Francisca Porchas on the International Symposium on the Climate Crisis, Mexican Action Network Against Free Trade

This past June 20-21st I had the honor of traveling to Mexico City, Mexico representing GGJ  at the “International Symposium on the Climate Crisis: from Cancun to Durban and Rio + 20” organized by RMALC (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio), Mexican Action Network Against Free Trade and UAM (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico).

Both entities partnered to have an event that would bring organizations from across Mexico as well as the hemisphere to discuss in panel form the climate change crisis related issues throughout Latin America and Canada as well the most pressing climate change impacts facing Mexico as a country and a city.  Invited by RMALC, who GGJ has been building with for the past two years as part of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, our main objectives were to 1) continue building with our Mexican comrades as well as those of the Global South, and Canada 2) continue learning about and from efforts to curb the climate crisis and efforts to build sovereignty and resilience throughout the hemisphere and 3) to be part of greater convergence as we build the road to Durban and Rio + 20 in 2012. 

The three main objectives of the symposium were:

1)       to debate of different proposals, positions and perspectives

2)       to incentivize the discussion and public consciousness and

3)      lastly to prepare the participation of the public in COP 17 to be held in Durban November of this year as well as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil referred to as “Rio + 20”, June 2012

Topics of discussion included; false solutions for climate change, the debate on the UN-IMF driven program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), and the role of social movements on the face the climate crisis among many others.  The “From Cancun to Durban and Rio + 20” panel featured movement leaders such as Maureen Santos of the Red Barsileña por la Integracion de los Pueblos (Brazilian Network for the Integration of the Peoples) of Brazil who stressed the importance of creating a united front of the 15 Brazilian networks to make climate justice demands on the road to the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro brazil, in November 2012.  Presenters ranged from academics of UAM, government officials of Mexico City, to movement representatives such as; Ecologists in Accion of Spain, and Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of Peru, Loyda Oliva, of National Confederation of Indigenous and Black Peasantry Organizations  of Ecuador, Gustavo Sanchez of Mexican Network of Peasant Forest Organizations, and Angel Ibarra of Salvadorian Ecological Unity.

Excerpt from blog written by Tom Kucharz of “Conclusions of the International Symposium on Climate Crisis: from Cancun to Durban and Rio + 20”

Technical Secretary of RMALC, Marco Antonio Velázquez:

"The goal of this symposium was to promote in Mexico amongst the public,  the concern about this serious problem. We think there is a need
for more people to be aware, informed of the consequences this global problem is bringing, what causes it and how climate change relates to daily life in rural communities, and in large urban centers such as the beautiful city of Mexico,” he said.

According to Velázquez, we hope to have achieved the objective from this conversation we continue and deepen the relationship and partnership agreements between
social networks around the world working to stop this phenomenon, including trade unions, peasants, indigenous women, all sectors of society because climate change affects us all.

"We know,” Velázquez Navarrete said, “that after this conference we have taken another step to advance these partnerships. We are also connecting to academics. We need to deepen the relationship between, teachers, students, social organizations and international networks fighting climate change.”

By Francisca Porchas, Labor Community Strategy Center/Bus Riders' Union