Equity has long been a core component of WRI’s approach. We know that extreme poverty and inequity are exacerbated by climate change, and that marginalized people are often cut out of the processes that determine whether their communities become more sustainable.

"We look forward to centralizing equity in our programs and in our new strategic plan through a sharper equity focus in our theory of change, and identification of equity outcomes for each of our program goals."

—Cosmas Ochieng
Global Director Center for Equitable Development

At WRI, we believe that ensuring equity for people must be at the heart of any effort to decarbonize the economy. To keep our commitment to equity front and center, the institute launched the Center for Equitable Development in July 2021. Led by Nairobi- based Cosmas Ochieng, the Center encompasses WRI’s governance work – previously housed in what was the Governance Center – and expands on it, emphasizing the importance of equity within WRI’s programs as well as in the institute as a whole.

The Equity Center’s projects include the Climate Resilience Practice, the Faith and Sustainability Initiative, the Environmental Democracy Practice, the Land and Resources Rights Initiative and the Gender Equity program.

One example of the Equity Center’s impact is the Escazú Agreement. The agreement is the first treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean designed to protect environmental defenders by making it easier for people to access information, participate in decision-making processes, and hold powerful interests accountable. It went into force in April 2021 thanks in large part to efforts by the Defending Earth’s Defenders initiative, which is part of the Equity Center.