Tag Archives: cancun

ALBA Governments Join La Via Campesina to Denounce Elite Climate Talks; Cochabamba People’s Agreement is the peoples’ solution to the Climate Crisis

Source: La Via Campesina

(Cancún, 7 December 2010) La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of peasant and smallholder farmers, joined with Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth International and a number of social movement representatives and government officials from the ALBA countries at COP 16 in Cancún today to condemn the false solutions and backroom deals being pushed in the negotiations, and to call for mobilizations and actions worldwide for climate solutions based in traditional indigenous knowledge, community-based practices, human rights and the rights of nature.

The group held a press conference in the Moon Palace, the opulent resort where the tense and difficult climate convention have moved into the high level phase of negotiations this week. The press conference ended with Luis Henrique Moura of MST, the landless workers’ movement of Brazil, leading the group in the chant “Globalize the struggle, globalize hope!” The group then all walked out of the building with youth from the U.S.-based Grassroots Global Justice Alliance leading chants of “No REDD, no REDD!”

“We have called for 1,000 Cancuns around the world today,” said Josie Riffaud of La Via Campesina, referring to the need for grassroots communities to take the lead in proposing solutions to the ecological crisis. “The first of these took place this morning inside the Moon Palace.”

Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project opened the event by evoking the name of Lee Kyung Hae, the South Korean farmer and La Via Campesina member who took his life during mobilizations against the World Trade Organization here in 2003 wearing a sign saying “The WTO Kills Farmers.”

“Then we were fighting against the World Trade Organization,” Petermann said. “Today we have to fight the World Carbon Trade Organization,” said Petermann.

“We see that the Mexican government is attempting to get an agreement out of Cancun, but with the spirit of Copenhagen, both in the process and in the content,” said Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth International. “We are bearing witness to parallel meetings and secret negotiations.”

Mari Rose Taruc of the Asia Pacific Environmental Network spoke about the 1,000 Cancuns happening in the United States. “We have actions and events in over 30 states in the U.S. organized by people suffering impacts of pollution and climate change.”

Representatives of ALBA countries also expressed their solidarity with the people and condemned the moves of developed countries to avoid their historical responsibility and climate debt. “There is a lot of talk here in Cancun about money, about chainsaws and about plantations but there is little talk about forests or about the real work of the people who confront climate change everyday.” said Miguel Lovera, Chief Adviser of Paraguay. Paul Oquin, Head of the Nicaraguan delegation publicly expressed the support of Nicaragua and the ALBA countries to La Via Campesina and all the social movements in their struggle.

On the steps of the Moon Palace, together with the social movement representatives, Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon stated that what is most important is the struggle of the people and their demands for real solutions to climate change. “If the temperature increases to 4 degrees Celsius as we are seeing it now in the negotiations, we are going to see hundreds of thousands of people die. Every year, 300,000 people die because of natural disasters caused by climate change. This will grow to millions if we do not have, here, a real agreement, instead of a Cancun-hagen”.

The press conference and action that followed was coordinated with a march of 5000 people in the streets outside led by La Via Campesina. Social movement and civil society representatives together with Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon and Chief Paraguayan Adviser Miguel Lovera then went outside to join the small farmers, indigenous people, women, environmentally affected peoples, environmental organizations and other social movements and activists who marched for hours in the Mexican sun, culminating in a People’s Assembly in the street.

“Today, there were 1,000 Cancuns all over the world and with this we are sending the message to the governments inside the negotiations that the people have 1,000 solutions to the climate crisis that uphold the rights of the people and Mother Earth,” stated Carlos Marentes of La Via Campesina.


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Limited Access and Crack Downs on Civil Society

Civil Society members and guests of GJEP punished for chanting in UN Conference Center

By: Shannon Gibson


Ph.D. Candidate

University of Miami

The Secretariat issued a new Information Note to Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations today which details the access restrictions for IGO and NGOs as the High Level Segment commences this afternoon.  Reports from our own members (the Climate Justice Now! constituency within the Environmental NGO’s delegation, indicate that we’ll have a whopping 2 passes for plenary access (mind you there are hundreds accredited under our network).  As I type this now, I myself am sitting in a plenary hall watching the Opening Ceremony of the High Level Segment via a live feed over closed circuit televisions.  Additionally, the Note ominously states, “Participants are however reminded of the building fire regulations, and that it is the responsibility of the secretariat to ensure implementation of policies for the safety and security of the participants on the UN conference premises.”  Last I checked, not that many high-level ministers were coming this week….maybe a few dozen.  How an extra few dozen high-level ministers (even with their entourages) justifies the exclusion of hundreds/thousands of civil society members sure beats me.  But then again, they used that same logic on us last year in Copenhagen…..

