WASHINGTON (July 15, 2021) — World Resources Institute is pleased to announce the WRI Center for Equitable Development. This center represents a fresh approach to WRI’s work with governments, the private sector and civil society on issues that matter most to vulnerable communities. The center was formerly called the WRI Governance Center.
This shift reflects WRI’s commitment to putting equity related issues at the heart of program and research agendas. Working with governments, the private sector, civil society and communities, WRI’s Center for Equitable Development will explore crucial questions about how the world can advance action to improve environmental sustainability and benefit people, while paying particular attention to vulnerable populations.
“Addressing inequity has always been central to WRI’s approach, but it’s even more pressing as communities look to recover from the pandemic and recharge their economies. We must make equity central to our mission. There can be no long-term sustainability without equity and environmental justice,” said Ani Dasgupta, WRI’s President and CEO. “We must upend the systemic equity issues and put people at the heart of creating a more resilient, zero-carbon world.”
The new Center is led by Cosmas Ochieng, WRI’s Global Director for the Center for Equitable Development. Under his leadership, WRI’s work on equity aims to facilitate a just transition to a sustainable and resilient future for all, through eradication of extreme poverty in all its forms, and reduced inequality within and among nations.
“Growing inequities and rising poverty are a danger to the future of human well-being and planetary health. Fundamental societal and systemic changes are needed to combat climate change, eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and inequities,” said Ochieng. “The circumstances of race, ethnicity, gender, social or family background cannot be allowed to continue to determine the basic opportunity for life for millions of people around the world. We must work with vulnerable populations to address economic, political and environmental inequalities that are not just taxing on these communities – but undermine collective human welfare and ecosystem health. The Center for Equitable Development brings WRI’s reputation for high-impact research and policy engagement into this crucial work.”
The pursuit of a more just, inclusive and sustainable future for all is not limited to the environmental community. In light of global shifts in perspectives on justice and rights – communities, businesses, governments, major foundations and donors are putting greater emphasis on efforts to combat global climate change while simultaneously reducing poverty and inequality.
“As the world confronts multiple crises, we must focus on the priorities and experiences of the most vulnerable among us. WRI’s new Center for Equitable Development reflects the type of approach we must take,” said Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Regional Director for WRI Africa. “Under Cosmas’ direction and expertise, the Center will do more to lift up and support those who are disproportionately burdened by climate change, but historically haven’t always been part of the conversation – women, youth and the economically excluded. We need more voices at the table to bring forward fair and equitable solutions for people around the world.”
In addition to this new focus on equity and poverty reduction, the WRI Center for Equitable Development will continue to serve as the institute’s focal point for environmental rights, land rights, gender, and climate resilience. In recent years, the Center has been responsible for the Global Commission on Adaptation, the creation of data platforms like LandMark and Energy Access Explorer, and the ratification of the groundbreaking Escazú Agreement to protect environmental defenders.
Read more about the Center here: www.wri.org/equitable-development.