There is virtually no aspect of human rights or development that will not be affected by the climate crisis, and there will be no effective response without the full engagement of citizens, communities, and civil society globally. However, the rise of a global climate movement has been accompanied by a crackdown on civic space for climate activists worldwide. As climate strikes, protests, and mass mobilization become more widespread, many governments have teamed up with private actors or turned to legislation that limits civic freedoms to quell climate activism.
Climate Change & Civic Space
Climate change will dramatically shift how we live our lives. A vibrant civic space is essential to ensure everyone can fully participate in shaping this future.
In this thematic report, the UNSR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Voule, discusses key threats and challenges facing climate activists and civic space in the context of climate justice globally.
This briefer, presented by ICNL and ECNL, outlines some of the common legal and extralegal measures used to target civil society actors working on climate justice. Many of these measures violate international and regional law and threaten civil society’s ability to address urgent environmental challenges.
Climate change and the response to the crisis is set to transform the global economy, politics, and society by 2040. This briefing explores how states’ responses to the climate crisis over the next two decades will affect civic space for a range of established and new actors.
This issue of ICNL’s Global Trends examines common techniques used by governments and corporations to undermine the ability of environmental groups and activists to exercise freely their rights to assemble, associate, and express themselves.
This CIVICUS report examines the power of the growing climate movement, as well as restrictions that are holding it back. It also details how UN member states have collectively failed to respond, and makes recommendations on how to meaningfully recognize the youth climate movement.
Global Witness’s annual report on the killings of land and environmental defenders documents the many ways defenders are being criminalized, with countless people threatened, arrested, or thrown in jail for daring to oppose the governments or companies seeking to profit from their land.
The battle over environmental activism has moved indoors to legislatures and courtrooms. This ICNL analysis looks at new types of “lawfare” to weaponize the law to undermine environmental organizations and their message.
This ECNL paper focuses on government restrictions that restrain activists and groups from meaningfully participating in decision-making processes on climate and environmental issues.
The “NGO Climate Compact: Commitments toward Environmental Action and Sustainability” represents a pledge by the InterAction community, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs, to urgently work to address climate change. It recognizes that the environment is central to achieving organizations’ missions to serve the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Climate defenders in Africa face common challenges in exercising their assembly and association rights. On May 13, 2021, civil society organizations that work on climate justice from across sub-Saharan Africa, met with UNSR Voule to share first-hand information about the threats and challenges to freedom of peaceful assembly and association facing climate defenders.
This article, written by ECNL, highlights that restrictions on civil society undermine climate mitigation efforts and impede the collaboration that is so crucial to slowing the climate crisis over the next decade. It lays out pledges for delegates of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to ensure freedom of assembly and climate defenders are protected and included in the climate conversation.