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Earth is calling: Sow the seeds of anti-corruption

The week in corruption, 23 April 2021

Climate activists in São Paulo, Brazil, in August 2019, holding a sign in Portugese that translates to 'The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth. Chief Seatle.' Photo: PARALAXIS / Shutterstock

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Transparency Int'l

This year’s Earth Day was a historic moment for social justice.

As we’re writing this, the Leaders Summit on Climate – hosted by US President Biden – is in full swing. Yesterday, Biden unveiled a plan to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, signalling his administration’s renewed commitment to environmental issues after four years of climate denialism under Trump.

On Wednesday, the European Union reached an agreement on the European Climate Law, committing the bloc to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030.

All agreements that can help limit global warming to 1.5°C are good news, especially after last year’s devastating wildfires and deadly extreme weather events.

But pledges are not enough. Climate action needs to be free of undue influence and public sector corruption – that’s where we come in.

The EU, for example, is allocating €1 trillion in green funds over the next 10 years. Much of it will be invested through public contracting. Civic monitoring mechanisms like Integrity Pacts can help protect these green investments, as seen in Greece, Hungary and Slovenia.

The mandate of climate justice is not just environmental.

It also calls for the protection of communities most vulnerable to it, often at the frontlines of fighting the climate crisis.

The Escazú Agreement, which came into force yesterday, offers hope. It is the first environmental human rights treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean – the region where environmental activism has been especially deadly. It’s also the world’s first treaty to explicitly include protections for environmental human rights defenders.

This can be a game-changer for environmental defenders in countries like Peru, where local leaders who challenge the destruction of forest habitat and powerful foreign investors often face death threats.

Peru is also where the devastating relationship between corruption and climate injustice is painfully visible. That is why Proética, our chapter in Peru, has been supporting indigenous communities in their fight for their priceless ancestral land.

With our new global strategy, we’re determined to make our contribution in the fight for climate justice everywhere, for the common good.

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