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“Bolivian climate conference signals hope despite failed Copenhagen climate talks”, reads the press release issued by environmentalist federation Friends of the Earth International.
From April 19-22, the World Peoples´ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth will be held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Friends of the Earth International welcomes the conference and several representatives of the federation from different regions will travel to Bolivia to work together with social movements, non-governmental organizations, government representatives, intellectuals and Indigenous Peoples from tens of countries.
The aim of the conference (promoted by Bolivian President Evo Morales) is to open up a space for civil society and certain government representatives to coalesce around common, just demands and propose solutions. It also aims to give a new impetus and direction to the UN talks on climate change.
The latest UN Conference was held in December, 2009, in Copenhagen and it was a big failure due to the lack of commitments by industrialized countries and their attempts to reach a biased agreement outside the official negotiations.
Over 240 social movements and organizations from around the world support the Peoples´ Conference on climate change, where there will be 17 working groups which will produce proposals on, for instance, the Kyoto Protocol, the dangers of carbon markets, climate debt, agriculture and food sovereignty.
During the Copenhagen conference, Bolivian President proposed to carry out a world referendum on climate change, after signals that there wouldn´t be an agreement there due to the differences between the lifestyles of the industrialized countries and those which are not. “Let´s ask the people, and do as they tell us”, he said. This referendum could take place on October 12th.
Morales proposes to ask the world population if they agree with 1) restoring harmony with nature, 2) changing this overconsumption model, 3) developed countries reducing emissions to limit the increase of world temperature to 1 degree Celsius, 4) a climate change budget larger than the Defense budget, 5) the creation of a climate justice tribunal to try those who commit crimes against Mother Earth.
According to the statement issued on Thursday by Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey, FoEI´s Chair, said “Bolivia’s positioning on environmental issues provides a beacon of hope which we encourage other governments and local authorities to follow. Despite being economically challenged, Bolivia has rightfully and bravely stood up to the divide and rule tactics that have been deployed by rich industrialised countries.”
Bassey highlighted that the “The UN Climate Convention sets out basic principles of developed country responsibilities for current and historical emissions that are routinely undermined.” “Furthermore, the UNFCCC has become deeply manipulated and weakened by the governmental promotion of corporate interests above environmentally and socially sound solutions to climate change,” he added.
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