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What is "Just Transition"?

Becoming fundable? Converting climate justice claims into climate finance in Mesoamerica’s forests

The article assesses the efforts of the indigenous and forest people’s groups in Mexico and Central America to promote claims to climate finance in terms of the different concepts of justice and identifies constraints to more transformative and reparative pathways to just climate outcomes.


The article draws upon the experiences of a coalition of 10 Indigenous and forest peoples’ groups in Mexico and Central America—the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB)—with regards to their navigation of the discursive strategies suited for accessing climate finance, particularly through the REDD+ instrument. The author uses the history of community positions toward REDD+ to suggest that the claims underpinning their engagement reflect conceptualizations of climate justice, which deviate from those that have dominated policy and popular discussions. The author assesses the feasibility of the AMPB-proposed Mesoamerican Territorial Fund that aims to directly capture climate finance, which would bypass problematic relations with national governments and traditional donors.

The article finds that although Indigenous peoples and local communities have made significant advances in terms of representation, recognition, participation, and concrete funding, the constraints of “becoming fundable” may hinder more transformative and reparative pathways to just climate outcomes. The requirement to “become fundable”, under the terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and major donors, is also a demand for the Indigenous peoples and local communities to become legible . This demand presents a clear tension with the member groups’ priorities of self-determination and “buen vivir”—a term that signifies an explicit recognition of the importance of nature for well-being. The author concludes that moving toward distributive justice may be much easier than a more critical interpretation of procedural justice. As such, efforts to support forest climate initiatives in these contested landscapes may benefit from moving away from results and performance-focused discussions toward a view of climate finance as among the means of achieving distributive, procedural, and historical justice on a territorial scale.

Tales from the Frontlines: Building a People-led Just Transition in Jackson, Mississippi

This chapter summarizes the socioeconomic, political, and environmental injustices minority communities face in Mississippi and describes Cooperation Jackson’s work to address these issues.


This chapter summarizes socioeconomic, political, and environmental injustices minorities face in Mississippi and describes Cooperation Jackson’s community-led approach and efforts to address these systemic issues through a just transition. Cooperation Jackson seeks to build a vibrant, ecologically regenerative economy by organizing and empowering the structurally under- and unemployed sections of the working class.

The author describes the socioeconomic disparities in Jackson, Mississippi due to decades of policies that have “only served the interests of the rich,” coupled with environmental and climate-related risks and hazards. Cooperation Jackson envisions a radical approach to a just transition that connects day-to-day challenges—such as securing access to clean air and water and to healthy and plentiful food—with these broader disparities and system issues. Their approach involves imagining and developing grassroots-led initiatives to advance a “social and solidarity economy.” The author details Cooperation Jackson’s pilot projects, which include a green cooperative ecosystem that reinforces and builds upon itself.