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Rio+20: This is not the “future we want” – Bolivian social movement response to the UN draft agreement

From the Bolivian Climate Change Platform:

A warning from civil society to governments that the agreement consolidates the “green economy” and false solutions.

We reject the document “The future we want” that has been approved initially and is about to be ratified by heads of state of member governments of the United Nations, and we warn civil society and progressive governments that the content of this document will deepen the structural causes that have caused the socio-environmental crisis that we face, and will not resolve this crisis, by further liberalizing the economy and the commodification of nature.

The document states that the objectives put forward in Agenda 21 in Rio in 1992 and the three Conventions: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), as well as the progress made over the years, are still valid. But these important principles, including common but differentiated responsibilities, are only included in the introduction as a declaration when they should be an important part of the entire text.

In its current form, the text reaffirms and deepens the current neo-liberal economic model. It promotes “inclusive and sustainable” economic growth with various references throughout the text without putting forward proposals or changes to the dominant economic system. The multiple crises we are facing are recognised but all the responses are still within the framework of neo-liberal model and seek to deepen the free market without recognising the underlying structural causes.
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Bolivian indigenous social movements worried about future of Kyoto Protocol and reject commodification of forests.

Press Conference: http://unfccc2.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/110606_SB34/templ/play.php?id_kongresssession=3597&theme=unfccc

After one week of UN climate change negotiations in Bonn it is still unclear whether countries will adopt a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding treaty which obliges developed countries to reduce their emissions of green house gases.

“These reduction targets must be binding for all Annex 1 countries. They must be ambitious to guarantee a level of reduction in line with what is demanded by science. Current emissions targets will lead to an increase of four degrees centigrade in temperature by the end of this century”, said social movement leader Lauriano Pari.

With 2010 one of the hottest years on record, Bolivia’s indigenous peoples demand urgency on a comprehensive global deal to prevent irreversible climate change. Time is running out as the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol finishes at the end of 2012.

Indigenous leader Rafael Quispe said: “Our glaciers are melting, causing desertification of our lands. Now our communities are forced to migrate to the cities. It is not possible that forests, that are our home and that we have been the guardians of for many centuries, are converted into simple carbon sinks and providers of environmental services. They should have a broader vision viewing them as areas of biodiversity and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples”.

“There must be a holistic vision of forests. Forests will not be protected through a mechanism that issues certificates for the reduction of emissions to be sold on a carbon market.  With these certificates for the reduction of emissions in our forests developed countries and companies will not fulfill their emissions reductions obligations”, added Lauriano Pari.

“There must be financial reward for countries and indigenous peoples who preserve their forests. This financial reward cannot be based on market mechanisms. Instead funds should come from developed countries and innovative funding sources should be explored. For example, by establishing a new mechanism for a tax on financial transactions that would generate funds without any conditionality”

Lauriano Pari finished by saying, “We believe that in the build up to the Conference of the Parties COP17 instead of promoting the commodification of nature through the REDD mechanism we should follow a path where we recognize the rights of Mother Earth”.

Notes to editors

A webcast of the full press conference at Bonn UN climate change talks is available here

The indigenous leaders who spoke in the press conference were Tata Rafael Quispe, Mallku of CONAMAQ and Lauriano Pari, Secretary of Natural Resources of the CSUTCB.

The Pacto de Unidad is a coalition of Bolivia’s five main social movements representing millions of people – the Committee of the Confederation of Bolivian Peasant Workers (CSUTCB), the National Confederation of Native Indigenous Peasant Women (CNMCIOB-BS), the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ), the Confederation of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia (CSCIB) and the Confederation of Bolivian Indigenous Peoples (CIDOB).

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, UNFCCC

Statement on Need to Protect Forests from Plurinational State of Bolivia

Note: GJEP agrees that protecting forests–and we mean REALLY protecting biodiverse, culturally important, native forests–is critical to solving the problem of climate change, and that industrialized countries must make a clear, legally-binding commitment to substantially reduce their carbon emissions immediately.  However, the Kyoto Protocol never did this.  It was a legally binding agreement ignored by the US (the largest emitter in the world) that did not go nearly far enough in its call for carbon reductions.  It’s goal of 5.2% reductions below 1990 levels was completely inadequate to address the problem.  And as we have seen since Kyoto went into effect in 2005, emissions have continued to rise.  Could the new round of Kyoto mandate legally binding and effective emissions reductions?  What is absolutely clear is that any non-binding or voluntary agreement (as is being pushed by the US and other Industrialized countries) will not even be worth the paper on which it is written.  And if it is binding, how can the government of the US be trusted?  We all know what a screwed-up track record they have (and not just on the climate issue).  It is for this reason that GJEP works with social movements, organizations, communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations around the world to identify and promote those thousands of locally-controlled, small-scale solutions to climate change that already exist.

