Small banner: Annual report 2020 - Time for a climate revolution

For more examples of our impact, see our 2020 annual report 

Over the years, our Land and Environmental Defenders campaign has built long-standing relationships with affected communities across the world and has become part of a global movement of people seeking an end to environmental harms and attacks against the communities that protect our planet. We recognise that much of our data collection and campaigning is strengthened by our relationships with national and local level organisations. To build on this, we created our Strategic Awareness Raising Programme (SARP) in 2020 to strengthen our partnerships with defenders.

Our programme seeks to balance the needs of our campaign with those of partners organisations by fostering an equitable relationship with those we work with. We collaborated closely with eight organisations to raise awareness of the root causes and threats facing land and environmental defenders from Latin America, to Africa and Asia.

Annual report 2021 - Defenders SARP Ixquisis

Francisco Morales, from Bella Linda and member of the Ixquisis Peaceful Resistance against the San Mateo Hydroelectric Project, reads a document to others gathered for a meeting in Guatemala. Global Witness / James Rodriguez

It was possible to give greater visibility to the work we do on human rights defenders, as Global Witness supported us by spreading our issues on their social media outlets. GW also helped us establish contacts with social organisations and international media, as well as opening a space for us on its blog to reflect on the lack of resources allocated by the Mexican State for the protection of defenders. - (CEMDA- Mexico)

Over 10 months, the SARP provided financial support and technical advice across a range of partner-driven advocacy and communications activities. In the Philippines, we worked with our data partner to deliver their first 100% digital campaign, highlighting the climate and human rights impacts of the mining industry. A documentation project led by our Guatemalan partner resulted in a creative digital campaign that reached over 75,000 social media users, shedding light on the challenges defenders were facing as a result of the pandemic. Whilst in Africa, our partner worked to raise the profile of land and environmental defenders by publishing unique case studies tackling underreporting of the work being carried out to protect land in North Africa.  Each project was designed in collaboration with the Defenders team at Global Witness, and responded to the strategic needs and local impacts faced by defenders and their communities.  

This project demonstrated the capacity that can be achieved to generate new forms of communication, and it also allowed us to evaluate –although that was not its objective– how we develop it within our organisation. Thanks to that, we realised we need to continuously strengthen the communications advisor’s capacities, as well as the need to incorporate another one to support in achieving the objectives. - Udefegua – Guatemala

Over the year, we also delivered three workshops – attended by 65 defenders – which covered a range of issues from the documentation of threats and attacks to harnessing the strength of social media, and a session on building communications strategies and narratives. 

These partnerships are central to achieving our goal of a world where defenders rights are respected, and they can speak out safely, freely and self-advocate with impact.