Combatting environmental racism is necessary to achieve the sustainable development agenda of 2030.

The Environment is a critical element of international discussions and diplomacy in the modern day, where it’s importance becomes known to the global community. Moreover, with specific concerns of environmental damage and ecocide in many states, environmental racism is gaining stage and mobilising communities to act. CD4Peace, stands by its moral principles and responsibilities, to promote awareness for environmental racism, in indigeneous and urban communities in the world.

We at CD4Peace, recognise the role of the environment in establishing, protecting and promoting cultural diversity. The environment provides for all of our resources, which today form our cultural traditions. However, despite the strong interdependence in all communities, the impact of environmental destruction is faced by communities in a disproportionate manner. Among many of the effects, the major ones remain lack of access to clean water, air and lack of clean resources like food for marginalised communities. It is important to note, that with the growing prevalence of environmental racism, it is hampering the efforts of governments, civil societies and individuals to achieve the sustainable development goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals, is an idealistic approach to lead humanity into the world of equality, peace and growth. However, environmental racism’s relevance in the world of the 21st century, is counter-productive. These 17 SDGs form the core of humanity’s idealism and a collective effort to improve sustainable living standards. Environmental racism impacts our strengthened efforts to combat poverty, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, clean energy among many others. These form a part of the SDGs, and the wider societal aspirations for a better life of the future generations.

Fortunately, environmental justice advocates all around the global are working hard to raise greater awareness on the issue and convince decision makers and political institutions of the necessity to address systemic racism in the current efforts against climate change.

Because globalisation has increased the scale of environmental racism challenges, environmental justice claims have now a growing influence on the work of International Organisations and UN agencies. For instance, the International Telecommunication Union has taken action to improve the management of e-waste and reduce pollution related to the dumping of discarded electronic devices in countries of the global south, where e-waste policies, regulations and legislations are more lax or inexistent. At the begging of the month, United Nations human rights officials have publicly condemned environmental racism in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley”, an area in the US where the population, composed by a majority of black americans, no longer has access to clean air because of the pollution emitted by a growing number of petrochemical plants.The UN described the issue as a violation of human rights such as the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to health, right to an adequate standard of living and cultural rights.

It is encouraging to see that the UN is increasingly concerned about environmental racism. We, at CD4Peace, hope that this newly-found awareness will open the way for additional efforts toward environmental justice from the UN and the rest of the international community. We advocate for anti-racism and cultural diversity promotion in the process of sustainable development. We strongly believe that there is no sustainable development without environmental justice.