Climate Change a Priority in NPCA’s Community Report on How to Reimagine, Reshape, and Retool the Peace Corps for a Changed World

Saturday November 14, 2020

In response to this unprecedented time in the world and its impact on the Peace Corps, NPCA engaged stakeholders to discuss the future of Peace Corps in a changed world. The result is Peace Corps Connect to the Future, a report with recommendations to Congress, the Peace Corps agency and Executive Branch, and the Peace Corps community.

Answering the question, “When the Peace Corps returns to the field, what should it look like?” three primary themes emerged:  The Peace Corps community must be a leader in addressing systemic racism; The Peace Corps agency needs to stand by its community — and leverage it for impact; and Now is the moment for the Peace Corps agency to make dramatic change.  Among these themes, climate change emerged as a critical issue of importance for Peace Corps programming and the wider Peace Corps community.

Chapter 5, Recalibrating Peace Corps Programs for the Future, suggests the programmatic focus of Peace Corps should be undertaken in a partnership of equals among stakeholders (PCVs, RPCVs, host communities) and reflect urgent global challenges, including climate change.

The chapter’s Big Ideas for Consideration leads with a focus on climate change as the agency’s highest programmatic priority. It reads:

5.1 Focus on climate change as a cross-sector initiative.

Climate change response should be emphasized as the agency’s highest programmatic priority, with training and field programs adjusted accordingly. Doing so will not only enhance Volunteer efforts in the field but will also generate excitement amongst future recruits and help to inspire a new generation of Volunteers.

Background: Current Peace Corps programs — agriculture, public health, education, environment, business — often intersect with climate change. Many host countries are already seeing impacts of climate change, from catastrophic storms to droughts and floods. Addressing climate change is a global priority, and virtually every country has a national strategy to combat climate change that Peace Corps Volunteers can support.

Recognizing climate change exacerbates existing inequities and vulnerabilities -while also demonstrating amazing resilience – on the part of our global partners and communities, the Returned Peace Corps for Environmental Action (RPCV4EA) looks forward to working with RPCVs and friends to create a community of concern and action for the climate and sustainable practices in our communities.

Skip to content