Equitable Earth Coalition is launched to restore wildlife habitat and sequester carbon on indigenous lands worldwide

On September 19, 2023, as government and corporate leaders gather for New York Climate Week, founding members of the Peoples Forests Partnership launched the Equitable Earth Coalition.

In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, local communities and Global South countries, the Coalition is committed to developing a new voluntary carbon market standard and platform to help end deforestation and biodiversity loss by driving restorative finance directly to communities.

Michael Jenkins, CEO of Forest Trends, said “As a longtime champion of trustworthy and accessible carbon markets, we are excited about a process that centers Indigenous Peoples and local communities. We believe this fills a major gap in the carbon ecosystem. Forest Trends is glad to support the Equitable Earth approach, and we look forward to seeing it deliver on its goal of rapidly scaling direct climate finance to communities on the front lines of efforts to safeguard forests.

The goal of the Equitable Earth Coalition is to develop that solution through a new voluntary carbon market (VCM) standard and platform that is:

  • Developed in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, with an aim of delivering transformative finance directly to communities to fund their own development ambitions;
  • Founded on transparency, robust science and rigorous due diligence, a standardised approach to measuring carbon, societal and biodiversity impacts, and best practices for IPLC ownership and inclusion;
  • Holistic by driving investment both to stop deforestation, and to restore and steward forest ecosystems; and
  • Designed to nest into national forest carbon programs that contribute to global climate commitments.

The founding members of the Coalition include Forest Trends, Wildlife Works, and Everland.

Beto Borges, Director of the Forest Trends Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, will be Chair of the Equitable Earth Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities Advisory Group.

The voluntary carbon market can help address forest loss at its root, by providing essential finance to Indigenous Peoples and local communities to make conservation a viable development path. But the market has not been designed to meet the needs of the communities on the ground, who hold the key to reducing emissions from deforestation,” Borges said.

A fit-for-purpose solution is needed now. Forests are being destroyed and we have run out of time,” he added.

Also joining the Equitable Earth Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities Advisory Group will be:

  • Francisca Arara, Extraordinary Secretary for Indigenous Peoples in the State of Acre, Brazil, and President of the Regional Committee for Brazil of the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force;
  • Gustavo Sánchez Valle, President of the Mexican Network of Community Forest Organizations (Red MOCAF);
  • Mary Allegretti, Anthropologist, President of the Institute of Amazonian Studies; and
  • Julio Barbosa de Aquino, President, National Council of Extractivist Populations (CNS)

Francisca Arara said, “From Kyoto onwards, we hope to see a carbon standard for forest and biodiversity conservation that respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensures equitable participation and direct financing, recognizes our land and carbon rights, and free, prior, informed consent (FPIC), and which also adheres to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognizes our traditional knowledge.”

Gustavo Sánchez Valle said, “We welcome the construction of Equitable Earth, we believe that a standard for community carbon projects and other ecosystem benefits is required that is built from the beginning with the participation of representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ organisations, local communities, tribal peoples and Afro-descendants.

Mary Allegretti said “The Equitable Earth initiative is strategic to bring security and reduce pressure on communities, fills a gap and defines necessary rules to value the contribution of communities in controlling deforestation in the Amazon.”

Júlio Barbosa de Aquino said, “This initiative will allow us to get closer to the reality of the traditional peoples and communities of the Amazon.

The Coalition is growing rapidly and currently undertaking stakeholder consultations with IPLC leaders; Global South governments; project developers; carbon market participants; scientific and policy experts; and others, with further announcements planned for later this year.

Photo of roseate spoonbill in Cozumel, Mexico is by Storm Cunningham.

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