Defending the environmental defenders in the Global South

Environmental defenders. Photo: Vlad Tchompalov / Unsplah.

Date: June 14, 2022 - June 14, 2022
Date: June 14, 2022
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Online and Nairobi, Kenya. Time zone: East Africa Time (EAT).
Start date: June 14, 2022
End date: June 14, 2022
Target audience: policymakers and practitioners
Institution: International Land Coalition Africa, Natural Justice and SEI.
Event summary: The event aims to share experiences on the current situation in the Global South and explore ways to protect environmental defenders.
This event provides a space to share experiences on the current situation in the Global South and explore ways to protect environmental defenders in the regions.

This event, hosted by SEI, International Land Coalition Africa and Natural Justice, focuses on the increasingly challenging and worrying trend of threats, harassment and murder of environmental defenders in the Global South.

Philip Osano, Centre Director of SEI Africa, Camille Pross at SEI Asia and George Njoroge at SEI Africa will contribute with their expertise.

This event provides a space for sharing experiences on the current situation in the Global South and explore the political, legal, financial and institutional measures that are needed to defend environmental defenders in the regions.

Triple planetary crisis

As the world deals with the triple crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change, environmental defenders have been at the forefront as whistle blowers and activists for environmental justice. In the Global South, however, environmental defenders are now faced with increasing intimidation, threats, and even murder. Urgent action is needed by the global community to remedy this challenge.

According to a report released by Global Witness in September 2021, 227 land and environmental activists were murdered in 2020 for defending their land and the planet. That was the highest number ever recorded for a second consecutive year. As the report says, with the deepening climate crisis, forest fires rampaging across swathes of the planet, drought destroying farmland and floods leaving thousands of people dead, the situation for frontline communities and defenders of the earth is getting worse.

Leadership dialogues at Stockholm+50

The event comes under the umbrella of the leadership dialogues and will contribute to the outcome of Stockholm+50 by yielding clear and concrete recommendations and messages for action at all levels. They aim to mobilize the global community behind strengthened cooperation and accelerated innovative action. Each of the three leadership dialogues will be presided over by two co-chairs – one from a developing country and one from a developed country – that are appointed by the two Presidents of the international meeting.

All relevant stakeholders, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities have been invited to contribute to the discussions to build momentum for a healthy planet for the prosperity of all. Find out about the informal working groups that were established for each of the three dialogues to guide the work leading up to the international meeting.

The event will focus on expanding the leadership dialogues by dealing with the issue of justice, inclusion, and intergenerational equity. It will specifically focus on the following aspects:

  • The sharing of experiences on the situation of environmental defenders in the Global South, especially the youth and women who are most vulnerable as defenders
  • Highlight ongoing measures and protection mechanisms in place and what is needed to address the situation of environmental defenders
  • Identify actions by governments, the international community (including the United Nations agencies), civil society, and the research community in responding to and protecting environmental defenders under international law.