Call for Papers: Policy Matters Special Issue on Environmental Defenders


This special issue of Policy Matters is focused on the stories, political contexts, and voices of environmental defenders across the globe. 

Watts and Vidal (2017)[2] note that environmental defenders are being murdered at record numbers globally, with almost four defenders defending their customs, territories, human rights, and environmental health killed per week. John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, noted that “[t]here is now an overwhelming incentive to wreck the environment for economic reasons. The people most at risk are people who are already marginalised and excluded from politics and judicial redress, and are dependent on the environment everywhere in the world, defenders are facing threats. There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building.”[3]

We seek contributions from academic scholars, activists, communities, and artists dealing with the complex struggles of Indigenous groups and environmental defenders. The multi-lingual (English, French, Spanish) issue will consist of an interdisciplinary mix of peer-reviewed, academic articles, as well as Indigenous artwork and poetry and five two-minute podcasts relaying the stories of Indigenous environmental defenders worldwide. Collaborative contributions are welcome. We hope the issue will consist primarily of a) Peer-reviewed, academic articles (double-blind, external review), and b) poetry, artwork, podcasts, and poetry (vetted internally, in close collaboration with authors). 

1] CEESP Theme on Business, Best Practice and Accountability (TBBPA)
[2] Watts, Jonathan and Vidal, John. Environmental defenders being killed in record numbers globally, new research reveals. Chain Reaction, No. 130, Sep 2017: 40-41. Available at;dn=128355297033202;res=IELHSS, Accessed 15.04.19.
[3] Knox, John cited in “DHC Statement to COP23 side event: ‘Enough is enough: Stopping the Attacks Against Environmental Defenders’.” (15 November 2017). United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Bonn, Germany. Available at:, Accessed 15.04.19.