On Monday, world leaders will convene at the UN Climate Action Summit to discuss their plans for preventing 1.5 degrees of global warming by 2030 – the ‘tipping point’ precipitating extreme drought, wildfires, and floods. To avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change, it is essential that these action plans include funding and protection for grassroots justice defenders.
Bringing policy to life
In the past, many of the policies aimed at protecting our lands, forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans – as well as the people who depend on them – have been well-intentioned. Crucially, however, they have been challenging to understand, difficult to use, and sometimes missed the mark entirely.
Grassroots justice defenders help communities at the frontlines of environmental crises to understand, use, and shape the law to safeguard their resources and rights.
This process, known as ‘legal empowerment’, is enabling communities from Indonesia to Brazil to protect the land and resources on which they depend, monitor industrial environmental compliance, and push for better state regulations. In doing so, they are disrupting some of the activities most responsible for global carbon emissions.
How grassroots justice defenders help combat climate change
Securing Communal Land Rights – Indigenous peoples and local communities are estimated to hold as much as 65% of the world’s land through customary, community-based tenure systems. However, only 10% of this land is formally recognized, putting the majority at risk of commercial exploitation.
Formalizing communal land rights is one of the most cost-effective climate strategies available. Forests owned by indigenous and local groups, for example, have significantly lower rates of deforestation, generating billions in the form of carbon sequestration and reduced pollution.
Grassroots justice defenders, such as those who partner with Namati, help rural communities understand, document, and claim their land rights, enabling them to refuse or negotiate terms of investment with large corporations, and hold investors accountable if those terms are violated.
Keeping Big Polluters Accountable – In many countries, there are decent environmental regulations in place, but poor enforcement. Industrial projects often violate laws with impunity, polluting water, land, and air and putting the health of the people who live and work in these areas at risk.
From the Philippines to Zimbabwe, grassroots justice defenders are working with affected communities to challenge industrial facilities’ environmental non-compliance. They are holding the government accountable for enforcing permits and regulations, and advocating for systemic improvements to policies and procedures.
Supporting Grassroots Justice Defenders
Legal empowerment is an effective process for advancing climate justice, but its champions need support.
In 2018, more than three land and environmental defenders were killed every week for trying to protect their land and environment from agribusiness and extractive industries.
Meanwhile, domestic budgets and overseas development assistance continue to overlook the critical role they play. Donor aid for the justice sector in general declined 40% over the past four years, and the funding that does exist is typically directed toward top-down measures rather than grassroots interventions.
To protect the planet, world leaders must protect grassroots justice defenders.
The ‘Justice For All’ campaign has issued recommendations on how to accomplish this, including:
1. Establish a global fund. Access to justice accounts for just 1.8% of total international aid on average, in comparison to 13% and 8% for health and education, respectively. To encourage global giving, a multilateral financing mechanism could be established, such as a global fund for legal empowerment.
2. Mandate that companies contribute to the cost of independent legal aid for communities affected by their investments. With independent legal aid, communities can negotiate equitable terms of investment and seek enforcement when environmental law is broken. This helps ensure companies will follow responsible land and environmental practices, preventing legal and public relations issues down the road.
3. Ensure development banks enforce their own standards. Multilateral development banks have explicit social missions to improve livelihoods. Where they finance environmentally harmful projects, they undermine their efforts and perpetuate the same issues they seek to remedy. Development banks should make their own social standards a binding commitment to communities affected by their projects.
4. Protect grassroots justice defenders from intimidation and violence. Governments must fulfill their commitment to protecting civil society and help end attacks and litigious harassment of grassroots justice defenders. Greater international consensus should be built through multilateral agreements, such as the Escazú Agreement.
Grassroots justice defenders are doing their part to save the planet. Now it’s up to world leaders to do theirs.
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Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
You may decline to provide any personal information, but please realize that you thereby may be unable to register or to participate in activities or services offered on the Site and/or Forum.
In addition to the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum, we also may collect and store data from and about you gathered in the course of your use of the Site and Forum. We call this “tracking data.”
Such tracking data may include, but is not limited to, information regarding the number and frequency of visits to the Site and Forum, the websites that you access before and after you visit the Site and Forum, the software and operating system used to access the Site and Forum, and your IP address and Internet service provider.
