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Climate Justice

Climate Justice Movement increases potency in Cancun



By Arielle Balbus, Brown University

On Tuesday, December 7th, “1,000 Cancuns” recognized the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.  La Via Campesina, Klimaforum, and Dialogo Climatico-Espacio Mexicano as well as activists in over 20 countries worldwide took to the streets to make a strong statement about who is most affected by climate change and how it should be resolved internationally.

The official slogan of La Via Campesina’s march was “Small Farmers Cool the Planet”.  From November 25-December 10, La Via Campesina convened the “Forum for Life, Social and Environmental Justice”, which focused on building a potent climate justice movement among the largely rural and indigenous groups who traveled in caravans from across Mexico and beyond.

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President Morales tells world leaders not to forget the people



By Adam Kotin, Emily Kirkland and Guy Edwards, Brown University

Following the release of two new negotiating texts yesterday, today’s high-level segment is set to chart a course for the next 36 hours of high-octane negotiations. COP16 President Patricia Espinosa said that she is optimism for a productive outcome but nothing is guaranteed at this delicate stage.

During the conference numerous experts have reminded us that reaching an agreement is an extremely difficult task. However, many have consistently stated that sufficient political will could break the impasse. Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose position has been under fire for his consistent critic of developed countries’ feet dragging and climate debt, gave an impassioned speech on why the international community must make history in Cancun. Here we capture some of his remarks given earlier this morning:

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Via Campesina March in Cancun


By Adam Kotin, Brown University

Excerpts from the Via Campesina March, Cancun, Mexico, December 7, 2010. A civil society response to COP16, the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Protestors came from all over the world to participate in the movement. They marched several kilometres towards the Moon Palace, where negotiations were being held, until they were stopped by a massive police barricade.

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The Via Campesina Caravan rolls into town


Meena Menon over at the Climate Change Media Partnership has the latest on the Via Campesina’s alternative NGO forum in Cancun for the COP16:

Led by Via Campesina, or the International Peasant Movement, farmers have been traveling around Mexico to get here by caravan. A day of protests Dec. 7 to reject the “false and market based solutions” to climate  change is one of several actions planned.

Positioned as a direct challenge to the United Nations climate change conference, Via Campesina has a presence in over 70 countries, uniting farmers, workers and indigenous people to stake a claim for their rights and make their voices heard, the organizers said.

Unlike venues of some past UN climate summits like Copenhagen, the arrangement in Cancun is to disperse them across a large area separated by security points. Another alternative forum of NGOS, Klima Forum, is an hour bus ride from the main UN venue.

“It is impossible for people to go near the conference or have any say,” remarked Paul Nicholson, member of the Basque Farmers Union. The Via Campesina Global Forum is a platform for grassroots movements  which need a space to express their dissent and discuss solutions.

To read the program of events for the Via Campesina’s Forum for Life, Environmental and Social Justice taking place from the 4th to 10th December in Cancun click here.

Interview with Yolanda Kakabadse on climate debt, Cancun and Latin American civil society


In this interview with one of Latin America’s sustainable development heavy-weights, we discuss the prospects for the Cancun climate change talks and the involvement of Latin American countries, climate debt, the role of civil society and Ecuadorian climate politics.

Yolanda Kakabadse is the current president of the WWF and the Latin America Network Director for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Previously the Minister of Environment in Ecuador, Yolanda also set-up the Quito-based Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA). Yolanda has been granted numerous awards including by the UN for her contribution to the environment and development in Latin America.

1. Do you feel optimistic that Latin American countries can work together to push for an international agreement in Cancun this December?

Hopefully, Cancun is going to be different to Copenhagen. The best scenario is that it does not become a moment for negotiations but rather an opportunity to become a platform for dialogue. Dialogue should focus on where there is agreement and understanding.

This could help countries agree what they can negotiate later on and establish what is disturbing the negotiations and therefore what should be clarified. There is currently so much division between blocks that going into Cancun to negotiate could prove to be more divisive. Further confrontation should be avoided to maintain faith in the UN process.

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Columbia – High Level Segment – COP15

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