Our Challenge

Communities around the world are grappling with environmental injustices. Indigenous Peoples are losing forests that have sustained their way of life for generations. City residents don’t know if their water is safe to drink. And farmers are struggling to protect their crops from an onslaught of climate impacts — droughts, floods, fires and rising seas — that they had little hand in creating.

These communities are disproportionately affected by environmental issues, yet they’re frequently left out of the decisions that impact their lives and the natural resources on which they depend. While some governments are trying to tackle these challenges, many lack the knowledge, capacity or funds to advance just solutions.


of the world's land is held by Indigenous Peoples and other local communities


people die from air pollution-caused diseases every year 


countries include the right to a healthy environment in their constitutions


Pollution costs the world’s economies more than $4.9 trillion annually

Our Approach

WRI’s Center for Equitable Development works with governments, the private sector, civil society and citizens to address issues that matter most to vulnerable communities. We focus on social and financial equity, poverty, adaptation to climate change, environmental rights, pollution and responsive government.

We start with analyses of voice, power and vulnerability in environmental decision-making. Who suffers and who benefits when governments act? Who has a seat at the table, and who is left out? What do citizens need to shape policy?

We identify critical steps global leaders must take to ensure inclusivity, transparency and accountability. We build citizens’ capacity to engage in the environmental decisions that impact their lives and ensure more just, sustainable outcomes. And we mobilize civil society networks that drive bottom-up change and secure better futures for communities around the world.

Photo Credit: Paolo Nicolello/Unsplash

Access to a clean, healthy, safe environment is a human right. Safeguarding these substantive rights for all communities benefits the planet and moves us toward a more just future. Ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the voice, power and information to steer environmental decision-making — known as procedural rights — is also critical to advancing sustainable, equitable development.

Learn more

Center focuses on a number of specific initiatives, including projects on Air Quality, Energy Access, Climate Governance, Environmental Rights, Gender, and Climate Resilience Practice. Explore all projects in depth.

  • Indigenous peoples surveying a forested landscape


    LandMark is a global data platform of Indigenous and community lands to help communities protect their land rights and secure tenure.

  • women in field

    Climate Resilient and Transformative Adaptation for Agriculture

    WRI aims to help small-scale agricultural producers in low- and middle-income countries build resilience to climate change through research, analysis, advocacy and stakeholder engagement.

  • SDSN German Round Table

    Adaptation Finance and Investment

    WRI aims to make climate risks more visible and actionable for governments, the financial sector and private industry to catalyze adaptation investments.

    Part of Equity
  • kutch sunset.jpg

    Energy Access Explorer

    A mapping platform that provides data and tools to advance affordable, reliable and modern energy for all people.

    Part of Energy

Media Contacts

  • Rocío Campos

    Communications Manager, Center for Equitable Development

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