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GGJ Cancun Delegation Report Back Notes 1-28-11
I. Welcome and Agenda Review
III. COP16 - What were the main battles in Cancun?
IV. Caravans and La Via Campesina
V. Global Day of Action 12/7
VI. National and International Forums and Relations
VII. Overall Experiences
VIII. Next Steps
Facilitators: Luther, DARE and Ron, LCSC
- Background on COP 16- why this terrain is important, or is it?
- The role of Bolivia and why the Cochabamba Accords are key to the global climate justice agenda
- Stories and strategies about the resistance movement in Mexico and Internationally
- Highlights and lessons from the 1000 Cancuns Global Day of Action 12/7
- Next steps for growing the global climate justice movement
- Getting involved with GGJ's Global Well Being committee
Mei-Ying Williams, APEN
Marjorie Childress, SWOP
Yuki Kidokoro, CBE
Nadine Padilla, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE)
Steve Williams POWER
Lian Hurst Mann, LCSC
Jihan Gearon, IEN
Nikke Alex, BMWC
Kelly Archbold, LCSC
Ahmina Maxey, EMEAC
Michele Roberts AEHR
Cindy Wiesner GGJ
Jen Soriano, GGJ
Joaquin Sanchez, Y4CJ
Sara Mersha, DARE & GRI
Camilo Vivieros, JwJ RI
Esther Wang, CAAAV
Kate Kanelstein and crew, VWC
Kari Koch, PCASC
Dave King, JwJ Portland
Colin Rajah, NNIRR
Ash-Lee W. Henderson, Mountain Justice
Ron, LCSC/ BRU
Luther Allen, DARE
III. COP16 - What were the main battles in Cancun?
GGJ, IEN and IAD delegation
coordinated under banner of Grassrootsclimatesolutions.net with GJEP, MG and others
Review of Delegation goals:
- Build the knowledge and alignment in the United States around climate justice principles and use this exposure to continue developing alignment in the movement for climate justice.
- Help advance the Cochabamba Peoples’ Accord and the Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth in the UN deliberations, in solidarity with the Bolivian government, Small Island States, and social movements of the Global South;
- Strengthen knowledge of US & civil society around REDD/REDD+, and other false solutions of carbon market regimes within UN climate negotiations. Support Indigenous Peoples and local forest dependent communities in developing countries resisting the implementation of REDD/REDD+ within climate negotiations.
- Expose the actions of the US government that oppose climate justice (such as the Copenhagen Agreement, market mechanisms, etc), and apply pressure on the administration for adoption of the Cochabamba Peoples' Accords.
- Connect and provide a northern support base to the social movements from the Global South.
Review of Strategies.
Background on COP16 - JIHAN GEARON IEN
- 16th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
- UNFCCC created in 1994 - supposed to gather info on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and create strategies for addressing GHG emissions and adapting to impact of climate change
- Kyoto Protocol (KP) is a legally binding agreement - countries agree to reducing GHG emission for the commitment period 2008-2012
- UNFCCC had goal of figuring out what would come after KP at COP 15, didn't happen - also didn't happen at COP16
- COP 17 is last chance to reach agreement before Kyoto protocol ends in 2012
- Several contentious issues still being debated, which is why agreement hasn't happened. The overarching issue is around who is most responsibe for climate change and therefore, who should do most of the work (through $$$) in addressing climate change. Developed countries don't want to take responsibility
- The Carbon market is the main solution to climate change on int'l level.
- carbon market = carbon trading and carbon offsets, essentially pollution trading and pollution offsets
- Important because it is affecting other UN policies. For example, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) wants to use a market to address the loss of biodiversity. For example, "If we ruin a biodiverse area in Asia, it's okay as long as we save a biodiverse area in Africa.
- REDD = Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
- Is a carbon offset program - one of the main issues that GGJ and IEN opposed
- Many, many negative affects in practice
- kicks indigenous people and forest dwelling commmunities out of their homelands
- For example, gives oil companies a say over how the forest is used
- leakage issues
- Most importantly creates a new global regime for the management of forests that commodifies forests
- Meaning the ability to take in carbon is a tree's only value
- Current global economic system needs new commodities to survive, so they are trying to make money off of what is left of nature - air, forest, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, etc.
