South-South summit on climate justice and finance

Cancun Declaration

We, peoples’ organizations from throughout the global South, representing a diversity of networks in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean, convened in Cancun, Mexico, for the South-South Summit on Climate Justice and Finance, simultaneous to the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-16).  From November 26th to December 4th, we met in plenary sessions, workshops, group discussions, and common actions that strengthened our unity and deepened our shared vision towards the attainment of climate justice.

Our movements are composed of women and men, farmers and rural communities, fisherfolk and coastal communities, indigenous peoples, formal and informal workers, climate migrants, youth, and urban poor, among others: sectors and grassroots communities who are among the marginalized and most vulnerable due to climate change.

Through our sharing of experience and analysis, we have seen that the current crisis is not just about global warming or the science surrounding it; it is also an economic and social crisis, a political crisis, a food and energy crisis, and an ecological crisis. In sum, a systemic crisis that the peoples of the South, more than anyone else, fully understand is about our lives and futures. It is about our food, health, lands, seeds, rights, and livelihoods. It is about further discrimination and violence against women, in particular, forced migrations, loss of sovereignty over natural resources, the impossibility to continue existing as original communities living in harmony with nature. Above all, it is about justice: climate justice, ecological justice, economic justice, gender justice, historical justice.

Underlying our debates and conclusions is the shared belief that the dominant approaches in the official climate change negotiations are not considering either the urgency of the matter, nor its causes and the overarching reach of its implications. While they are caught up in their endless negotiations, we are worrying about our very survival and that of the planet.  We are particularly troubled that this Northern-controlled, capitalist process will only result in the justification and continuation of their failed “development” paradigms and the emergence of more market-based mechanisms that aim not to solve the problem of global warming but rather to profit from it.

A systemic crisis will only be solved by a systemic approach. It is thus necessary to bring about a fundamental systemic change with real urgency. Neither market-based mechanisms nor their technological fixes can be trusted to deal with these crises because they prioritize profit before the planet and its people. Hence, we strongly reject all false solutions!

At the COP 16 negotiations, the so-called REDD mechanisms have turned into one of the most hotly debated issues because of the profit opportunities for the large transnational corporations and financial interests involved. Like CDM and all carbon credit offset mechanisms, REDD, and its variants, does not tackle the real causes of climate change, which are the capitalist mode of production, accumulation, and consumption, based on the aggressive extraction of fossil fuels and other natural resources. Moreover, REDD presents a menace to food sovereignty and an additional threat: it is intended to usurp territories from indigenous, afro-descendant and peasant’s communities, taking away their sovereign rights over their lands. This neo-colonial invasion process is already in place and in many cases through strong militarization and criminalization. Hence, REDD is not only a false solution for climate change but an immediate menace for traditional communities, and indeed society everywhere.

The commodification of nature and its “free-trading” is at the heart of the false solutions being negotiated in Cancun and imposed in each of our countries. That is why they will only create more problems, not real solutions. What is needed is for the industrialized countries of the North to fulfill their obligations under the Convention by deeply cutting their emissions of greenhouse gases and making the transition to non-capitalist, non-petroleum societies instead of speculating in carbon credits that will allow them to go on destroying nature and usurping atmospheric space while transferring their political and economic responsibilities to the South.

It is now time that those who caused these crises – Northern industrialized countries, international financial institutions, multinational corporations and elites both North and South  – are held accountable for their gross and systematic crimes against humanity and nature and begin urgent reparations of their historical, ecological, climate, and social debts.

In this spirit, many of us took part and we support the agreements that emerged at the Cochabamba Peoples´ Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, as they reflect what we have been fighting for as popular movements.

We demand that reparations for ecological and climate debt include not only immediate measures to stop further harm by detaining and annuling those policies and projects that seek to advance and deepen their control and exploitation of nature, but also to restore to the peoples of the South the financial and technological resources they need to deal with the current and future impacts and consequences of climate change and for building alternative, equitable, and sustainable societies.

Financial reparations for climate debt – climate finance – should not be in the form of loans or other debt creating instruments, nor come with political or economic conditionalities, nor be in the form of private investments. These would be in violation of the principles and purpose of reparations, adding to the oppression of the peoples of the South and the further undermining of our rights and the rights of nature, deepening capitalist exploitation and the colonization of atmospheric space.

Climate finance should be obligatory and additional to other financial reparations. Global and national channels of climate finance should be democratic and accountable, and their governance should be fully transparent and involve democratic representation from peoples of the South especially those most severely affected by the climate crisis.  We also demand that there be equitable and just distribution of climate finance across countries and within countries.

The World Bank, private banks and other financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank should have no role in climate finance. These institutions promote a “development” paradigm that is contrary to the well being of our peoples and the planet and they share a large responsibility for the accumulation of illegitimate debt claims against the countries of the South. They continue even now, as they have for decades, to finance harmful projects including fossil fuel projects, megadams and others that exacerbate climate change. This must be stopped.

Furthermore, we call for the unconditional cancellation and repudiation of all debts claimed of the countries and peoples of the South by the governments of the North, global financial institutions and private banks, among other lenders, many of which have been generated as a result of these ecologically destructive projects and policies. This is a necessary step towards the attainment of climate justice and the reparation of the ecological, historical, and socio-economic debts due to the planet and the peoples of the South.

In order to confront these challenges we call for a deepening of unity among peoples’ and social movements throughout the global South. We must engage in a common effort that is rooted in our most vulnerable communities and that serves to strengthen resistance to the systematic expoliation we suffer.

This resistance must act in many levels, from local to global. Here in Cancun we have agreed to undertake a worldwide campaign to get the World Bank out of climate finance and the financing of climate disaster, denouncing the havoc it sponsors. We will coordinate activities that serve to monitor the financing and development of false solutions as well as the resistence to them and organize specific campaigns in consequence.  We will also promote initiatives such Peoples’ Tribunals on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice and diverse forms of popular consultation in order to promote public understanding and mobilization around the call for climate justice and to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes. We will also push for the continuation of the campaigns against illegitimate financial debts through various forms of struggle, including the call for comprehensive and participatory debt audits in Southern countries and campaigning against new, illegitimate, debt-financing for climate. Finally, we reject the current model of “development” and those that benefit from it while destroying the planet at the expenses of the lives of the vast majority of the world’s population. We reaffirm that real alternatives do exist. Indigenous peoples and popular communities, women and peasants –  who have always taken care of the planet and lived in harmony with nature, provide a number of examples of how to sustain relations that are not based on the notions of infinite growth, profit and resource extraction. Hence, we are here to put pressure on the delegates at the COP-16, but we know that hope really lies outside the conference premises: it belongs to us in the streets, cities, rural areas, and indigenous communities on the global South.   Let’s globalize the struggle! Let’s globalize hope! No more Climate Debt! Reparations Now!

Cancun, Mexico,  December 4, 2010.


Jubilee South  –  Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)  –  Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean –  Convergence of Popular Movements in America (COMPA) – Central American Climate Justice Campaign – World March of Women Latin America and the Caribbean  – Caribbean Peoples’ Assembly – GAIA LA/C – Hemispheric Social Alliance Climate Change Working Group – LDC Watch – NGO Forum on the Asian Development Bank – JS-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development – Jubilee South/ Américas – Focus on the Global South – Dialogue 2000 (Argentina) – EquityBd and SUPRO (Bangladesh) –  Jubilee South/Brazil – PACS – Brazil Network for Peoples’ Integration (Brazil) – Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center-Solidarity (Cuba) – Ecological Action and Pueblo kichwua de Sarayacu (Ecuador) – Salvadoran National Union of Ecologists (El Salvador) – Guatemalan Popular Movement and Popular Front (Guatemala) – OFRANEH (Honduras) – National Hawker Federation (India) – Institute for Essential Service Reform, Kruha Water Coalition, and Walhi/FOE (Indonesia) – Citizens against Corruption (Kyrgystan) – MUSAS/JS-Mexico – Jagaran Nepal/NGO Federation (Nepal) – Movimiento Social Nicaraguense – Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines) – Friends of the Earth (Sri Lanka) – OWTU/FITUN (Trinidad and Tobago)

Coordinadora Internacional/International CoordinatorJUBILEO SUR – JUBILEE SOUTH

Piedras 7301070 Buenos Aires, ArgentinaT/F +5411-43071867

[email protected]

skype: BeverlyKeene

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