The National Adaptation Forum is dedicated to promoting justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the adaptation field. We want to ensure that we proactively incorporate equity, environmental justice, and climate justice issues into the Forum Program. We also seek to ensure a diverse and inclusive space for knowledge exchange, so that all adaptation practitioners have positive and enriching experiences at Forum events. 

To accomplish this, the Forum team commits to:

  • Growing the engagement of the Forum’s Equity and Climate Justice Working Group to help guide and oversee the Forum’s programs and ensure equity and climate justice is authentically woven into the climate adaptation field; 
  • Ensuring equity is considered by all sessions rather than only placing equity and climate justice on its own track and encouraging all presenters to incorporate an equity perspective through content in their presentations, panels or discussions, and, more importantly, in their practice;
  • Increasing the diversity of the Forum’s planning committee by actively recruiting climate justice and tribal organizations such that the Forum represents the communities it serves; 
  • Providing inclusive ways of participating and sharing input in the Forum planning such as meeting recordings, monthly digests, live polls, and surveys; 
  • Continuing to actively fundraise to offer access to the Forum through in-person travel support and a vibrant webinar series; 
  • Working with the Forum network to develop best practices in equitable adaptation; and
  • Promoting racial and gender diversity and inclusivity in the field of adaptation.

Grounding climate adaptation efforts in principles of equity and justice is critical to improving our national resilience and, therefore, is of key importance at the National Adaptation Forum. 

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We use the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing 

  1. Be Inclusive: If we hope to achieve just societies that include all people in decision-making and assure that all people have an equitable share of the wealth and the work of this world, then we must work to build that kind of inclusiveness into our own movement in order to develop alternative policies and institutions to the treaties policies under neoliberalism. This requires more than tokenism, it cannot be achieved without diversity at the planning table, in staffing, and incoordination. It may delay the achievement of other important goals, it will require discussion, hard work, patience, and advance planning. It may involve conflict, but through this conflict, we can learn better ways of working together. It’s about building alternative institutions, movement building, and not compromising out in order to be accepted into the anti-globalization club.
  2. Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing: To succeed, it is important to reach out into new constituencies, and to reach within all levels of leadership and membership base of the organizations that are already involved in our networks. We must be continually building and strengthening a base that provides our credibility, our strategies, mobilizations, leadership development, and the energy for the work we must do daily.
  3. Let People Speak for Themselves: We must be sure that relevant voices of people directly affected are heard. Ways must be provided for spokespersons to represent and be responsible for the affected constituencies. It is important for organizations to clarify their roles, and who they represent, and to assure accountability within our structures.
  4. Work Together In Solidarity and Mutuality: Groups working on similar issues with compatible visions should consciously act in solidarity, mutuality, and support each other’s work. In the long run, a more significant step is to incorporate the goals and values of other groups with your own work, in order to build strong relationships. For instance, in the long run, it is more important that labor unions and community economic development projects include the issue of environmental sustainability in their own strategies, rather than just lending support to the environmental organizations. So communications, strategies, and resource sharing are critical, to help us see our connections and build on these.
  5. Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves: We need to treat each other with justice and respect, both on an individual and an organizational level, in this country and across borders. Defining and developing “just relationships” will be a process that won’t happen overnight. It must include clarity about decision-making, sharing strategies, and resource distribution. There are clearly many skills necessary to succeed, and we need to determine the ways for those with different skills to coordinate and be accountable to one another.
  6. Commitment to Self-Transformation: As we change societies, we must change from operating on the mode of individualism to community-centeredness. We must “walk our talk.” We must be the values that we say we’re struggling for and we must be justice, be peace, be a community.