Press release:

For media inquiries, please contact:
Gargi Sharma,


Mar. 09, 2020 – A new report published by the CLIMA (Climate Leaders in Movement Action) Fund draws on the practical experience of grassroots activists and philanthropists to map the state of the increasing violence against Natural Resource Defenders in Latin America, and philanthropy’s response. With the escalation of resource extraction, authoritarian governments, and land grabbing globally, it is critical that funders respond by providing more flexible, holistic support to Earth Defenders.

The report, Resourcing Earth Defenders: The Philanthropic Response to Heightened Repression in Latin America, found that grants to environmental, land, and Indigenous rights defenders amount to about 5% of all human rights funding globally, while the same population represents over half of all human rights defenders killed in the last few years, with Latin America as the deadliest region to engage in environmental defense.

Philanthropic support in the Latin American region trends towards short-term, project-based funding, or rapid response after a threat has occurred. This report suggests that philanthropy could focus on funding for movements, in order to more effectively support natural resource defenders experiencing increasing repression across Latin America. This would include a combination of rapid response, long-term support, and seed funding for movement organizations.

The report’s author, CLIMA Fund, provides flexible funding to a diversity of movement organizations in 168 countries around the world. “Activists are putting their lives on the line every day for our collective well-being. Because they are demanding change commensurate with the scale of the climate crisis and rising authoritarianism globally, they are facing violent repression from the same forces that benefit from the status quo”, said Lindley Mease, Director of the CLIMA Fund.

At 3%, human rights funding remains a marginal proportion of all private giving, largely slanted towards rapid response funding in the immediate aftermath of a threat or violence. Resourcing Earth Defenders recommends shifting support from a crisis-centered approach to a movement-building one. “Funders have an opportunity to change the way we support these life defenders. It looks like providing flexible and more holistic support to not only defenders, but the struggles that could transform repression in the first place”, said Mease.

Report recommendations include increasing support to marginalized and/or underfunded populations and improving access to legal support and counsel. “Our funding practices should reflect the gendered nature of many of these threats and attacks, and acknowledge that women, LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, and Afro-descendant NRDs face greater and more personal forms of violence,” said Kate Kroeger, Executive Director of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights and member of the CLIMA Fund. “This report highlights these groups and how funders can support those working at the intersections of gender, economic, and climate justice.”

Click here to read the report. To learn how to support natural resource defenders and the movements they are advancing in Latin America and globally, visit the CLIMA Fund website. For more information about this report, contact Gargi Sharma, CLIMA Fund’s Communications Manager at

The CLIMA Fund is a collaboration between Global Greengrants Fund, Grassroots International, Thousand Currents, and Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights. We fund grassroots climate justice movements cooling the planet and building resilience around the globe. Learn more at our website and stay updated with us on Twitter and via our monthly newsletter.

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