In terms of action crack downs, following a GJEP-hosted press conference inside the Moon Palace, United Nations security confiscated badges and forced activists engaging in an ‘non-sanctioned’ verbal chant into buses which transported them back to the Cancunmesse (the convention location where most NGO side events and meeting spaces are located…notably a 15 minute bus ride from the main plenary locations).  Below is an excerpt from an email sent by a member of Climate Justice Now! on what she witnessed (names removed to prevent future UN access restrictions):

Today following the CJN press conference in the Moon Palace, 3 of the activists…were very vocal and leading the chants, speaking to eager reporters who taped their speeches.  Then the UN security got a ‘deportation bus’ to usher them out of the Moon Palace, back to Cancunmesse and then out (presumably), after first confiscating their badges.

I was standing near the three of them, behind some reporter, and holding up the back of my badge which had the anti-REDD sticker on the back.  I reminded the speakers to announce their contact info to the media, so they could track them down later.  At that point a security officer asked to see my badge…I said he could see everything printed on it very well, without removing my badge.  He then snatched it from me by force.  I shouted to the media, who were still witnessing the ‘deportation’ of the 3 activists.  I told them my badge was taken without grounds, because I asked a simple question.  One journalist pressed him for an explanation, he said “I don’t have to explain, I am UN security”.  The journalist said of course you have to.  I guess eventually he decided it was bad PR, so after taking down my info, he returned my badge to me.   [A colleague] from GAIA saw when the guy snatched my badge, and came to ask him why he did it.  Immediately another security went after her!  He took down her info, but didn’t take away her badge.

Tomorrow, those of us whose names were taken may find ourselves blocked out.  But in front of one of the remaining secret service person, I told the reporters that I will let them know if I got excluded in later days because of today’s incidence.  Hope that deters them a bit.

For a photo essay of the inside protests by GJEP Director Orin Langelle, click here.

Shannon Gibson is working with Global Justice Ecology Project during COP16/CMP6 to provide daily negotiation updates and policy analysis.  She is a Ph.D. candidate in International Studies at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where she researches issues pertaining to global environmental politics and global civil society.

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Photo Essay: Action! Protest Erupts In Halls of UN Climate Negotiations: Youth Delegates Ejected

“Thousand Cancúns” action comes to the UN Climate Conference

All Photos by Orin Langelle/ Global Justice Ecology Project – Global Forest Coalition

Cancún, Mexico, December 7, 2010—the “Day of 1,000 Cancuns” actions.  A press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project and organized by La Via Campesina, Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth turned into a spontaneous action as speakers expressed anger over the direction of the climate talks in Cancún. Following the press conference, activists from Youth 4 Climate Justice led the protest out of the climate talks.

(protest description continued below photos)


Youth Activists Lead Protest Out of Press Conference

Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon Speaks at the Protest

Three Youth Activists are Evicted from the UN Conference

10 Thousand Hectares of Jatropha Fed the Biodiesel Buses In Which the Youth Activists Were Evicted

Continued from Above:

The press conference began with Moderator Anne Petermann, of Global Justice Ecology Project evoking the name of Lee Kyung Hae, the South Korean farmer and member of La Via Campesina who committed suicide atop the barricades during protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Cancún in 2003.  She pointed out that it is now climate change that is killing farmers and other marginalized peoples, and that the UN Climate Conference has degenerated into the World Carbon Trade Organization.

Speakers at the press conference included Delegates from the Paraguayan and Nicaraguan delegations, as well as Tom Goldtooth, of Indigenous Environmental Network, Mary Rose Taruc of the the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Kari Fulton of Youth 4 Climate Justice, Josie Riffaud of La Via Campesina, Luis Enrique of the MST of Brazil, and Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth International.

Following the press conference, activists from Youth for Climate Justice and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance led a protest out of the press conference and onto the front stairs, where Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon spoke to the crowd and the media frenzy.   The youth activists went on to loudly denounce the inaccessibility and unjust nature of the talks and express outrage over having been repeatedly denied permission to hold a youth delegation protest on the UN grounds.  As the youth marched away, they were accosted by UN security, stripped of their badges, put onto buses and evicted from the climate conference.

