Venezuela: Global social movements push climate action

Delegates from environmental groups from around the world gathered on the Venezuelan island of Margarita this month as part of the country's “Social Precop”. The event was coordinated by the Venezuelan government in a bid to take the “voice of the people” into the United Nations talks on climate change scheduled for December in Peru.

Over several days, movements and activists put the final touches to the “Margarita Declaration” that was drafted in July after four days of debate and discussion.

The declaration includes a comprehensive set of proposals on how to address climate change and was presented to 47 ministers from different countries across the world on November 6. Many activists say the document includes a critique of capitalism that is lacking from the UN talks.

Jamie Peters, activist with Push Europe, told TeleSUR English: “We've been having these negotiations at the UN for over 20 years and they've not worked, they've not reduced temperature rises. So this is a change of direction actually, to give a platform to social movements from around the world.”

It is the first time that a “Social Precop” has been held in the history of the UN, which holds a “Conference of the Parties” (COP) on a yearly basis to discuss climate change.

The COPs have been consistently criticised by environment activists for excluding social movement voices while giving a platform to business representatives of corporations such as Shell and McDonald's. Many NGOs walked out of last year's Warsaw COP in frustration.

Beverley Keene, from Jubilee South Network, said: “They are just stalling for time when there is no time … they are not looking to change the system as the movements are.”

Social Precop's slogan is: “Let's change the system, not the climate.”

The next COP will take place in Peru in December, where the Margarita Declaration will also be discussed. Activists say Venezuela's Social Precop will play a pivotal role in trying to steer the talks in a more radical direction, before a new global treaty is hammered out in 2015 to replace the current Kyoto agreement.

The new treaty will define global policies towards addressing climate change over the next few decades.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releasing a report on November 2 that insisting climate change will have a catastrophic impact unless addressed. There is a general consensus among environmental movements that the next few years will prove decisive for the future of the planet.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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