- IEN/GGJ Inside Strategy
- Very limited access to the inside negotiations
- Several policy positions that we wanted, but main goal was to keep REDD agreement from being reached
- We participated in Indigenous Peoples, youth and women's caucuses to ensure they hold the line against REDDs
- Combatted the UN propaganda to push forest offsetting and market mechanisms to as a tool to empower women and Indigenous Peoples
- REDD Outcomes:
- "Cancun Agreement" incorporated much of Copenhagen Accord and "REDD Decision"
- REDD Objective: included overarching goal to slow loss of forest cover
- Forest Peoples' Rights: talked about forest people's rights should be fully respected but no details on how would be done
- No reference to Free and Prior Informed Concent (FPIC), only that communities should have "full and effective participation"
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is only "noted"
- So, worry is that it's all talk and rights won't actually be respected or enforced
- Safeguards: Main debate was around safeguards and to what degree developing countries would agree to monitor, report, and verify (MRV) implementation. Outcome is that references to safeguards have been watered down.
- Sub-national Accounting: widely recognized problem of leakage (e.g. project-based monitoriing could result in deforestation moving outside of project boundaries, resulting in no overall reductions in deforestation). In this agreement they've said that's okay
- Finance: No decision on long-term finance for REDDs
- Fundamental split is whether to finance through carbon market or not?
- Although no decision on this, there is a clear assumption is that REDD will be financed through carbon market
NIKKE ALEX - BMWC
IIn Cancun, they only allowed 15,000 people participating from NGOs - huge decrease from Copenhagen,
La Via Campesina 2nd week – calling out capitalism within the negotiations.
Coming from the US, talking
La Via Campesina 2nd week – calling out capitalism within the negotiations.
Coming from the US, talking
2nd week - Y4CJ decided to have an event
In Cancun,had to drive 20km from the city, then NGOs were in Cancun Messe and delegates were in Moon Palace - Moon Palace was where GGJ/IEN tried to do actions to get more exposure, so Y4CJ walked out of press conference, was marching and chanting, which wasn't allowed in the space. 4 people got badges removed and weren't allowed back in. Everyone in Cancun wasn't accredited, so when our badges were taken away it limited our ability to work on the inside (ie in women's caucus, indigenous caucus, etc. where we were trying to negotiate text).
Later in the week, after the LVC action, Tom Goldtooth of IEN was pushed out as well so we pushed a lot of media around that.
On the inside, we had NO REDD stickers, etc. but by the end of the 2nd week we weren't able to have any of that.
I'll be interesting at COP17 to see how many people they'll let in from NGOs.
A big part of what we were pushing on the inside was the Cochabamba Agreement and the Rights of Mother Earth - it was a participatory process. We're in the space to push for rights of our land, water, rights of indigenous people, free prior and informed consent, fighting againts false solutions. Altogether we were supporting Bolivia and at the end, their voice was silenced too, because they were standing against the Cancun package of false solutions. It was awesome to have another government that we were in line with.
IV. Caravans and La Via Campesina - Road to Cancun: Kari Koch, PCASC
LVC invited folks from international community/ GGJ to a weeklong caravan from difffernt places in Mexico - I flew into Guadalajara, was introduced to local communities strugles (like polluted lands and waters), and global justice (climate change, etc.). Along the way people from these communities would join us.
It was extremely powerful to see people traveling together, eating beans and rice together, build human connections along the way. For me the caravan and experience of building with each other was more powerful than being in Cancun.
One particularly interesting thing was the structure of La Via Campesina - at each stop along the road, the local community was able to articulate their local struggle, connect that to climate change, and connect that to capitalism. Struck by the level of political education and political organization it takes - as organizers, we strive for that and it can be difficult. Inspired to bring that level of thoughtfulness back to the US. There are people internaitonally that are not only focused on local struggles and feeding families and meeting local needs, but see it as part of global justice.