Simultaneous to this action, La Via Campesina was holding a mass march on the highway leading to the Moon Palace–where the climate conference is taking place.

To view the UN footage of the press conference, click here


Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, UNFCCC

Photo Essay: Second Indigenous Peoples Protest at Climate Summit

The following photos were taken in the late afternoon of Thursday, December 3rd, outside of the Moon Palace, where countries from around the world are negotiating its fate.  This protest was organized by the International Forum on Indigenous Issues.   Indigenous peoples, whose rights have been historically ignored by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held a protest to demand the inclusion of their rights in any climate agreement.

Indigenous Peoples have been some of the traditional caretakers of the forests and it is on Indigenous lands where most of the Earth’s intact ecosystems can be found.  These lands are now under threat because of the determination of Industrialized countries to create market-based climate schemes.  Because they are based on the market, these schemes threaten to worsen the problem of global land grabs and displace Indigenous communities from their traditional lands.

This protest followed another protest earlier in the day organized by Indigenous Environmental Network, that targeted Canada’s tarsands gigaproject.  To view that photo essay, click here

All photos below by Anne Petermann/ Global Justice Ecology Project – Global Forest Coalition.

The protest turned into a media feeding frenzy.

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Photo Essay: First 2 Protests at Cancún UN Climate Convention

Two Photo essays by Orin Langelle/GJEP-GFC:

Wastepickers protest outside of UN Negotiations, 1 Dec

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Global Alliance of Wastepickers and Allies (GAWA) stage protest in front of the entrance to the Exposition Center where the UN climate negotiations are taking place.  All photos by Orin Langelle/ GJEP-GFC

GAIA’s Ananda Tan negotiates with security to allow the protest to continue


Indigenous Peoples Protest Canada’s Tarsands Gigaproject on 2 December

The Indigenous Environmental Network and allies protest the Tar Sands gigaproject scheme in front of the Moon Palace where UN climate negotiations are taking place.  All photos by Orin Langelle/ GJEP-GFC

Canada’s massive tarsands gigaproject draws protest from Indigenous Peoples who come from the communities it is and will impact

Maude Barlow, of the Council of Canadians, speaks out against Canada’s toxic tarsands gigaproject

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Welcome to Cancun: Police State Anyone?

By Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project

On November 25th in Denmark, Stine and Tannie, friends of GJEP Co-Director/ Strategist Orin Langelle and myself, were sentenced to four months of probation for violating Denmark’s anti-terrorism laws. Their crime: organizing for climate justice under the auspices of the international Climate Justice Action alliance.

They were arrested and convicted for being effective spokespeople and organizers.  For being strong women who stood up against the threats of state repression on behalf of the billions of voiceless people shut out of the UN Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen.  The people already suffering the impacts of the climate crisis—floods, droughts, the very ground beneath some communities melting away before their very eyes.

I had first met Stine in Copenhagen in September 2008 at the meeting where Climate Justice Action was founded.  More than 120 activists from around the world had come together to lay the groundwork for massive protests at the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2009. Orin and I got to know her better at subsequent CJA meetings in Poznan, Poland, Belem, Brazil and again in Copenhagen in March 2009.  Then, on December 3rd, when Orin and I emerged exhausted and bleary from our international flight to Copenhagen for the climate talks, Stine and Tannie met us with hugs at the airport, video camera in hand, and kindly led our exhausted selves from the airport to our hotel.  We spent the next several days in public spaces finalizing plans for the Reclaim Power action and playing “spot the undercover cop,” which most times was not difficult as they were straining so hard to hear us that they nearly fell off their chairs.

Stine, being Danish, was one of the foremost spokespeople for Climate Justice Action.  Over the months leading up to the Copenhagen Climate COP, she explained the logic of the “Reclaim Power” action that was to take place on December 16th—the day the high level Ministers arrived.  At this action, observers, delegates and Indigenous Peoples marched out of the failing climate talks at the Bella Center in protest not only of their ineffectiveness, but of their outright corruption by industry and the market.  At the same time that the halls of the Bella Center echoed with the booming voices of those reclaiming their power on the inside, Stine and Tannie were leading a contingent of demonstrators on the outside who were marching toward the Bella Center with the intent of meeting those marching out at the security fence that divided the sanctioned or “accredited” participants from those who were not.  The concept of the action was that those disaffected participants from the inside would meet the excluded from the outside and hold a “Peoples’ Assembly” at the fence where participants could discuss real solutions to the climate crisis and strategize ways to make real change.   Security, however, had other ideas and forcibly stopped both contingents before they met at the fence—using truncheons, pepper spray and whatever other “less lethal” weapons they happened to have on hand.

