August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, December 10, 2010

Closing Session UN Climate Change Conference

Bolivia and allies strive to protect Mother Earth and humanity, while the majority of countries speak with the voice of sellouts

Webcam of closing session of UN Conference on Climate Change COP 16:
Photo: Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Salon/Photo copyright Ben Powless, Mohawk
By Brenda Norrell Censored News

CANCUN -- Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Salon addressed the UN conference tonight. Salon began by saying he was denied the floor earlier, and has repeatedly endured harassment from security in order to enter the sessions, even though he is clearly the official negotiator for Bolivia.
Salon said Bolivia is not prepared to sign the existing document which will increase deaths from global warming. He said the current document does not ensure the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Venezuela's negotiator Claudia Salerno supported Bolivia and urged the delegates not to give up.
The Cuban negotiator praised the efforts of Bolivian President Evo Morales. He said Indigenous Peoples have made it known that there must be a balance between humans and nature. Further, he said non-governmental organizations and social movements should play a role in the final document, and it should be submitted to the people.
"We are talking about the survival of the human race."
He said Bolivia speaks on behalf of the human race and deserves recognition.
He pointed out that the document now before the conference allows for an increase in global warming and does not ensure the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.
The negotiator from Ecuador described the floods and disasters that have resulted in millions of refugees. He also pointed out that the Constitution of Ecuador recognizes the Rights of Mother Earth. He pressed for greater efforts to halt the increase in greenhouse gases.
"We must demand more from ourselves," he said, voicing support for the efforts of Bolivia.
Although Bolivia and its allies spoke out for the ultimate protection of Mother Earth and humanity, the majority of the countries tonight wasted too much time praising one another, congratulating one another, and wandering around.
Too many countries ignored the threat of an increase in global warming in the current document, and focused instead on giving dollars to poor countries so polluting countries could continue to pollute.
The majority of countries spoke with the voice of sellouts. They are like kidnap victims who come to love their kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the COP President said that this is an informal session and the negotiators still must go to the working groups and then to the plenary tonight, Friday night, at the final session.
Echoing the comments of other countries, the negotiator from Zambia said the current document is not perfect, but is a building block, to be carried forward to the next UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa in 2011.
The official working groups of COP16 began meeting at midnight on Friday night, to be followed by the plenary session and closure of COP16.
President Evo Morales was given a mandate by the people, the Peoples Agreement, to carry forward from Cochabamba to Cancun. It is now being ignored by the majority of the countries of the world, whose negotiators are involved in self-serving acts of tunnel vision at COP 16.
Peoples Agreement, from the Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

Indigenous: Grave Concern over possible Cancun outcome

International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC)

Indigenous Groups Announce Grave Concern on Possible Cancun Outcome
Press statement
Photo copyright Ben Powless, Mohawk
December 10, 2010 (Cancun) – As the 16th UN Climate Change Conference winds down, Indigenous Peoples in attendance from around the world announced their grave concern with the possible outcomes of the negotiations.

“As Indigenous Peoples, we have been engaging in the climate negotiations for many years to express our great concern over the current and future impacts of changes in the climate on our peoples, our cultures and our rights. We are continuously saddened at the lack of political will and good faith to truly and effectively combat climate change with a legally binding agreement of states, which includes a second commitment-period of the Kyoto Protocol,” stated Joan Carling of the Philippines, on behalf of the IIPFCC.

“As members of the IIPFCC, we’ve come here to offer a number of proposals, but we feel as if we have been ignored. Today, on the International Day of Human Rights, we want to reiterate our determination to ensure protection of our rights, as laid out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our right to free, prior, and informed, consent, the recognition and protection of our traditional knowledge, and ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all climate change processes. These proposals are not fully incorporated in the text still being negotiated,” remarked Janeth Cuji of Ecuador.

“We take note and acknowledge some of the achievements in terms of including mentions of Indigenous Peoples and our rights as well as human rights in the negotiating text, but it does not yet guarantee that our rights and traditional knowledge are protected. We welcome the support of many states to our proposals and we urge all parties to incorporate them in any outcomes from Cancun and beyond,” asserted Nanta Mpaayei of Kenya.

“We remain concerned that the carbon market, including the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon offsets, and REDD+, represents a threat to Indigenous Peoples of the world and our rights. We reject the carbon market, which proposes to commercialize nature to the detriment of the world’s Indigenous Peoples and biodiversity. We demand a strong system of monitoring and compliance of states on safeguards related to REDD to ensure the protection of our rights,” noted Ben Powless, of Canada.

“We continue to practice and offer our traditional knowledge and innovations as real solutions to climate change. We want to make clear that the protection of Mother Earth is the obligation of all of humanity. For that reason, we are committed to retain our role as stewards of Mother Earth, and all the ecosystems upon which our collective survival depends,” offered Sheena Watt, of Australia.

The IIPFCC is the representative body of Indigenous Peoples participating in the UNFCCC.

To contact: Joan Carling – English: +52-1-998-108-3505
Janeth Cuji – Spanish: +52-1-998-108-7634
Nanta Mpaayei – English: +52-1-998-108-6876
Ben Powless – English/Spanish: +52-1-998-108-0745
Sheena Watt – English: +52-1-998-108-4560

Bolivia: Countries most affected make appeal for climate agreement

From Plurinational State of Bolivia
Photo: Via Campesina Peoples March Cancun/Photo copyright Brenda Norrell
Cancun, Mexico (12/10/10) - As the final hours of the COP16 conference approached, representatives of countries most affected by climate change came together to make an appeal to developed countries “to do what is right” by fulfilling an ambitious second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and providing new and additional aid for climate adaptation and mitigation.

Bruno Sekoli, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group (LDCs) said: “The situation for us is extremely desperate. Our countries are already fighting for survival. Tuvalu could be swept under the water at any time. It is very worrying to imagine what will happen ten years from now at the current rate of emissions.”

Sekoli stressed the importance of maintaining and extending the Kyoto Protocol: “We have a mechanism, the Kyoto Protocol, which was developed and invested in over a long time and which remains the only document on the table. We can improve it through amendments, but any effort to work against it is not available to the LDCs.”

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Chair of the African Group, said that 75 to 100 million people in Africa will face water shortages and that crop yields could fall by a third by 2025.

“I appeal to developed countries to do what’s right. They have shown us political, economic, even military leadership at times. It’s time for them to show climactic leadership by doing what’s right,” Mpanu said.
Mpanu stressed the importance of a binding agreement saying, “A new paradigm based on an accord that was only taken note of does not keep Africa safe. It is nothing more than a pledge club.” Appealing to Japan after its public refusal to make a second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, Mpanu said: “I understand Japan has a strong tradition of honor. They should not dishonor their commitment to Kyoto Protocol if honor is important to them.”

Pablo Solon, Ambassador to Bolivia and member of the Latin American ALBA group concluded: “Here we have the countries that will suffer most if there are no strong commitments to reduce emissions and global temperatures. Finance must be based on new and additional funds that can really go to the people that are suffering and the governments that have to respond on the ground to the serious impacts of climate change.”
“What's decided in this conference today will impact especially those countries that are represented here. We call on developed countries to seriously consider the impact of their decisions,” Solon said.

President Evo Morales: Voice of Climate Change and Protection of Mother Earth

President Evo Morales at the UNFCC Meeting in Cancun, December 9, 2010
Bolivian President Evo Morales' statement from the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP 16, in Cancun. Statement and photos from Embassy of Bolivia. Photos: President Morales speaking at La Via Campesina on Thursday evening.
On what the goal of the summit should be:
“Our aim here is to look at how to cool down planet Earth. Our planet has a high temperature, it is wounded, and we are witnessing the convulsions of planet Earth. We have an enormous responsibility toward life and humanity. … I call on leaders to take responsibility, and make history by responding to the demands of the people.”
On the experience of Bolivians of climate change:
“It causes me a lot of a pain as President to listen to my brothers and sisters talking about permanent droughts... Without water, there is no production, and without production we lack food. It may be easy for us here in an air-conditioned room to continue with the policies of destruction of Mother Earth. We need instead to put ourselves in the shoes of families in Bolivia and worldwide that lack water and food and suffer misery and hunger. I feel that many delegates here have no idea what it is like to be a victim of climate change.”
On the need to tackle the causes of climate change:
“We talk about the effects and not the causes of the multiple crises we face: the climate crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis. The climate crisis is one of the crises of capitalism. If we discuss and address these crises, we are are being responsible to our children, grandchildren and future generations.”
On the Kyoto Protocol:
“If, from here, we send the Kyoto Protocol to the rubbish bin we are responsible for ecocide and genocide because we will be sending many people to their deaths.”
On the consequences of an approach based on the Copenhagen Accord:
“According to the proposals from some powers, they are happy to put forward measures that would lead to an increase of 2 degrees Celsius and some think even of increases to 4 degrees. Imagine what our planet would look like with an increase in temperature of 2 degrees or 4 degrees, given that at 0.8 degrees we already have serious problems in the world.”
On the need to discuss the rights of nature;
“In past decades, the United Nations approved human rights, then civil rights, economic and political rights, and finally a few years ago indigenous rights. In this new century, it is time to debate and discuss rights of Mother Earth. These include the right to regenerate biocapacity, the right to life without contamination.”
On the need for new enforcement mechanisms to hold those responsible for climate change accountable:
“Laws must be complied with, which is why with much wisdom, the people have proposed creating an International Climate Justice Tribunal. We all know how important it is to create one to ensure compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.”
Against the use of carbon markets to prevent deforestation:
“We came to Cancun to save nature, forests, planet Earth. We are not here to convert nature into a commodity. We have not come here to revitalize capitalism with carbon markets.”
On the need for governments to respond to peoples' demands:
“I am convinced that if presidents take on their responsibility, not to certain powers such as multinational companies, but instead to peoples and social movements, we can advance. Why don't states here go to the Peoples' Summit in Cancun, and listen to the concrete proposals of social movements who come here in representation of the victims of global warming? Why don't we agree to a global referendum; take the historic decision of practicing global democracy, submitting ourselves to the demands of the people struggling against climate change and for life? If governments don't act, it will be the people who will force their governments to act.
On Bolivia's 'radical' position:
We are familiar with the slogan “Country or Death,” but it is better now to talk about “Planet or Death.” To try and look for an intermediary solution is to trick people. It is the major powers here that need to abandon their arrogance in the face of the peoples of the world. My experience as a social movement leader has been one of frequent attempts to isolate me by the major powers – something I am proud to do - but I will never isolate myself from the peoples.”

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