Women and climate change in Cochabamba

By Ana Filippini, Latin American Focal Point of the international  network Gender CC, Women for Climate Justice, – email

An analysis of the Peoples’ Agreement (1) that emerged from the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held from 20 to 22 April in Cochabamba (Bolivia) may lead us to think that the gender issue was not present at that Conference.

Although in general terms it may be true that a gender perspective was not substantially incorporated into the conclusions of the working groups, gender language and references to women can be found in some of the texts. However, when women are brought up in the working groups’ conclusions, it is mainly as vulnerable group. For example, group 6 on migrations specifies that it is women who suffer the most in situations arising from migration; group 7 on indigenous peoples, calls for the full and effective participation of vulnerable groups, including women; group 8 on climate debt mentions women twice in connection with vulnerable groups; group 12 on funding appeals for women to have representation in the new funding mechanism that should be set up to take on the costs of climate change; and group 14 on forests asks for recognition of the role of women in the preservation of cultures and the conservation of native forests and jungles and proposes the establishment of an expert group with representation of at least 50% by women. (1)

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Statement of CJN! members in Cochabamba

The Climate Justice Now! network (CJN!) was present in great numbers representing social, environmental and political movements from around the world at the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia April 19-23.

CJN! celebrates and supports the emergence of an alternative, inclusive global voice on climate change from that conference, including the outcomes of the 17 formal working groups as well as the unofficial “group 18.” While summary documents may not represent all the positions or priorities of our member organizations, the overall outcomes from Cochabamba, and the vast participatory process that produced them, have created a large and growing alternative voice and process to the undemocratic, illegitimate and scientifically insufficient “Copenhagen Coup,” officially known as the Copenhagen Accord.

Whatever happens in Cancun this December, the Cochabamba process will continue to grow and coalesce to bring the people’s voice to the front of the global stage on climate change. Meanwhile, the principles and priorities articulated by working groups will inform our concrete action around the world, to make the structural changes we know to be necessary to solve the climate crisis with equity, and in time. We invite governments to recognize this new emerging leadership and join forces with us on the road to real and just solutions.

Cochabamba 23 April 2010


World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.

If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people.

The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system. Continue reading

System crisis, climate crisis

Letter of the Social Movements Assembly at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
21 April 2010

Movements, networks and social organizations gathered at the Assembly of Social Movements held in Cochabamba, in the framework of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change, welcome the initiative of President Evo Morales Ayma and respond to the global call to confront the commodification and privatization of common goods and the climate change debate itself.

We consider that the issue of climate change is important along with other manifestations of the global systemic crisis. To confront the imperialist offensive there must be an end to the militarization of our territories and the criminalization of social movements, an end to the neocolonial agenda included in the FTAs, an end to the power of transnational corporations and especially the agribusiness and extractive model that promote the privatization of life and nature.

The resistance is being built from the relationship among different anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, anti-colonial and anti-racist perspectives, which claim that this systemic crisis will not be paid by the peoples, and at the same time promote alternatives to find a new paradigm based on equality, good living and sovereignty of the peoples.

This process of articulation in permanent construction is dynamic, comprehensive, popular and decentralized, and seeks greater coordination among social movements to strengthen popular mobilizations. From the Assembly of Social Movements we are committed to expand our work by strengthening processes in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe.

We consider that one of the main challenges is to strengthen our platform of common struggles and alternatives in a process that is reinforced by the regions and seeks global impact.

The Assembly of Social Movements is part of an agenda made up by many key spaces, including the People’s Summit “Enlazando Alternativas” IV in Madrid (14-18 May), the Social Forum of the United States, the Mesoamerican Forum against Agribusiness in El Salvador (3-5 June), the 4th Social Forum of the Americas in Asuncion (11-15 August), the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on September 21 and the Global Day of Action against Monsanto (October 16), the 4th World Social Forum on Migration in Ecuador (October), the Third International Action of the World March of Women in Congo (14-17 October) and the mobilization process towards Cancun where the COP 16 will be held.  We are also planning to have in October a global week of action for climate justice, unifying the struggles as the ones carried out by movements resisting the privatization and commodification of water in “Blue October.”

We want the Assembly of Social Movements to continue being a dynamic space to join our processes and actions, and to continue being another tool to coordinate our struggles.

We hope that the results of this conference in Cochabamba strengthen the mobilization and resistance process, notably the Global Referendum on Climate Change, which we must promote, discuss and include in our movements as an important element to raise awareness towards Cancún and the People’s Tribunal on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice.

We call the social movements of the continent and the world to promote a unified and broad mobilization to demand change, denouncing those responsible for driving the false solutions to the systemic crisis, including the climate crisis.

Climate battle moves to Bolivia

Martin Khor*
Published in The Star (Malaysia), Monday 26 April 2010

Last week over 30,000 people converged in the Bolivian town of Cochabamba in the heart of the Andes mountains for an unusual summit on climate change – it involved thousands of grassroots leaders as well as some political leaders and government officials.

It was a stark contrast to the stuffy conference rooms and diplomatic language of the formal climate negotiations.  Indeed the 4-day People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was meant to both challenge and to contribute to the United Nations’ official climate talks.

The Cochabamba gathering was convened by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, as a response to what he saw was the unfair way in which the Copenhagen climate conference was organised.

“When I arrived in Copenhagen, I was struck by environmental activists braving the freezing weather to voice their disappointment at being locked out of the meeting,” said Morales, an indigenous people’s leader who came to power some years ago on the wave of a popular movement.

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Indigenous groups condemn REDD as a threat

by Indigenous Environmental Network

[23 April, 2010] As Earth Day celebrations commence around the world, indigenous peoples from across the Americas are in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to close the historic conference on climate change and the “Rights of Mother Earth” hosted by President Evo Morales. Morales, the only indigenous head of state in the world, called this conference in the wake of failed climate talks in Copenhagen.

As the world prepares for the next round of talks in Cancun, Mexico, indigenous peoples vowed today to push for proposals that keep fossil fuels in the ground, protect indigenous rights, and reject predatory policies like REDD (reducing emissions through deforestation and forest degradation).

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Grassroots summit calls for international climate court

Cochabamba conference closes with call for rich countries to halve greenhouse gas emissions and set up a court to punish climate crimes

Guardian UK

Andres Schipani in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Friday 23 April 2010

Rich countries should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and set up a court to punish climate crimes, according to an international conference of grassroots climate groups and social movements in Bolivia.

President Evo Morales, who organised the gathering, also announced plans to mount a referendum of 2 billion people on solutions to the climate crisis within a year.

Speaking at the close of the four-day World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Morales called on the UN to listen to the voice of the poorest. “The UN has an obligation to listen to its peoples and social forces. If the UN doesn’t want to lose its authority, they should apply the conclusions of this conference. And if they don’t, I am convinced that the peoples will apply their wisdom, recommendations and documents,” he said.

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Videos and voices…

Antonio Pacor filming in Cochabamba for WSF TV

Great coverage on World Social Forum tv and Democracy Now! and the REALnews network

plus more from CJN! activists on the ground…

Elena Gerebizza covers climate and finance (in Italian)

Daphne Wysham talks to EarthBeatRadio

Interview with Jubilee South’s Beverly Keene, in Spanish

Video que podrán encontrar en youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCe6KgqJmRU

Toda la cobertura de la Conferencia sobre Cambio Climático en Cochabamba en:

Yasmine Brien (No Borders, UK) on the Climate Migrants Working Group discussion this morning at the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

Joaquin Sanchez responds to La Opinión on Evo, GM chicken and sexual orientation

Colin Rajah on the Climate Migrants Work Group here at the PMCCC in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Photo updates of the mural, with a video clip with Maria Suarez (Colective Bachetta, Argentina)

Vox pop by Noel Douglas

Indigenous peoples take on the climate crisis in Cochabamba

Daphne Wysham

by Daphne Wysham*

First published in AlterNet

[Cochabamba, 21 April 2010] Four months after world leaders who gathered in frigid Copenhagen failed to agree on a binding climate treaty, a peoples’ summit on climate change and the rights of Mother Earth is underway in the sun-dappled hills of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Convened by Bolivian President Evo Morales, allegedly the first fully indigenous president since the Spanish conquest, the conference is an attempt to place indigenous peoples – and marginalized peoples from around the world – at the center of the global conversation on climate change.

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La Via Campesina participates in the inauguration of the Peoples’ climate conference

[Cochabamba, 20 April, 2010] This morning Itelvina Masioli, a Brazilian leader of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, spoke at the inauguration of the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Bolivian President Evo Morales was the keynote speaker to the crowd of several thousand.

The conference, organized by the Bolivian government after countries failed to agree on a plan to stop climate change in Copenhagen last December, is being held from April 19 thru 22. Its goal is to amplify the voices of those who were not heard in Copenhagen.
“We are here together with President Evo Morales to play an active role in this grand global mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth,” said Masioli. “Our planet is in danger, and if our planet is in danger, then life is in danger.”