At that moment, the UNFCCC exposed its true self.  It had for years become increasingly undemocratic and repressive and now it was showing the world through this over zealous heavy-handed response to the simple demand of people to meet and talk.  Exposing the UNFCCC was one of the intentions of the action.  We knew the UNFCCC would show its true colors if confronted with people powerfully demanding justice and free speech.

Though she led the march on the outside, Stine was, in fact, accredited by Global Justice Ecology Project and had participated on the inside of the COP—in particular the day before the march out where she spoke at a Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now! joint press conference that GJEP had helped arrange.

We knew the “Reclaim Power” action would be a success when Stine walked into the packed press conference room and the cameras began flashing.

But for the action, Stine chose to be part of the group marching to the Bella Center from the outside.  She and Tannie stood on the sound truck and spoke to the crowd about the importance of the action and of standing up for climate justice in the face of oppressive climate negotiations where business and the markets reigned supreme.  When they approached the fence surrounding the Bella Center, they were violently yanked off of the truck by Danish security and arrested under terrorism charges for the heresy of insisting that people have a say in the increasingly urgent issue of the climate crisis.

The timing of the sentencing—nearly a full year after the so-called “crime” was committed, was undoubtedly to warn any ne’er-do-wells at the 2010 Cancun Climate Conference of the consequences of messing with the UN.  The UNFCCC does not want the image of being seen as a target for major protests by “civil society” groups and people around the world who are fed up with their inaction.

I first saw them demonstrate this uneasiness at the Climate Conference (COP-14) in December 2008.  During this climate conference, Climate Justice Now!—the alliance of organizations representing social movements, small farmers, fisherfolk and others on the front lines of the climate crisis—held a press conference.  At this press conference it was announced that Climate Justice Now! was joining together with Climate Justice Action to mobilize protests around the world on the opening day of the Copenhagen Climate conference (COP-15) the next year.  Coincidentally, this COP was timed to open on November 30, 2009—the ten-year anniversary of the “Battle of Seattle” where the meetings of the World Trade Organization were shut down by massive street protests.  This was where “Teamsters and Turtles” united to demonstrate the power that could be wielded when movements united to confront their common root causes—in that case, the WTO—the vilified symbol of corporate globalization, or neoliberalism.  CJN announced at the press conference in Poznan that we would be using that auspicious anniversary to organize protests around the world that would expose the similarities between the World Trade Organization and the UNFCCC—which had become the “World Carbon Trade Organization.”

The very next day, the UNFCCC Secretariat announced a change in plans.  COP-15 in Copenhagen would begin exactly one week later—on December 7th.

We had shown them our intentions and they had backed down.

The build up for the actions in Copenhagen created a rowdy spirit of resistance during the negotiations.  The African delegations walked out of the plenary chanting, “Two degrees is suicide!” when developed countries stated they would be unable to agree to any action that would limit overall global warming to less than two degrees.  Indigenous activists marched against the lack of respect given to the rights of Indigenous Peoples—especially with regard to the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme.  The Youth contingent protested almost daily.  When Obama waltzed into the talks to announce his secretly negotiated “Copenhagen Accord,” even the press booed.  The Secretariat could see the writing on the wall when they would have to face off against Latin America’s brand of resistance the next year at COP-16, which was scheduled for Mexico City.

Their response was to move the talks to Cancun, ironically the place where the WTO had met fierce resistance in 2003 and where Lee Kyung Hae, a South Korean farmer, committed suicide by plunging a knife into his heart atop the barricade protecting the WTO from the people.  His act of martyrdom helped kill the talks that year, which fell apart largely over agriculture.

Cancun, overall, is much more defensible than Mexico City and the location chosen by the Secretariat for COP-16 has multiple benefits.  First it is very small, allowing them to reduce the number of observers by around 40% and the number of press by over half.  Second, it is on the beach south of the hotel zone in Cancun, and has a four kilometer radius perimeter.  It will be heavily patrolled and almost impossible to approach without official sanction—aka the UNFCCC accreditation badge.

