The Power of Partnerships

Partnerships are a big part of our success.

We partner with people like you —  hundreds of thousands of committed and concerned individuals across the globe who are willing to support this work with a phone call, a signature, an afternoon, or a donation.

We also build partnerships with local, Indigenous and frontline communities to collaborate on these campaigns. Together we exert pressure and extract actionable policies from corporate culprits responsible for rainforest destruction, massive pollution, and pushing species toward extinction.

Together, we can make an impact for a better tomorrow.

We are Nothing Without our Network

At RAN, you’ll often hear us say that we take the “Network” in our name very seriously and that’s because without the leadership of local and Indigenous communities and the support of our partners throughout the world, we couldn’t take on the giant corporations and lenders leading climate chaos and funding deforestation.

A central tenet to RAN’s theory of change is the firm belief that local communities, especially Indigenous communities, are best positioned to act as stewards and decision makers in regards to their traditional territories. From the Appalachian communities dealing with mountaintop removal coal mining to Indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Indonesia, these communities have firsthand knowledge – often built through generations – about the specific, place-based threats, vulnerabilities, political relationships, history, and ecological functioning of the landscape.

Around the world, the rights of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples are all too often overlooked or ignored by corporate and government entities making land use decisions. Even where ancestral land rights are acknowledged in theory, accurate maps are frequently non-existent or may be in conflict with other maps used by different levels of government.

Directly Supporting Frontline Communities

Corporations are profiting from environmental destruction and people are paying the price. There’s no ambiguity for the communities living through climate change and experiencing the rapid destruction of the world’s forests.

In order to directly support our local partners, RAN launched the Community Action Grants Program in 1993. And to date, we’ve been able to distribute over $1,500,000 in direct support to Frontline and Indigenous communities for projects and campaigns throughout the world. Indigenous and Frontline communities suffer disproportionate impacts to their health, livelihood and culture from the effects of global climate change and from destructive and extractive industries like tar sands pipelines and Conflict Palm Oil.

That’s why RAN’s Community Action Grants are designed specifically to strengthen the capacity of Indigenous and Frontline communities and to support grassroots leadership. Because local and Indigenous activists know how to co-exist with natural resources and they know how to organize in order to protect the planet and their communities.

Committed to Change

In order to fight for a more just future for all peoples, we must acknowledge our positions of privilege and work with intent to ensure that our words and actions support the inherent value and dignity of everyone. We view this as an on-going process of becoming more accountable to our allies, to our supporters, and to our own beliefs.

RAN has long subscribed to the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing. Outlined and adopted at a coalition meeting in 1996 hosted by the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ), in Jemez, New Mexico, the Jemez Principles strive to enable a common understanding between participants from different cultures, politics and organizations. You can download the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing here to help shape and guide your own coalition work. It’s through the Jemez Principles and a commitment to a racial justice analysis, that RAN hopes to develop honest and authentic partnerships.

But being an effective ally and a committed international partner to Frontline and Indigenous communities is an ongoing process; we must continue to learn and constantly evolve.

Over several years and with input from many or our partners, we’ve developed and frequently revised a set of Guidelines for Working with Indigenous Peoples and Frontline Communities. This document outlines protocols and expectations for developing honest and authentic partnerships in order to run effective campaigns and achieve our mission. We share some of those principles below as an introduction to the type of work we hope to achieve and how.

Our Partner Guidelines

  • When considering campaign priorities, RAN will prioritize working with partners when we are invited by a welcoming body that has been elected or is otherwise broadly supported within the partner community or organization.
  • In our communications, we will obtain the permission of partners before we profile their stories and share copies of those profiles with them. We will also make available the contact information and relevant information sources of those groups if they so desire.
  • We will gain the permission of partners before undertaking any fundraising efforts that feature those partners.
  • We will promote education of all our staff, managers, executives, and board about working with partners and frontline communities and RAN’s commitment to these issues and practices and incorporate such education and orientation practices into the Anti-Oppression and Diversity Work-plan.
  • Read the full list of our full Guidelines for Working with Indigenous Peoples and Frontline Communities here.

In thinking about our responsibilities, we also want to recognize that our time, resources and commitment differ greatly from those of Indigenous and Frontline communities. For example, an Indigenous community’s commitment to critical issues could last for decades and environmental justice may not be seen for generations. RAN recognizes that engaging in meaningful collaboration, building trust, and establishing relationships with Indigenous peoples in many cases requires long term commitment and follow-thru.

We must also recognize that Indigenous communities and organizations often use different decision making structures and practices whose needs may not always correspond with those of our campaign timelines. And that certain tactics and strategies could bring greater risk and burden to those already at the frontlines.

Therefore, it is only with thorough, honest, and culturally fluent communication with local allies – combined with an up to date understanding of the social and political nuances in the regions – that we will see success in these efforts. Considerations must always include security concerns for outspoken local activists, political backlash from opposing parties and cultural sensitivities necessary to maintain mutually beneficial, long lasting relationships with community leaders.

That is our commitment to our International partners and the type of work that our team must try to accomplish and be willing to reevaluate and change when necessary.