FacebookTwitterLinkedInCopy LinkEmailPrint
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.

Electrifying the ‘eighth continent’: exploring the role of climate finance and its impact on energy justice and equality in Madagascar’s planned energy transition

The study looks at Madagascar’s history of energy transition in the context of various financing instruments and actors as well as identifies the potential impacts on social equity.


Through an analysis of projected energy finance flows and key financiers’ financing strategies, this paper shows a shift from grant-based climate finance to financial instruments with clear return profiles, such as concessional loans and private capital. It finds that the choice of financial instrument does impact the provision of complementary social services in rural electrification schemes. While grants are associated with higher investments in complementary social services, private financiers are focused on innovation and scale. Electrification projects that are financed purely privately were found to negatively impact social cohesion by increasing the inequality in access to energy.

The authors identify that apart from the financing gap of USD13 billion identified in the national plan as the main roadblock to successful implementation, there exist a whole set of interrelated, mutually reinforcing barriers to successful electrification, such as low institutional capacity, a lack of human capital and technical knowledge, corruption, and a dysfunctional utility. The authors use stakeholder maps and case studies from three rural electrification projects as part of the analysis.

The study concludes that, if only commercially viable energy projects were to be financed going forward, up to 19 million Madagascans might be excluded from future electrification efforts. Thus the paper recommends the need to promote climate finance literacy and the use of multiple electrification pathways. The author provides some examples, such as “grid extensions” through concessional loans, “scalable innovation” using private capital and risk guarantees, or grant-based “social mission” programs. The author suggests that the findings are relevant not only to Madagascar, but to most, if not all, least-developed countries (LDCs) aiming to decarbonize their economies.