By the end of the caravan I think we were 40 buses (probably 1000 people?). We arrived in Cancun and LVC set up a camp where people could sleep in tents, and that's also where they had an alternative forum.
Ash-Lee Henderson: Kari hit a lot of the major points - she was right about comraderie.
We sent 12 people on the caravan. Our participation was politically significant for many reasons, including the fact that we were able to see first-hand how neoliberalism and capitalism negatively affect our sisters and brothers in many different parts Mexico, learn about these impacts, build political solidarity and start conversations with companer@s there about how those of us in the GGJ movement (and allies) in the US can build strategy with them that bring about solutions. The entire trip was a time for several of us to think about the privilege that we have in the U.S. compared to folks in the global south, while also finding similarities between the oppression we fight in the U.S. and that the companer@s fight in Mexico.
The caravans (and work in Cancun) significantly affected my work in Central and Southern Appalachia. After spreading the word about mountaintop removal coal mining, and finding the connections between our movement to abolish the practice and other environmental movements that folks on the caravan and in our delegation are in, there is now significant support for an Appalachian Freedom Summer to be planned for 2012, that would focus on mobilizing folks of color from outside the coalfields to come spend time in Central Appalachia, visiting the mines, working with and meeting movement leaders and organizations in the coalfields, etc. There are also many of us in Mountain Justice who are making the connection between climate justice and abolishing mountaintop removal, and interested in connecting our work to a broader movement that addresses the root causes behind why our struggles exist in the first place.
5 major places where caravans left from:
1. San Luis Potosi
National Assembly of people affected by the environment, Electrical workers Union, National Movement for Liberation.
At the camp, we got to debrief, Esther Wong and I talked about our experiences on the caravans; hydroelectric dams, mining, etc. There's tons more work to be done - we'll talk later about steps tward solidarityand movement.
V. Global Day of Action 12/7
Jen: While all this great work was happening in Cancun, there was work being planned on this global day of action. GGJ and allies answered this call by LVC. The purpose was to demonstrate worldwide that the people - especially people most impacted by the climate crisis - have thousands of solutions to climate change/ for climate justice. It was really significant that we participated bc the day of action was truly wordlwide. LVC estimates that there were 300 actions worldwide; 30+ in North America, including 16 in the US.
Some of the highlights - picture 300 actions worldwide, hundreds of peasant, landless and fisherfolk that held a rally in Bangladesh; Korean farmers; Honduras;
In the US, some of our member groups held actions like:
- LA - CBE and LCSC held a march and protest against highway
- San Antonio - against nuclear energy (rally)
- Bay: Teach in and action planting garden beds in a parking lot, to demonstrate community action for food sovereignty
There were many powerful education events and actions. That gives you an idea of the variety.
There was some pretty deep education that happened, supported by this toolkit that will be an ongoing resource for continuing to get our members involved.
Another success was high level coordination on messaging: Systems change not climate change, Community grassrotos solutions not falst market solutions. In the US - No REDD and lifting up the Cochabamba Accords.
Deepened relationship with La Via Campesina through this.
Lessons: Mass media blockout. Where people had cocrete targets and solutions it helped break that - eg. Minneapolis targeted agri-business, solution - farm bill
VII. Alternative Forums (Dec 4- 10)
1. Camilo: Climate Dialogue/ Mexican Space International Forum Dec. 5-10 - goal was an eclectic big tent. Didn't have clear anti-capitalist message; some glossy materials from groups that supported REDD and worse. Intentioanlly meant to be a place where diferent opinions would come, discuss alternatives, network. There wasn't necessarily agreement, but outside of the official space there were several tents with a lot of networking. Presentations on migration, militarism, water and dams, cities and transportation - networking, strategy.
We also used one of the spaces to create props for our actions, staging place. Strategic use of the space by not only us but other groups to network.
There was a wide range. I attended a panel on labor - benefit that there was some interaction of progressive/mainstream groups with grassroots/radical groups. Conventional trade unionist in same space as left sindicalists from the Global South. Didn't have agreement on false solutions and political unity until strategy session on the last day - more social cohesion and agreement.
