and represents the interests of the indigenous rainforest peoples throughout our activities. Climate Alliance members, for their part, have committed themselves to:
- Abstaining from the use of tropical timber as well as timber resulting from destructive logging in their public procurement practices
- Implementing measures that sustain rainforest biological diversity while guaranteeing the rights of those whose livelihoods depend on these forests
- Supporting the rights of indigenous peoples, as the best possible stewards of the rainforests, in national and international strategies and agreements
- Facilitating dialogue between indigenous peoples, governments, the private sector and international institutions concerning an ecologically and socially sustainable use of tropical forests
In following these commitments, Climate Alliance members actively back projects initiated by indigenous peoples, have formed meaningful partnerships with indigenous communities and advocate approaches such as the Indigenous REDD or RIA, which see indigenous peoples directly take charge of climate action in their forest territories.