Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholders community of the UNFCCC

A worldwide movement has been triggered by George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police on May 28th. We join the call for a legal transformation of the institution of policing and a new social contract. We stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter protestors to decry systemic racism and the underlying violence of modern institutions that perpetuate historic injustice.

ECOS knows that racial justice and climate justice are inextricably linked. Vulnerable communities disproportionately bear the burden of climate change impacts and environmental injustice. Due to the lingering effects of discriminatory practices, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities are greatly impacted and exposed to pollution and other hazards.  For example, African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma as the rest of the US population; “I can’t breathe” is literally a part of daily life. 

As a global community, we must do better to address the root causes of systemic racism and inequality aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. We cannot hope to address the compound emergencies of social and environmental injustice if we do not embrace deep systemic change ensuring human rights for all. That is the spirit of the Paris Agreement, signed by the overwhelming majority of nations, namely:

Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.

Institutional violence deepens conflicts that lead to escalating murder of environmental defenders across the world, largely unseen, unprosecuted and unchecked. This week, as every week, three to four activists will be killed defending the environment and land. Like Paolo Paolino Guajajara from the Amazon and Berta Caceres from Honduras, those murdered are largely Indigenous Peoples and People of Color. The loss of Indigenous leaders and knowledge is not only a personal tragedy for their families and communities, it weakens our human responses to the climate emergency. In ECOS, we know that transparency, access to information, and Indigenous knowledge and practices are essential to climate action.

The Paris Agreement challenges us to examine our hearts to improve our climate action. As we amplify climate solutions and resilience through education, communication, and outreach globally, we place justice at the center of our work. In the enduring memory of all those killed by systemic violence, and in the spirit of the Human Rights platform of the Paris Agreement, we stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

What ECOS will do?

  1. Our ECOS vision is of A world of empowered communities, governments, and actors networked to rapidly implement equitable and urgently-needed climate solutions from grassroots to global action.
  2. As a group affiliated with the UNFCCC, ECOS is working to support a rights-based system that leaves no-one behind.
  3. ECOS will always work to welcome partnerships and networks that share this vision, make special efforts to involve and welcome BIPOC groups to this network, and help amplify their work among its networks. 
  4. ECOS will work in a spirit of respect, openness and trust. We will listen to learn,  to understand, and to empathize with others about their experience of climate and social injustice as we work to build momentum for climate action together, everywhere. 
  5. We will proactively address the links between climate justice and racial justice in each of the six elements of Action for Climate Empowerment: education, training, public participation, public awareness, public access to information, and international collaboration. 
  6. ECOS recognizes that climate change has a great diversity of impacts.,Information and approaches to engagement must be culturally sensitive, and appropriate, in order to be meaningful and useful. 
  7. ECOS recognizes that BIPOC communities are groups of stewards with unique skills and knowledge. We will foster the sharing of diverse knowledge and practices that can address climate change among ECOS members, through our meetings, website and other communications.
  8. ECOS recognizes that climate action is more impactful when it is a shared endeavour, built on a foundation of trust and sustainable relationships. ECOS commits to work in a spirit of shared commitment to climate action, delivered in ways that are locally and culturally appropriate, through its organization and network. 
  9. ECOS will work to communicate the relevant content of the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC to its members, in the spirit of transparency and the right to information, in order to empower people, everywhere, to play a part in climate action. 
  10. We in ECOS recognize that learning is lifelong, and that we have a responsibility to empower ourselves to understand the relationships between climate impacts, climate action and social justice. We commit to keep learning about these relationships ourselves, to support a just transition, and to provide effective leadership and support to others.

ECOS invites anyone interested in the links between climate justice and racial justice to join our network by visiting ClimateECOS.org.

Resources relating to climate justice and racial justice

Listen to How Systemic Racism Exposes Black Americans to Pollution and Extreme Heat from Living on Earth on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/living-on-earth/id73330348?i=1000479470403

Follow climate related news stories on UN News: https://news.un.org/en/news/topic/climate-change

UNDP information on climate change: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development/planet/climate-change.html 

OHCHR The impacts of climate change on the effective enjoyment of human rights: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/HRAndClimateChange/Pages/AboutClimateChangeHR.aspx 

OHCHR Key messages on human rights and climate change: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/ClimateChange/KeyMessages_on_HR_CC.pdf 

OHCHR Applying a human rights-based approach to climate change negotiations, policies and measures: http://hrbaportal.org/wp-content/files/InfoNoteHRBA1.pdf

Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change (interview with Elizabeth Yeampierre): https://e360.yale.edu/features/unequal-impact-the-deep-links-between-inequality-and-climate-change

Islam, S. N and J. Winkel (2017). Climate Change and Social Inequality. UN DESA: https://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2017/wp152_2017.pdf

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: https://www.un.org/en/events/indigenousday/pdf/Backgrounder_ClimateChange_FINAL.pdf

Indigenous Navigator (Data for Indigenous Peoples), Where are Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Sustainable Development Goals: http://nav.indigenousnavigator.com/images/Documents/Tools/Navigator_UNDRIP-SDGs.pdf 

Climate justice and UN (interview with Mary Robinson): https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/