Our vision for a just future | Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) Skip to content Skip to navigation
31 January 2024

Latin America is key to protecting biodiversity and combating the global climate crisis. Its forests, wetlands and marine ecosystems are among the most important carbon sinks on the planet, a service weakened by activities such as the exploitation and use of fossil fuels.

At AIDA, we envision a region where the environment and communities, especially those in highly vulnerable situations, have lasting protections.

To achieve this, we select precedent-setting cases that result in new, replicable tools and strategies that add to the protection of a healthy environment in the region.

Having celebrated 25 years of working for the right to a healthy environment in the region, AIDA is poised to enter a new quarter century as a robust, multidisciplinary organization.

In the coming years, we will continue and strengthen our pursuit of environmental and climate justice through two interconnected initiatives, each with defined lines of work:


1. Promotion of a just energy transition

A just energy transition implies transforming the power relations between those who pollute the most and the rest of the world, avoiding the deepening of socio-environmental conflicts and protecting the rights of communities and people involved in energy generation processes. As this is an issue that cannot be addressed only at the national level, AIDA will contribute its regional vision to increase the scope of local and national decisions, enhance legal strategies, and strengthen a proposal for the continent’s transition. We will focus on:

  • Avoiding dependence on oil and gas.
  • Halting the extraction and use of coal.
  • Promoting renewable and sustainable energies.
  • Advocating for human rights-based climate finance and governance.


2. Protection of life-sustaining systems

The ecosystem services that sustain life in Latin America and the world—including natural carbon capture and storage to mitigate the climate crisis, and the provision of clean food, air, and water - are at risk due to the lack of ambitious and effective actions. To ensure the livelihoods of life systems on the continent, both in rural communities and large cities, AIDA will focus its efforts on:

  • Protecting the ocean, from the coasts to the high seas.
  • Preserving freshwater sources and traditional territories.
  • Defending culture and traditional livelihoods.
  • Improving air quality.


In the coming years, from our regional perspective, we will continue to contribute to solutions that center nature and communities, and that effectively address the continent’s social and environmental challenges.


About the Author

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Gladys Martínez de Lemos

Gladys Martínez is AIDA's Executive Director, working out of San Jose, Costa Rica. For eight years, she led AIDA’s Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Protection Program. Gladys has a law degree from the University of Costa Rica and a master's degree in Environmental Security and Peace from the United Nations University for Peace. She also became a Kellog Executive Scholar in Nonprofit Management through Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Latin America

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