When the world was in a health crisis and COVID-19 made us turn away from everything and everyone, I came across the Climate Litigation Community of Practice in Latin America.
In those days of 2020, I was an external collaborator for Greenpeace Mexico, and I was lucky enough to meet Javier, Florencia, and Veronica, who hosted this nascent community from their roles at AIDA.
The community facilitated several virtual meetings to share ideas on climate litigation with people from all over the region concerned about the environment, the climate crisis, and the health of the planet and living beings.
We affirmed our shared concerns and showed how we were addressing the environmental and social crises from each of our trenches, using strategic climate litigation.
Some people were litigating against deforestation, coal mines, and thermoelectric power plants, or for the inclusion of climate change variables in environmental impact studies. Others were trying to stop fossil fuel policies or to improve and meet national climate commitments.
It was interesting to see the breadth and versatility of how litigation is being used to advance climate action.
AIDA then invited us to a series of meetings with the protagonists of some of the world's most emblematic strategic litigation cases.
The experience of being in close contact with these people, in a space of trust, was unparalleled. It certainly reinforced my belief in the importance of the struggle being waged and the need to learn more about climate litigation.
Then came another invitation from AIDA, this time to participate in the Advisory Committee to build a platform that would bring together in one place the cases of climate litigation in our region and in our language, as testimonies of a resistance that comes from many different fronts.
The goal was to create a website where users could access information, find arguments to support the struggles, develop strategies, and have the possibility of contacting attorneys and academics. All to make visible the efforts of Latin America and the Caribbean in the face of climate conflicts.
The Alana Institute of Brazil, the Foundation for Environment and Natural Resources of Argentina, the Office of the Environmental Ombudsman of Chile, and Greenpeace Mexico responded to the call to participate in the design of the tool.
The collaborative efforts bore fruit, and in February 2022, the Climate Litigation Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean was officially born, with the goal of strengthening climate litigation in the region, and with it its power to promote the structural changes that are needed.
The main challenge was how to collect, systematize, and update the data. The solution was to create a team of rapporteurs. Thus, volunteers—attorneys or law students from different countries with an interest in environmental, climate and human rights advocacy—began to work together virtually to maintain and update the platform and report new cases in their jurisdictions.
The Platform started with 49 cases, and currently hosts 61 cases from eight countries. Another 30 are in the process of being added. The cases are identified and categorized in a user-friendly and intuitive way. The team of rapporteurs consists of 24 people from 12 countries. Without their tireless work and enthusiasm, the platform would not be possible.
A year and a half after the launch of the Platform, and much longer since its inception, my memories point to the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of many people to defend our common home, fight against devastation, and the possibility of bequeathing a greener and bluer planet to the future.
We have a responsibility to future generations. We must provide tools, initiate and continue actions that will guide future legal actions to protect and care for the environment.
I share with you my conviction that the goals set by the Community of Practice at its first meetings in 2020 will be achieved and that this project will continue to move forward by leaps and bounds.
The challenge remains: to continue to share the success stories, the valuable lessons learned when things do not go as we expect, the successful regional and international experiences; and to continue to work to make effective the decisions that give reason to the planet.
From AIDA, we invite you to learn about and use the Climate Litigation Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean to enter the world of climate litigation, which represents a great opportunity in the fight for climate justice and the protection of human rights in the region and the world.