Before we even got onto the plane to head to Cancun, we were told by allies on the ground that the city is already under siege with military force visible everywhere.

Once more we threatened the UNFCCC with our collective power, and again they chose to hunker down behind fences and military.

Civil society participation at this COP has become almost impossible.  The Secretariat has organized the logistics so that the important delegates are all staying on site at the Moon Palace—site of the negotiations.  The rest of the activities take place at the Cancun Messe, a 20 minute bus ride farther away—when there is no traffic.

In order for the rest of us to access the Moon Palace without taking a $300P taxi is to take the shuttle bus which bypasses the Moon Palace and takes its cargo further south to the Cancun Messe.  From there, one must catch Bus #9 (Number nine, Number nine, Number nine…) back to the Moon Palace.  On the day that I am writing this (from the bus), I have been on the bus for almost two hours and we are not even to the Cancun Messe yet.

AND we have been warned by some of the country delegates that Observers may lose their access to the buses from the Cancun Messe at any time if we misbehave.  They could just shut down bus access for non-Parties (that is NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, social movements, media…people, that is, as opposed to governments).

Business and the market control the UNFCCC and now they have shown their true colors.  We have exposed them.  Now it is time for us to take the power to act against climate change back into our own hands.  They cannot do it.  They will not allow us to participate.  We must find other means.

There is no other choice.

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Cancún: Stories of climate-impacted people amplified

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Voices of Climate-impacted People and Communities Amplified at UN Climate Conference in Cancún

Oakland, CA (U.S.)Global Justice Ecology Project‘s New Voices on Climate Change announced today that they are working with other Non-Governmental Organizations, Indigenous Peoples Organizations and social movements to amplify the voices of people and communities impacted by the climate crisis during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC meets in Cancún, Mexico from 29 November through 10 December 2010.

Global Justice Ecology Project is sending a media team to Cancún to work closely with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Forest Coalition, Climate Justice Now!, ETC Group, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Global Exchange and La Via Campesina.

These and other allied groups will draw attention to the root causes of the climate crisis and present ecologically appropriate climate solutions based in equity, human rights and community action.

Global Justice Ecology Project will also provide extensive coverage of the climate conference on their Climate Connections blog.


Jeff Conant jc@globaljusticeecology.org +1.575.770.2829 [English and Spanish]

Hallie Boas hallie@globaljusticeecology.org + [English]

Orin Langelle orinl@globaljusticeecology.org +1.802.578.6980 [English]

(Above contacts will have local mobile phones in Cancún.)


Voces de los pueblos y las comunidades afectados por el cambio climático en la cumbre de la ONU en Cancún

Oakland, CA (EEUU) -El programa Nuevas Voces sobre Cambio Climático de Global Justice Ecology Project (Proyecto Justicia Ecológica Mundial) informó el día de hoy que está trabajando con otras Organizaciones No-Gubernamentales, las organizaciones de los Pueblos Indígenas y los movimientos sociales para resaltar las voces de los pueblos y las comunidades afectados por el cambio climático durante la conferencia de la Convención Marco del as Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (CMNUCC). La conferencia de la CMNUCC realizará en Cancún, México del 29 de noviembre al 10 de diciembre de 2010.

Global Justice Ecology Project está enviando un equipo de medios de comunicación a Cancún para trabajar estrechamente con Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Forest Coalition, Climate Justice Now!, ETC Group, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Global Exchange y La Vía Campesina.

Éstos y otros grupos aliados enfatizarán las causas verdaderas de la crisis climática y propondrán las soluciones ecológicamente apropiadas en base de la equidad, los derechos humanos y la participación comunitaria.

Global Justice Ecology Project también proporcionar cubertura extensiva de la cumbre sobre cambio climático en su blog Climate Connections.


Jeff Conant jc@globaljusticeecology.org +1.575.770.2829 [inglés y español]

Hallie Boas hallie@globaljusticeecology.org + [inglés]

Orin Langelle orinl@globaljusticeecology.org +1.802.578.6980 [inglés]

(Estos contactos tendrán celulares con números telefónicos locales en Cancún.)

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Earth Minute on KPFK Sojourner Truth Radio Program

Listen to Global Justice Ecology Project’s most recent Earth Minute and join La Via Campesina‘s call for “Thousands of Cancuns,” the mobilization to end false solutions to climate change at the UN Convention on Climate Change (UN COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico.

Click here to listen!

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