The 2024 National Adaptation Forum Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Goals were developed by the Forum’s Equity and Climate Justice Working Group. Our purpose in posting these goals online is to provide transparency in what we hope to achieve at the Forum. In addition, we will aim to provide periodic goal updates as a measure of accountability in the lead up to the 6th National Adaptation Forum, so we may better understand where we’re succeeding and where we’re falling short.

2024 National Adaptation Forum Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging Goals

In the effort to continue making the National Adaptation Forum (the Forum) more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, the Forum is employing a variety of strategies to simultaneously center perspectives of frontline communities – or communities that face a disproportionate burden of climate risks while experiencing additional barriers to adapt and respond to climate change – while improving participation rates of frontline community groups as presenters and attendees. 

As part of this effort, the Forum recognizes that there are multiple groups that have been historically excluded, underrepresented, and unrepresented in conversations around climate risks and adaptation in the US, including Black communities, Tribal and Indigenous peoples, Latino or Latinx communities, Asian communities, Pacific Islanders, immigrants, people whose primary language isn’t English, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, people who are neurodivergent, religious minorities, among others. Additionally, the Forum recognizes that racial identity is oftentimes a predominant factor in determining professional mobility and access to resources and opportunities, particularly within the climate adaptation field and the broader environmental field. In particular, people who have multiple intersecting identities often experience added layers of structural barriers that compound the challenges for those individuals to meaningfully participate within the climate adaptation field, including attending events like the National Adaptation Forum.

The sections below detail some of the ways the Forum is centering racial equity and justice into its programming to continue building a climate adaptation field that is more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just. Various strategies name specific frontline groups, acknowledging that different groups will require different engagement approaches. 

The entire Forum planning team – including EcoAdapt, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and the Forum’s committees – are committed to continuing to improve how we center equity and justice into the Forum’s programming. If you have additional ideas or feedback, please contact

*In the goals below, we often refer to underrepresented or unrepresented groups. Please read the paragraphs above for a specific definition of who we are referring to when we reference these groups.

  • At least 40% of individuals on Forum committees identify as an underrepresented or unrepresented group within adaptation to mirror the Biden Administration’s Justice 40 Initiative (Goal Update: 45% of our current Forum committee members identify as members of an underrepresented or unrepresented group(s).)
  • Advertise the Call for Proposals on listservs targeting underrepresented and unrepresented groups within adaptation (i.e., ITEP, SACNAS, Environmental Professionals of Color, Brown Girl Green Job Board)
  • Identify and recruit speakers from organizations, communities, and institutions that may not traditionally be solely in the climate space, but where there is intersectionality (i.e., climate and health)
  • Conduct outreach and engagement with students and professors at HBCUs, Tribal Colleges, and other institutions to support a more diverse speaker pool (completed)
  • Hire an engagement coordinator to support targeted outreach to underrepresented and unrepresented groups
  • Host at least three “office hours” to describe the proposal submission process and answer questions from interested participants (completed)
  • Target office hours to those less experienced with the process and those where english is not their first language
  • Offer transcription services to office hour attendees to translate ideas into the proposal format
  • Ensure language in the Call for Proposals is accessible, and enables different types of submission formats (completed)
  • Include language in the Call for Proposals that encourages underrepresented and unrepresented groups to submit proposals (completed)
  • Limit proposal submissions to two presentations per person to allow for greater speaker diversity (completed)
  • Encourage submissions that substantively integrate environmental and climate justice in the program discussion, rather than as a separate “DEIJ” event (completed)
  • Ask optional demographic questions in call for proposals (i.e., race/ethnicity) (completed)
  • Improve data collection on demographics of speakers and presenters (completed)
  • Encourage submissions that address adaptation with an interdisciplinary, intersectional lens (e.g., climate and public health, climate and housing) 
  • The percentage of speakers from underrepresented and/or unrepresented groups equals or exceeds the percentage of proposals submitted by those individuals (completed)
  • Ensure that there is at least one person of color speaking in the opening plenary (completed)
  • Prioritize new speakers and organizations when selecting sessions and/or limit the number of sessions that speakers can participate in each year or across multiple years (in order to reduce hearing from the same voices repeatedly across sessions and NAF events) (completed)
  • Assess the frequency of presenters and organizations during program development to address any potential gaps and/or pivot to underrepresented or unrepresented speakers, organizations, and topics (completed)
  • The Forum Team will leave one breakout room open (10 sessions), to be filled at the Equity and Climate Justice Working Group’s discretion based on gaps in programming (completed)
  • Organize balanced panels considering DEIJB goals (completed)
  • Organize at least one session focused on local Tribal concerns, with local Indigenous presenters, and allow them to use their preferred mode of delivery (completed)
  • Identify ways to incorporate local artists and musicians that are already working in the climate change and social justice realms to engage with and participate at the conference (i.e., street art, paintings, murals, theater, dance, music, etc.)
  • Collect race/ethnicity data from participants in the registration (completed)
  • Add questions for language considerations to ensure materials can be provided in other languages as needed
  • Collect accessibility requests (i.e., ramp access, altered podiums for better access, etc.) (completed)
  • Enact a sliding scale for registration costs
  • When choosing an event venue and host city, the Forum Team will explicitly consider travel costs, lodging costs, public transit options, dining costs, and host city accessibility and ADA compliance (completed)
  • Provide at least 20% of Forum attendees with some form of attendance support (i.e., travel support, reduced registration pricing) (completed – all individuals who applied for attendance support were offered support)
  • Seek funding support from federal agencies, foundations, and other organizations to provide attendance support (completed)
  • Ensure hotel room blocks exist at affordable prices to meet attendee needs (completed)
  • Fundraise specifically to integrate climate and social justice artists to engage with the conference
  • Confirm scholarships/discounts prior to the registration deadline for speakers/presenters
  • Contract with a venue with equally sized breakout rooms or ensure presentations from underrepresented and unrepresented groups are not placed in smaller rooms (completed)
  • Expand the Forum menu to accommodate additional dietary preferences
  • Include live captioning for all Forum presentations to make sessions more accessible
  • Provide presentation formatting guidelines that will make presentations more accessible to different learning styles (i.e., dyslexia) (completed)
  • Contract with at least three women-owned, Black, or Indigenous-owned small businesses to provide services/goods at the Forum
  • Pay an artist to complete all of the branding for the conference that is already in the climate justice space
  • Hire a photographer from an underrepresented or unrepresented group to document the event (i.e., Diversify Photo; Indigenous Photo; etc.)
  • Highlight at least one or two local vendors during the course of the day as a way to support local businesses 
  • Ensure attendees have access to gender inclusive bathrooms (completed)
  • Make donation to local Tribal group as a part of the land acknowledgement/land back process (completed)
  • Be intentional about recording sessions that embed equity in the discussion 
  • At least 70% of presenters upload their information to the event app, allowing attendees to readily access the information during and after the event (completed)
  • Offer tech support for presenters to upload their information (completed)
  • Organize formal or informal networking opportunities for underrepresented  and unrepresented groups during the Forum, in addition to opportunities for young professionals (partially completed through the buddy program)
  • Ensure that these events do not take place concurrently with other programming that may conflict (e.g., holding an event for Black professionals at the same time as an event for a specific racial affinity group)
  • Reserve a pre-forum event for Black and Indigenous participants or participants identifying as another underrepresented group within adaptation (i.e., LGBTQIA+, disabled)