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The Urban Equity Compact

The Urban Equity Compact began as a pilot program called the Regional Collaboration for Equitable Climate Solutions or RCECS. The RCECS pilot training academy launched in three cities in 2021, Cincinnati, Baton Rouge, and Tampa Bay.  The program brought together diverse, cross-sector teams, made up of  community organizations and local governments to develop innovative, inclusive, regional strategies and solutions to climate that are community-driven and equity-centered. 

 

Why is the Urban Equity Compact Important?

Communities of color in cities and towns across the U.S. are on the front lines of the fight against climate change. Community-led, equity-centered climate change solutions are critically important if we’re going to be serious about impactful climate change mitigation, resilience, and true sustainability. Communities of color face catastrophic climate impacts that are exacerbated by systemic racism and historic and ongoing disinvestment.  People of color in these cities already lead community-based climate resiliency initiatives.They know what their communities need and, often, inform local policies and practices. However, these community leaders do not always receive the resources, support, or recognition needed to drive transformative impact. The Urban Equity Compact provides resources, technical support and guidance, and fosters relationship and network building to help communities scale and grow the footprint of their work.  

How does the Compact work?

During our pilot program, participants– community organizations and local governments come together to learn and share community resilience and climate change mitigation best practices–  from experts and each other. The program also provided opportunities for networking and relationship building. Participants trained on a variety of relevant concepts–  from Equitable Scenario Planning to Data Mapping.  It was also an opportunity to develop multi-sector collaborations that address the impacts of systemic racism on climate policies and community decision making approaches.  The work culminates in participants being able to identify and create strategic plans to address the climate resilience issues in their communities.

 

Why do we do this work?

Our mission is embedding equity in climate change and environmental solutions that meet the needs of communities, especially those wrestling with impacts that are compounded by race and underlying economic, social and health root factors.  Over the past decade, we’ve worked with many Regional Climate Collaboratives formed around the country to tackle climate, align emissions reductions and promote resilience-building efforts across adjoining jurisdictions, however the initiatives were not equity-centered or rooted in community.  We’ve learned a lot about knowledge and skills gaps in government from working with community and government stakeholders, in particular, the importance of centering the needs of community leaders, relationship building, promoting education and understanding about equity and needs, mapping equity and goal-setting, and sharing multiracial and multicultural engagement and inclusion best practices. This was the impetus for the innovation of the Urban Equity Compact – building upon that experience and focusing on equity.We’re excited to begin scaling this work throughout the US through the Urban Equity Compact, expanding our collaboration with community partners and regional and local government leaders, planners and administrators.

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