How can the global community do a better job of standing with environmental defenders and protect them against threats? On January 19th, 2023, USAID hosted an online panel to discuss the threats facing environmental defenders as they fight against negative climate impacts and biodiversity loss, as well as potential solutions to help mitigate these multiple challenges. A recording of the event is available here.
Environmental defenders—people who take “peaceful action against the unjust, discriminatory, corrupt, or damaging exploitation of natural resources or the environment”—are increasingly under threat. Between 2002 and 2022, Global Witness counted more than 2,100 killings of land and environmental defenders, and the actual number of murders is likely much higher. Attacks disproportionately target women, Indigenous Peoples, and marginalized communities, and are especially prevalent in Latin American countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and Brazil, though there are also many examples from Asia and Africa.
How can the global community do a better job of standing with environmental defenders and protect them against threats? Participants discussed the threats facing environmental defenders as they fight against negative climate impacts and biodiversity loss, as well as potential solutions to help mitigate these multiple challenges.
This event kicked-off the year-long “Frontiers” event series, which explores the interface of conflict, climate change, and governance of land and natural resources. The “Frontiers” series is hosted by USAID’s Center for Conflict and Violence Prevention and USAID’s Land and Resource Governance Division and is made possible by USAID’s Integrated Natural Resources Management Project in partnership with New America.
- Bama Athreya, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation, USAID
- Jeff Stark, Integrated Natural Resource Management activity & author, USAID “Environmental Defenders” Issue Brief
- Laura Pavlovic, Acting Director, DDI/Democracy, Rights, and Governance Center, USAID
- Kirk Herbertson, Senior Policy Advisor, EarthRights International
- Martin Castro, Project Coordinator, Office of Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, USAID/Peru
- Yuliya Panfil, Director, Future of Land and Housing Program at New America (Moderator)