Ron was there on the last day. They were coming up with their final document, discussions on women's issues; it was really interesting because GGJ had a lot of input into the final declaration. Cindy and Sunny did a lot to help frame the final declaration.
There was a lot of pushback on making sure objection to REDD was included in the
2. Esther Wang (CAAAV): La Via Campesina Alternative Forum for Life, Social, and Environmental Justice. We would have liked the different alternative spaces to come together more, but we as GGJ worked with everybody, and that will be important as we build unity towards Durban and other spaces.
I want to talk about the spirit of La Via Campesina's space. Not only housed and fed 2,000 people on an outdoor sports facility area - also held workshops, panels, performances every single day. Some of the reasons why these spaces were so important -
with the official UN spaces being inaccessible for most of the people who went to Cancun, this was a space to bring out alternatives, real solutions. LVC brought small farmers and peasants from throughout Latin America to lift up food sovereignty, prioritizing Mother Earth, small farmers, and the Cochabamba People's Agreement. Strong international presence. GGJ/IEN delegation was able to participate in panels - talk about REDD, talk about work happening in the US on the ground - that was important given that internationally people often don't know about our struggles.
We had a lot of unity with LVC's positions on Cochabamba, capitalism, REDD and other false solutions
LVC space was important space to put out a strong NO REDDs position. Going into Cancun there wasn't a lot of understanding of what REDD is...by the end it was really clear in the LVC space, and during protests it was a huge part. We had a lot of stickers and materials on NO REDD
Protests weren't as strong as they could or should have been because there wasn't unity between the different alternative spaces. This will impact the process beyond Cancun.
It was really powerful to have Evo Morales come to the La Via Campesina space - that was
really galvanizing for a lot of people.
VIII. Street Heat in Cancun
Ahmina - there were a lot of actions that took place
- December 7 march to the CancunMesse space, and then a separate march in downtown Cancun. I spoke about being from Detroit spoke about why I came to cancun. Also, to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communties, the carbon offset will be offset in my community.
- There was another action downtown about specific issues.(ie WTO role in climate finance)
- There were actions on the inside to give pressure.
- GGJ & IEN had an action team. We put together and chants and banners, and we got a lot of media attention.
This was the first time I had left the country, and we wanted to support other organizations in the world. In my community (Detroit), there was a gathering (USSF) when and we wanted to bring our voice out into the world.
IX. What is next?
1) Sara -- A lot of people have been talking about the connections to other social movements. Internationall there are a lot of connections. People have talked about LVC and the Hemispheric Social Alliance. As for GGJ, we have been talking about these alliances and the long term relationships. LVC is amovement of farmers and peasants. There are 150M members around the world. We have a lot of political unity with them around capitalism being a root cause of a lot of the problems our communities face (including climate disruption), and we will continue to work with them. We were invited to a meeting with the World March of Women, Friends of the Earth, and LVC at the World Social Forum.
HSA - GGJ is now a part of the Hemispheric Social Allance.
Jubilee South - They are connected to social movements. They have been talking about climate debt and the responsibility of the Global North and corporations.
World March of Woman - Have campaigns that deal with food sovereignty, violence against women, etc..
I want to highlight the solidarity the community outside of Mexico City. Kelly - We have been doing a solidarity letter to put pressure on the Mayor. They are fighting a major superhighway. It would remove some of their green spaces, and displace people in the community, as well as contribute to climate disruption through increased use of cars. We want to continue building relationships with the community organizations we met while on the caravan and also keep building with La Via Campesina North America Region, who have been in communication with us in this solidarity work. Send me an email if you want to sign onto the letter - email@example.com. We might be able to work with Jen to put something on the website. We want to gather signatures by Wed, Feb 2nd so that the letter is ready to be sent when the organization (el Frente Amplio) asks us to send to the mayor.
2) Cindy -- We all had a pretty transformational experience. Many of the questions we have had, is how do we connect Cancun to our work. How do we in the US continue doing the important work of making connecctions and how do we lift our struggle? We have the same problems. The overall delegation goal was to link to other social movements aroudn the global crises in particular. These were in the EsMex and LVC final declarations. If folks are interested, please logon to the website: ggjalliance.org/node. How are we going to keep pushing the Cochabamba Accord? It provides an alternative framework and pushes for reall solutions and calls out developed countries. It happens to be the same nations that are pushing for war.
