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During the first weeks in November civil society gathered in a Social PreCOP on Climate Change in Venezuela. It was the first public consultation process where government and civil society joined to set the basis of an agreement on how to act on the threat that climate change poses. Maruska Mileta, from Young Friends of the Earth Europe, participated in the event and emphasizes how it opened up the space for civil society and social movements to articulate their vision on equal terms.
In July this year civil society and social movements from the world joined to draft a “People’s declaration” - expressing a joint vision for a social justice based response to climate change. In this November’s Social PreCOP the draft was discussed further and in the end the demands of the people was presented to environmental ministers and heads of delegations from around 30 counties. Maruska participated in the events and points to how it was the first event where a government opened the space on equal terms to civil society and social movements, to hear their voices: “I think that there was finally a space created to recognize that people need to be put before the interests of corporations and profit”.
Maruska explains that civil society reached consensus on its demands: “it was a really strong message sent from civil society and social movements to governments”. The demands includes the rejections of false solutions to the climate crisis, the rejection of corporate power and the overbearing dominance of corporations in the climate processes, and furthermore the increasing criminalization of social protest. The historical responsibility of more developed countries to the climate crisis was discussed: “we need an equitable and global agreement in Paris 2015, which is in line with justice principles”.
The French government is considering organizing a Social Pre-COP next year in Paris. However, Maruska is not convinced of its arrangement: “we do not know how this will look like and how the process will be - if they will be open to participation and how the narrative will be framed – we have to be careful about that”.
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