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World Economic Forum: Renewables projects must respect Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Here's how

The case for responsible renewables development isn’t just an altruistic one. Businesses, development finance institutions and governments all face real risks when they don’t prioritise community interests and human rights.

Governments, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and intergovernmental organisations should:

  • recognise and respect human rights and tenure rights
  • facilitate meaningful engagement with affected peoples and communities
  • advance local-level development through co-equity models and benefit-sharing
  • institute systems to remediate harms, and
  • protect the safety of environmental, land and human rights defenders.

Tools such as investment assessment processes, investor-state contract negotiations, national climate policies and marshalling funds to build community agency are important avenues through which human rights can be protected.

Empowerment of local communities and Indigenous Peoples in advancing their self-determined development goals is an important part of building community agency.

In addition to extending independent financial and technical resources to support this development, home governments can also advance just and inclusive co-equity models and prioritise the deployment of small-scale community-led projects by supporting initiatives like the Right Energy Partnership and the First Nations Clean Energy Network in Australia.

With rights-respecting policy approaches, governments, DFIs and international organisations can advance a global energy transition that is not only fast, but also fair.

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