- What was talked about in Bolivia was doing a popular consulta that happens in a global level from the bottom up. We want to talk about real solutions.
- Also, we want to talk about a tribunal and put governments on trial. This could be a 1-2 yr process. This could put corporations on trial like BP. Maybe in Rio 2012.
- Next week, people will be gathering at the World Social Forum in Dakar Senegal. People from the Detroit and GGJ will be going. We will be building with people in Dakar going into Durban/COP17. Context and conditions in Cancun are a lot different than those in South Africa. We see this as an opportunuty to keep building this work. We see this as putting an alternative vision. We hope this group (Grassroots Solutions for Climate cChange). How do we keep moving forward in the US and within the internatnioanl movement.
- If you are part of GGJ and want to join the Global Well-Being workgroup, that's great.
- If you're interested in joining the alliance, you can talk to Cindy.
- And if you're an ally we can keep talking about ways to work together
1.) Michelle Roberts, AEHRAs part of the - We had a committee that did a video about a proposed highway expansion that would rip throug wetlands and displace a community, so if you can send the letter to us we can put it out to our list-serve.
We have two representatives from the Gulf region who are going to the WSF - it would be great if they can be part of the forum on food sovereignty, because we were in conversation with LVC about connecting fishing communities in the Gulf, even though we weren't able to do that in Cancun, we'd like to do it going forward.
email firstname.lastname@example.org - there will be a lot of conversations about the Tribunal in Dakar
2.) Ron: also want to add that myself, Ash-Lee and Esther did a presentation at the KlimaForum (setup by Y4CJ) on what young people are doing to "stick it to the system". We didn't spend a lot of time there, but it was an interesting space.
3.) Maria Whitaker - does anyone know what's going on with Cochabamba 2?
Cindy: Evo Morales talked about the need for movements to come back together, so there are rumors but at this point it's not confirmed. Bolivian gov't is sending a delegation to Dakar, so our hope is to bring back clarity on that. We'll do a report back after that, and will let folks know.
4.) Maria: I started an African Food Sov Support Network - would love to hear people's ideas for COP-17.
5.) Jihan: ideas on moments where people can engage on the Road to Durban. IEN did a brainstorm of what next steps could be - one thing we're promoting is working with Rising Tide North America - Int'l Day of Action Against Extraction on April 20th (at site of extraction, ie mine sites, etc.). IEN is asking our affiliates to participate in that.
6.) Beatriz from POWER is on the call! (sorry thought it was later) Want to share about our experience in the delegation to Cancun. It was a really amazing and eye-opening experience. From my personal feelings - felt like we really had an impact in that space, participating in the EsMex and also LVC space, how well the support of us from US social movements was received by social movements in Mexico. Level of media coverage...it was interesting to see how bold actions were welcomed by the people in Mexico. We had a youth meeting and a few people from LVC were there and said unfortunately when people in Mexico rise up and try to get attention on issues they're facing, government doesn't pay attention, but when people from other countries make noise, their governments are force to pay attention. Brought home idea that we have a lot of power. As a Chicana, I still have power to support the people in Mexico by doing actions in the US and participating in movements in other countries too. It was incredible to build relationships. Feel very grateful for the opportunity.
Ron: If you haven't gotten the letter around the superhighway/ solidarity with La Malinche, email Kelly and she'll get that back to you.
Luther: Thanks to everyone for coming and notes will be posted on the GGJ website.
FInal Cancun Declarations can be found at: http://www.ggjalliance.org/node
GGJ-IEN Climate Justice Toolkit: http://ggjalliance.org/node/497
GGJ blogs from Cancun: http://ggjalliance.org/blog
GGJ news coverage of Cancun and 1000 Cancuns: http://ggjalliance.org/news
Archive of blogs, videos and resources from Cancun: http://www.grassrootsclimatesolutions.net
IEN Cancun website: redroadcancun.com: http://www.redroadcancun.net