Bring Cochabamba to Cancun!

October 16, 2010
World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights held in Cochabmba, Bolivia in April. Photo: TheCityProject

The following call was issued by Canadian-based non-government organisations, community groups and individuals to join the growing global movement for climate justice. It calls for mobilising in the lead-up and during the United Nations climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, over November 27-December 10.

The call was issued at a meeting of the endorsees with Bolivian President Evo Morales during the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York on September 23. The Bolivian government hosted a “people’s summit” for real action on climate change in Cochabamba in April that drew representatives of social movements and parties from around the world.

The call has been endorsed by, among others: the Council of Canadians; the Indigenous Environmental Network; Nord-Sud XXI; Grassroots International; the Toronto Bolivia Solidarity; the Blue Planet Project; May First/People Link; theGlobal Justice Ecology Project; the Loretto Community; the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council; and the National Family Farm Coalition, a member of Via Campesina North America.

The call is reprinted from

* * *

We the undersigned representatives of social movements and NGO’s affirm the need for urgent action in the lead-up to the Cancun climate negotiations, both in Mexico and internationally.

We believe these negotiations are a pivotal moment for demanding action in advancing climate justice.

During the past summer, there have been severe wildfires in Russia, devastating floods in Pakistan, mudslides in China, droughts in the Sahel and Niger, and an 87-square-kilometre chunk of ice has broken off from Greenland — all are consistent with the impacts of which climate scientists have long been warning.

With the future of humanity and the balance of Mother Earth at stake, we have a collective responsibility to hold our governments accountable, especially those in the global North that have disproportionately contributed to the crisis, to commit to urgent and meaningful action.

The Cancun negotiations are also crucial because key proposals from the Cochabamba People’s Agreement are included in the negotiating text. The proposals, the “Cochabamba Accord”, must be acted upon if humanity is to avert catastrophic and runaway climate change, and make the urgent transition to a low-carbon society in an equitable and fair manner.

The democratic, bottom-up process from which these proposals emerged at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights in April — a significant coming together of indigenous peoples, social movements and NGOs — deserves our support.

With these points in mind, we:

• Support Mexican civil-society in demanding the government of Mexico provide open spaces, without interference, for civil-society events and discussion.

• Welcome the diversity of events planned by our comrades in Mexico, including caravans, a November 30 demonstration in Mexico City, a people’s tribunal on climate justice, alternative spaces for workshops and events, and more. We support a coordinated strategy to ensure effective mobilisation to demand climate justice and support for the Cochabamba Agreement.

• Encourage everyone who recognises the need for system change, not climate change, to express this by mobilising in communities across the world before, during, and after the Cancun negotiations. The advance of climate justice depends on the collective voices and actions of people across the world.

• Urge support for coordinated events in the lead-up to Cancun, including the 10/10/10 Global Work party, the October 12 Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, the October 12 Global Mobilisation for Defence of Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples, and the organising of People’s Assemblies on Climate Justice. During the UN negotiations, we join the call originating from Via Campesina for “thousands of Cancuns” on the December 7 global day of action, with events and actions worldwide to add strength and visibility to the mobilisations in Mexico; and all other mobilisations supporting the principles of Climate Justice.

• Seek to continue, beyond Cancun, to popularise the climate justice demands formulated at the Cochambamba People’s Summit, including through organising work towards the proposed global referendum on climate change; and, finally, to encourage broad participation in the second World People’s Summit on Climate Change, planned for 2011.

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