Building Coalitions for Climate Justice: A Funders Roundtable

January 3, 2018

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Climate Justice Resilience Fund recently launched a new report entitled Building Coalitions for Climate Justice: A Funders Roundtable. Below is an excerpt, introducing key takeaways from the report.

In September 2017, four organizations convened a Climate Justice Funders Roundtable to explore opportunities to collaborate in support of rights-based, community-driven activities to address climate change. This event encouraged funders to explore intersections and begin to identify ways the philanthropic sector can have a transformative impact for those who face significant climate change
impacts in their daily lives.

Climate justice is a framework for climate action that respects and protects human rights. Climate justice principles help ensure that climate policy development is transparent, participatory, and accountable, respects and protects human rights, and is gender sensitive. Moreover, climate change is a global development issue, and climate justice embodies both parts of a moral argument to act on climate change: being on the side of those who are suffering most, while also ensuring that they do not suffer again as the world takes action on climate change. Selina Neirok Leem from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Austin Ahmasuk from the Kingigin Inupiaq tribe in Alaska, and Agnes Leina from the Samburu community of Kenya each spoke poignantly about the severe impacts of climate change on their communities, and how they are responding as leaders using a climate justice approach. Several points raised in the meeting illustrated how people who are in the most vulnerable situations could be left behind as we transition to low-carbon economies.

Climate-related funding has historically been segmented into mitigation and adaptation. Climate justice represents a frame with the potential to integrate adaptation and mitigation, link them to other sustainable development issues, and bring in a critical element—the human rights element—that is often missing from both. The event considered the role of private donors in this space: how can we best support community leaders and translate climate justice principles into grantmaking practice? Improvements include more concerted efforts to work across sectors, race, cultures, and class, and put the well-being of people and communities at the center of efforts. Participants also learned how the UN and other intergovernmental actors are increasingly understanding the importance of supporting communities to find their own solutions to environmental degradation, and reconciling conservation and growth.

Each funder shared their own programmatic areas that had existing or potential links to the concept of climate justice. These included Human Rights and Clean Energy; work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Water and Food Security; Land and Resource Rights; Gender Issues and Women’s Leadership; Climate Finance; Climate-Forced Displacement; and Voice, Empowerment, and Storytelling. The latter category comprises crucial cross-cutting areas of support that arose several times
during the discussion.

Click here to read the full report.