–The GJEP Team



BONN- Today, as UN climate negotiations continued their slow start, Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia outlined a clear vision to move negotiations forward.Ambassador Solon in a press conference addressed :

  • Possible outcomes from the annual climate conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa in December;
  • the importance of forest protection to negotiations;
  • the need to recognize the rights of Mother Earth; and
  • proposed an international financial transaction tax.

Durban Outcomes

“In Durban we cannot repeat the mistakes of Cancun. In Durban we need a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, that is the only possible concrete outcome. There is no time for a new legally binding treaty. The choice is binding targets in the Kyoto Protocol or a non-binding decision that does not resolve the issue of reducing emissions in developed countries.” Ambassador Solon said.

“We cannot come out of South Africa with the targets we have now, the UNEP has shown they will lead us to 4C of global warming. We must have targets that limit temperature rise to between 1C and 1.5C to preserve life as we know it.” Ambassador Solon said.

Forests at Bonn Negotiations

 “We also need a clear position in relation to the issue of forests. Forests are integral to the lives of millions and an essential part of the world’s natural system. We cannot spend the money that we have now, a very small amount of money, trying to measure the amount of carbon that forests store in order to prepare the conditions for a future carbon market in the forest.” Ambassador Solon said.

“What we need to do is direct that small amount of resources that we have to preserve forests now. The key issue is to develop and implement key actions now, and not in 8 years when there might be a carbon market, but right now in order to preserve the forests today so that they can continue living and giving life.” Ambassador Solon said.

Rights of Mother Earth

“When we consider climate change we are not just talking about floods, rains, and droughts but more holistically but the Earth’s systems as a whole. It’s not just about the number of emissions but how we are affecting the whole system – of individuals eco-systems and the system of planet Earth.” Ambassador Solon said.

“We must recognize that we are a part of a system and we cannot commodity and transform this system without consequences. All countries, in all their policies, must respect the natural boundaries of the Earth’s systems. The rights of the other parts of this system must be considered and we need to develop international rules and laws to preserve the integrity of the Earth’s system. Bolivia has made submissions to develop these rules at the climate negotiations.” Ambassador Solon said.

 International Financial Transaction Tax

 “Developing countries are very disappointed and concerned about the status of the proposed fast start climate finance ($30B) from Copenhagen. There hasn’t been an official review and it needs a concrete and official report.” Ambassador Solon said.

“Civil society analysis shows that most ‘fast start finance’ is not new. It’s just recycling of official aid that was already agreed for projects that were already being financed. Before they were under agriculture or infrastructure but now they are called climate finance. But real, actually new funds, the famous $30B promised in Copenhagen, has not come to developing countries.” Ambassador Solon said.

“Instead of waiting for this promise of fast start finance to materialize we have put forward a proposal for a tax on International Financial Transactions. This would be a mechanism that can generate real funds and we will have the funds to act immediately to address the protection of forests and fight climate change.” Ambassador Solon said.

“The tax would be voluntary, each country could decide to be involved, but the revenue raised would go into a common fund to fight climate change. It could be scaled up quickly and is a decisive response – experience shows we cannot rely on private finance to generate nearly enough to take effective action.” Ambassador Solon said.

Press Conference Tomorrow, June 8 by the Plurinational State of Bolivia:

Forests, Rights of Nature and Current Situation of the Climate Change Negotiations

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bonn Germany

Place: Room Haydn, Hotel Maritim, Bonn, Germany

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 8, 11am

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, UNFCCC

Earth Minute with Anne Petermann of KPFK Radio’s Sojourner Truth Program

Listen to this week’s Earth Minute with Global Justice Ecology Project‘s executive director, Anne Petermann which highlights the Plurinational State of Bolivia as they attempt to enact history-making laws for Mother Earth with 11 new rights for nature.

This week the Earth Minute will be airing on Thursday 4/14.

Click here to listen!

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Filed under Biodiversity