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UPDATE: Pablo Solón completes his term as Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN today

Solón and the Council of Canadians

Solón and the Council of Canadians

Derrick O’Keefe writes on rabble.ca that, “Today, Pablo Solón completes his term as Ambassador for the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations. As representative of a small and poor country, Solón has played a key role in perhaps the decisive political struggle of this century: the fight against climate change and the unjust economic system causing environmental and social crisis.”

“On behalf of the Bolivian government led by indigenous president Evo Morales, Solón has pushed for the UN to enshrine the right to water as a human right, and led efforts to implement a Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Most importantly of all, Pablo Solón has been at the forefront of the battle for climate justice – the effort to address the climate crisis in an urgent and equitable manner. …(He was central in) the Cochabamba People’s World Conference on Climate Change. In April 2010, more than 20,000 indigenous people, Latin American activists and delegates from around the world converged on Cochabamba, Bolivia. The summit was a space for discussion and cross-pollination, but it also set out concrete plans and proposals for achieving climate justice. …(And in Cancun) he spoke at some length, enumerating the many problems with the Cancun agreement. It was a sort of filibuster on behalf of Mother Earth.”

The Council of Canadians has worked with Solón for more than ten years, starting when he was a water activist in Bolivia, years before he became an ambassador. On June 25, 2010, at our Shout Out for Global Justice event in Toronto, Solón said, “You know I met Maude Barlow and Vandana Shiva about 10 years ago. I remember it very well because it was at a meeting in Geneva after the water wars in Cochabamba in Bolivia, after we expelled the Bechtel corporation that was privatizing the water. In those days I was a water warrior, now I am a water warrior ambassador. And now I only have a new possibility, that is to continue the fight we began more than 10 years ago. We have discussed very much with Maude, with Vandana and many of you, that there is something that we must do: We have to have water declared as a human right in the UN.” While it seemed almost an impossible dream at that time, one month later, on July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize the right to water and sanitation.

In an open letter to social movements dated June 20, Pablo Solon wrote: “I am writing to let you know that, as of June 30th, 2011, I will relinquish my post as Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations in New York. As my term draws to a close, I wish to express my deepest thanks for your friendship and solidarity, without which I am convinced we would not have been able to realize many of our achievements. Thanks to your tireless efforts on behalf of our peoples, together we have made meaningful progress on issues such as the human right to water, climate justice, the rights of Mother Earth, the rights of indigenous peoples and respect for the traditional use of the coca leaf. Your continued commitment to social and environmental justice has been a constant source of inspiration during my time at the United Nations, and the goals that we have shared will keep guiding my struggle where ever I may be. I wish to extend to you my best wishes for the greatest success in all of your endeavors.”

The Council of Canadians thanks the ‘water warrior ambassador’ for his tireless work and commitment to climate and water justice, and the rights of Mother Earth.