EII Co-Authors Chapter on Subnational Collaborations for Climate Justice


Research conducted by Earth Innovation Institute and partners on collaborations between subnational governments and Indigenous Peoples was recently published in the 2019 Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice. The chapter, entitled “Negotiating climate justice at the subnational scale: challenges and collaborations between Indigenous Peoples and subnational governments”, highlights how subnational scales are critical—and often overlooked—spaces for negotiating participation and representation, territorial rights, and diverse (and oftentimes competing) visions of forest conservation and development. These issues are at the heart of climate justice.

The chapter is the fruit of collaboration between Earth Innovation Institute, the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force, the Yurok Tribe, and the Association of Indigenous Agroforestry Agents of Acre, Brazil (AMAAIAC). It weaves together the authors’ insights into the opportunities for and challenges of collaboration between subnational governments and Indigenous Peoples, highlighting experiences of the AMAAIAC program, the Yurok Tribe’s participation in California’s Forestry Offset Program, and the emerging global platform for collaboration between subnational entities, Indigenous Peoples and local communities with the GCF.

“Not only does this chapter add new insights into climate justice debates, but the process of collaboration between the co-authors shows how much richer the sum is than the parts when we work together,” says chapter co-author and EII Scientist Maria DiGiano.

The Routledge Handbook on Climate Justice is a comprehensive compendium of multi-disciplinary research on climate justice around the world. For related research and videos from Earth Innovation, see our recent publication “The Twenty-Year-Old Partnership Between Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Acre, Brazil” and the “Power of Partnerships” videos.

Negotiating climate Justice at the subnational scale: Challenges and collaborations between indigenous peoples and governments
Colleen Scanlan Lyons, Maria DiGiano, Jason Gray, Javier Kinney, Magaly Medeiros, Francisca Oliveira de Lima Costa and Francisca Arará

ABSTRACT

The role of indigenous peoples has been a focal point of climate justice debates. Yet while indigenous communities’ role in climate change mitigation via stewardship of critical forested regions is increasingly recognized, broader forest conservation efforts often fail to address these communities’ particular histories, capacities, aspirations and needs. In this chapter, we explore how indigenous peoples and tribal authorities are joining with state and provincial governmental actors that are part of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF)—the world’s largest subnational governmental network covering more than 1/3 of the world’s tropical forests. We focus on three cases and scales to showcase specific efforts to mitigate climate change, address structural and procedural inequalities, and promote climate justice. At the global scale, we examine the GCF as a platform for negotiation and partnership between state and provincial governments and indigenous and local communities. At the regional scale, we analyse a state-level governmental-indigenous partnership in Acre, Brazil and its role in co-producing policies and benefit-sharing mechanisms. At a territorial scale, we explore how a Native American tribe required tribal land acquisition and cultural repatriation as part of their participation in a forestry offset program. Through these cases, written by indigenous leaders and their partners, we assert that subnational actors and actions are critical—and often overlooked—scales and spaces for negotiating key climate justice issues such as participation and representation, territorial rights, and diverse (and oftentimes competing) visions of forest conservation and development. We assert that partnerships between subnational governments and indigenous peoples are valuable strategies for mitigating climate change and indicate a new direction for research into the political ecology of climate mitigation and climate justice.