The urgency of tackling climate change is evident and largely undisputed. But we have to speed up our efforts and work with people and organizations everywhere to effectively combat it. Hivos believes that locally-shaped climate solutions can bring about the transformational change necessary to turn the tide. And we believe that climate change is not only an environmental problem. It is also a societal challenge with ethical and human rights aspects.
Influencing local, regional and international climate policies starts with linking and empowering groups that are disproportionally impacted by climate change. Although they often lead change in their climate-stricken communities, they are rarely heard in climate decision-making. These women, Indigenous peoples, youth, urban poor, and small farmers must own, participate in and benefit from climate action. Therefore, we focus on building a strong movement of civil society organizations that represent a wide range of constituencies and are willing to unite behind a common climate agenda. We use an inclusive and rights-based approach and recognize the importance of care and respect for all forms of life.
Our Climate Justice programming has four focal areas:
- Building political power and influence. We need to increase the political power and influence of progressive CSOs and marginalized actors that pressure governments and multilateral institutions to support and finance locally-shaped climate solutions and progressive policies.
- Inspiring and mobilizing citizen action. By working with media and creative actors, and amplifying citizen and civil society voices, we will help underrepresented groups and climate justice CSOs to shape the public debate and promote a regenerative culture. As the impacts of climate change are often worse for women, particularly those working in vulnerable sectors, we put gender at the heart of our climate action.
- Responsibility and accountability of those responsible for the climate crisis and ensuring equitable distribution of the burden, which has a disproportionate impact on certain groups. We will work with CSOs to develop policies, plans and strong and inclusive mechanisms for transparency, accountability, and participation.
- Ensuring a just distribution. We aim to ensure that climate finance timely, adequately and fairly supports those citizens and communities that are most affected by climate change. Simultaneously, we will work for direct financial flows to rebuild regenerative societies.
Hivos has a long track record of fighting climate change and promoting renewable energy solutions that benefit the poor and marginalized:
- Green and Inclusive Energy, a five-year program that built multi-actor initiatives to increase funding for the adoption of renewable energy solutions and inclusive energy policies that bring energy access to poor and marginalized people.
- ENERGIA has trained and supported more than 4,150 women entrepreneurs who have sold renewable energy products that provide almost 3 million people with access to affordable energy. Their advocacy efforts contributed to a UN flagship program on women’s entrepreneurship for sustainable energy.
- All Eyes on the Amazon, in which Hivos, Greenpeace, and 24 international and local partners support Indigenous peoples in the Amazon in fighting deforestation using drone-assisted monitoring, supply chain investigations, advocacy, and public campaigning.
Our new climate program, Amplifying Voices for Just Climate Action, implemented by a consortium which includes Hivos, continues to unite civil society with particularly underrepresented groups – such as Indigenous peoples, women, youth, and the urban poor. But it is also a strong movement for Climate Justice. The program aims to ensure that by 2025, local civil society – and marginalized or vulnerable local groups – will have taken on a central role as creators, facilitators and advocates of innovative climate solutions. It does this by building a strong movement of civil society organizations representing many different constituencies that unite behind a common climate agenda. Together, they can generate broad societal support and funding for locally-shaped climate solutions.
How Climate Justice affects Hivos
Climate Justice demands at the very least that we reduce our carbon footprint. Unfortunately, it took the Covid-19 crisis to show us we can still implement our programs without frequent face-to-face meetings and flying. So Hivos will not return to our 2019 levels of air travel. We have cut our flights by 40 percent in 2021, to be followed by a further reduction later on. The decentralization of Hivos’ programs to our regional hubs and partner organizations, started in 2021, is also helping us achieve this goal.