It was only 2 weeks ago that I sat, exhausted and hopeful, waiting in a café as part of my long journey back to Ottawa, writing my blog ‘A Better World Really is Possible: Experiences from Cochabamba.’
Having just finished writing an op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen (read here) and reflecting on the significance of the agreement coming out of Cochabamba, I argued that, with our support, the Cochabamba Accord can be an important document with the potential to influence future climate negotiations, including in Cancun this November, that it could not only provide an alternative proposal to the Copenhagen Accord, but also bring real solutions articulated by indigenous peoples and social movements in Cochabamba to the UN negotiations.
Today, Maude Barlow joined other social movement delegates to present the conclusions of the conference to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and later, the G77 and China, alongside Bolivian President Evo Morales.
This is significant.
Not only are social movement delegates presenting directly to the UN Secretary General, the agreement is indeed moving forward for consideration under the climate negotiations of the UN. The draft Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth is also moving forward.
Social movement delegates include, Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria) and Asad Rehman (UK) from the organization Friends of the Earth, Yoon Guem Soon (South Korea) and Tomás Balduino (Brazil) of Via Campesina, Meena Raman (Mayalysia) of Third World Network, Jeremy Osborn (USA) of 350.org, Tom Goldtooth (USA) of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Enrique Daza (Colombia) of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, and Maude Barlow (Canada) of the Blue Planet Project.
Cochabamba: a ‘game changer’
Today’s events have me reflecting again on the significance of the conference and what we experienced in Cochabamba. In this spirit, here are a couple of links to pieces coming out of Cochabamba that I think present an honest picture of the conference and raise some important highlights:
A New Climate Movement in Bolivia. In this piece featured in The Nation, Klein argues that it was not only meaningful in bringing forward clear demands and ‘next steps’ (Klein focuses on climate debt), but also in providing an example of a participatory, albeit at times messy, process:
“With the Cochabamba summit, Bolivia is trying to take what it has accomplished at the national level and globalize it, inviting the world to participate in drafting a joint climate agenda ahead of the next UN climate gathering, in Cancún. In the words of Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solón, “The only thing that can save mankind from a tragedy is the exercise of global democracy.” If he is right, the Bolivian process might save not just our warming planet but our failing democracies as well. Not a bad deal at all.”
Note’s from Cochabamba by Pat Mooney. Mooney provides a useful summary of his experiences at the conference, including the launch of ‘H.O.M.E. Hands Off Mother Earth – Our Home is Not a Laboratory’ campaign that is challenging geo-engineering, one of the many false solutions to climate change (alongside nuclear, agrofuels, transgenic crops and GM tree plantations) exposed at the conference and in the agreement. Here is a picture of Maude posing with for the H.O.M.E. campaign.
Here you will find an interview with Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. Goldtooth was ever present at the conference, the IEN fully participated in the working group process and brought forward a clear message (which you will hear in this interview) about the need for the restoration and conservation of forests to happen outside of carbon markets. Ben Powless, also involved with the IEN, played an important role as a ‘secretary’ for one of the working groups at the conference, you can read his blogs featured on Rabble about his journey to Cochabamba from Copenhagen, passing through the Amazon, here and see his picture gallery here
Finally, I’d like to highlight the Climate Justice Now! statement on Cochabamba which you can find here.