Civil society in climate forums: the challenges to building consensus around climate justice

IASS Justice in Sustainability
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Lecture series on the IASS Focal Topic Year on “justice in sustainability

May’s Focal Topic Justice in Sustainability/Public lecture will be a hybrid event, taking place online via Zoom and in-person at the IASS premises in Potsdam.

Our guest this month will be Tasneem Essop, who will discuss the critical role that civil society plays in ensuring ambitious and just climate action is often unacknowledged, undermined and in many countries, repressed. Drawing on her vast experience, this presentation will explore the experiences of civil society actors in some key climate fora and processes, internationally and nationally, and identify the barriers and challenges in building truly democratic, participatory and just approaches to achieving climate justice. In addition, Tasneem will argue that without such inclusive processes we run the risk of not being able to address the climate crisis as well as achieving climate justice.

Tasneem Essop is currently the Executive Director of Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of over 1,800 civil society organisations, in over 120 countries, that are fighting the climate crisis, and founding director of the Energy Democracy Initiative in South Africa. She was a global climate policy and strategy leader for environmental NGO WWF International and served as the Head of Delegation for the organisation at the UNFCCC including at the Paris COP. During this period she also served on the Board of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) and was an active participant in the work of CAN International. Earlier, she held the positions of Provincial Minister for the Environment, Planning and Economic Development and Provincial Minister of Transport, Public Works and Property Management in the Western Cape. Before becoming a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in 1994, she was an anti-Apartheid activist, a school teacher and a trade unionist in COSATU Western Cape.

Please register either for the Zoom session using this link:

Or for the in-person event at the IASS-Potsdam: