August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Democracy Now: Groups Protest UN Climate Summit for Shutting out Civil Society

GONZALO ZAPATA: [translated] We were covering a peaceful march of some young people, and suddenly U.N. security asked for a truck to come to take the kids away, who weren’t doing anything to deserve that. Then they grabbed a companion. They put him on the bus and started to take him away while beating him.

Patrick Bond: 'Climate Capitalism' won at Cancun -- Everyone else loses

‘Climate Capitalism’ Won At Cancun - Everyone Else Loses
By Patrick Bond/ZNet
Photo copyright Ben Powlesss, Mohawk (Via Campesina's Carlos Marentas on far left with IEN's Tom Goldtooth second from right at Peoples March in Cancun.)
Excerpt ...
REDD as wedge
Besides Bolivian leadership, the world’s best hope for contestation of these power relationships rests with civil society. Along with La Via Campesina network of peasant organizations, which attracted a Mexico-wide caravan and staged a militant march that nearly reached the airport access road on the morning of December 7 as heads of state flew into Cancun, the most visible poor peoples’ representatives were from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). On December 8, IEN spokesperson Tom Goldtooth was denied entry to the UN forum due to his high-profile role in non-violent protests.
According to Goldtooth, Cancun’s ‘betrayal’ is “the consequence of an ongoing US diplomatic offensive of backroom deals, arm-twisting and bribery that targeted nations in opposition to the Copenhagen Accord.” For Goldtooth, an ardent opponent of REDD, “Such strategies have already proved fruitless and have been shown to violate human and Indigenous rights. The agreements implicitly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies, and land grabs – anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions. Language ‘noting’ rights is exclusively in the context of market mechanisms, while failing to guarantee safeguards for the rights
of peoples and communities, women and youth.”
In the same way, the Green Fund was promoted by World Bank president Robert Zoellick, whose highest-profile speech to a side conference promised to extend the REDD commodification principle to broader sectors of agriculture and even charismatic animals like tigers, in alliance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. On December 8, protests demanded that the World Bank be evicted from climate financing, in part because under Zoellick the institution’s annual fossil fuel investments rose from $1.6 billion to $6.3 billion, and in part because the Bank promotes export-led growth, resource extraction, energy privatisation and carbon markets with unshaken neoliberal dogma.
According to Grace Garcia from Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, “Only a gang of lunatics would think it is a good idea to invite the World Bank to receive climate funds, with their long-standing track-record of financing the world’s dirtiest projects and imposition of death-sentencing conditionalities on our peoples.”
Unfortunately, however, some indigenous people’s groups and Third World NGOs do buy into REDD, and well-funded Northern allies such as the market-oriented Environmental Defense Fund have been using divide-and-conquer tactics to widen the gaps. The danger this presents is extreme, because the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) strategy set in place by Al Gore in 1997 – when he mistakenly (and self-interestedly) promised that the US would endorse the Kyoto Protocol if carbon trading was central to the deal – may well continue to fracture climate advocacy.
REDD is one of several blackmail tactics from the North, by which small sums are paid for projects such as tree-planting or forest conservation management.
Read more on Climate debt and command-and-control at:

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