Our use of your Information involves various forms of communication with you, including:
We will not disclose any personal information to third parties, except:
Information provided to third parties is limited to the information needed to perform their functions. We seek to limit third-party use of information; however, we are not responsible for such third-party use of information.
We retain the right to transfer or assign all information pursuant to a merger, purchase or other transaction relating to Namati or our assets.
The current list of third-party service providers we use include:
Reduces spam posts on the Forum.
Privacy notice: https://automattic.com/privacy/
Amazon Web Services
Stores backups for the Site and the Forum.
Privacy notice: https://aws.amazon.com/privacy/
Hosts and stores backups for the Forum.
Privacy notice: https://www.digitalocean.com/legal/privacy/
Compiles visitor statistics on the Site and Forum. You can opt out of Google Analytics using a browser extension.
Privacy notice: https://www.google.com/analytics/terms/
Online service for organizing and hosting webinars.
Privacy notice: https://www.logmeininc.com/legal/privacy
Provides mailing list and mail server services for sending newsletters, Forum notifications, and weekly email summaries.
Privacy notice: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy/
Online service providing contact management system.
Privacy notice: https://www.salesforce.com/company/privacy/
Provides cloud servers for hosting the Site.
Privacy notice: https://wpengine.com/legal/privacy/
Online service to automate adding member data to Salesforce.
Privacy notice: https://zapier.com/privacy/
Personal information you submit via your member account, other than information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site as described below, is deleted from Namati’s records following the deletion of your account. However, such information may continue to be retained by third-party service providers to which it has been disclosed for one of the reasons listed above.
Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA.
We take reasonable precautions to protect your information from loss, misuse or alteration. You should recognize, however, that there is no such thing as “perfect security” on the Internet, and we cannot guarantee the security of your information. In addition, because Internet communications are unsecure, it is also possible that the information you supply to us or your access of any information via the Site will be intercepted during transmission. We are not liable for any breach of our systems or interception of our transmission, and we hereby fully disclaim, to the fullest extent possible under law, any liability associated with any claim relating to a breach of security, data or information.
You should be aware that any information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site, including but not limited to interactions on the Site and information posted to the Member Directory (via your profile), the Tools Database and the Forum, may be read, collected or used by other visitors of the Site, who may not need to log in as a member to view the information. Namati is not responsible for the third-party use of any information provided in such manner. By participating in the use of the Site’s interactive features, you consent to Namati’s use or disclosure of any content that you submit. For more information on posting content, please see our Terms.
The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
The Forum may also use data about your posts and activity to award you badges and calculate a trust level for your account. Your trust level may affect how you can participate in the Forum, such as whether you can upload images, as well as give you access to moderation and management powers in the Forum. Your trust level, therefore, reflects Forum administrators’ confidence in you, and their willingness to delegate community management functions, like moderation.
From time to time, we may email users of the Site or the Forum information regarding important developments affecting Namati and/or the Global Grassroots Justice Network. We may also email users on occasion regarding the Site or the Forum. Such emails may be sent to users of the Site or Forum even if they have not requested to receive any communication from us.
You may choose to unsubscribe from future emails by using the unsubscribe link included in all mass email correspondence from Namati and the Grassroots Justice Network.
If a user elects to use our referral service to inform a friend about the Site and Forum, we request the name and email address of the friend. Namati will automatically send the friend a one-time email inviting the friend to visit the Site. Namati stores this information for the sole purpose of sending this one-time email, and, while a third-party mail service provider may retain the information in its database, no additional emails will be sent by Namati without further action by the friend.
Because Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 13, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 13 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
We reserve the right to disclose any information to comply with any law, regulation, decree, judgment, order, subpoena or any other governmental order (“Order”) without any obligation to contest or verify the accuracy of such Order.
This Policy will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without regard to any principles of conflicts of law. You agree that any action at law or in equity that arises out of or relates to any use of the Site will be filed only in the state or federal courts located in New York County, and you hereby consent and submit to the personal jurisdiction of such courts for the purposes of litigating any such action.
The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page.
You can access, remove, update or correct your information in your Site profile and your Forum profile.
You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.