Final Agreement of Peoples proposes legal framework for protecting Mother Earth, supports Indigenous rights, condemns imperialism
(See the end of this article for a link to the People’s Agreement text in Spanish. Climate and Capitalism will publish an English translation as soon as possible.)
by Brenda Norrell
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — The World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth culminated Thursday and released the final declaration, the Agreement of the Peoples, calling for the establishment of an International Climate Court to prosecute polluters, condemning REDD and holding polluters responsible for their climate debt.
With the release of the final declaration, Indigenous Peoples proclaimed the outcome as, “The Cochabamba Protocols.”
Describing the damage to Mother Earth and the catastrophic effects of global temperature increases, the Agreement of Peoples states that the so-called developed nations are seizing the bounties of Mother Earth for profit without regard to the consequences for the people or the earth.
The Agreement, released in Spanish Thursday night, states that capitalism requires a strong military industry for the process of accumulation and the control of territories and natural resources, which suppresses peoples’ resistance. It is described as “an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.”
The Agreement of the Peoples proposes a draft Universal Declaration of Mother Earth. Further, it states that the people deplore the attempt by a group of countries to cancel the Kyoto Protocol, the only specific binding instrument for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in developed countries.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in the climate change negotiations. The best strategy and action is to avoid deforestation and degradation and protect native forests, while recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, it states.
The market mechanism of REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is condemned, which violates the sovereignty of peoples and their right to free, prior and informed consent and the sovereignty of nation states. REDD violates the rights and customs of Peoples and the Rights of Nature.
The carbon market is described as a lucrative business of commercializing our Mother Earth. Instead of tackling climate change, it is an act of looting and ravaging the land, water and even life itself.
The Agreement of Peoples states the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in the climate change negotiations, with forests protected from degradation, especially considering most of the forests are in Indigenous territories.
The final declaration calls for leading industrial nations to cut emissions by 50 percent.
With the release of the final declaration, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the human race can benefit from the wisdom of the world’s indigenous peoples, who understand that humanity must live in harmony with nature.
“The peoples of the Andes believe in the concept of ‘living well’ instead of wanting to ‘live better’ by consuming more regardless of the cost to our neighbors and our environment. It is with these ancient teachings in mind that, exactly one year ago, the United Nations General Assembly accepted Bolivia’s proposal to celebrate International Mother Earth Day on April 22, which coincides with the final day of our conference.
“We now propose to go one step further and begin collectively drafting a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. This will establish a legal framework for protecting our increasingly threatened natural environment and raising the global consciousness about Mother Earth, on which we all depend for life.”
Indigenous Peoples came from throughout the world to speak out for the Rights of Mother Earth. Western Shoshone grandmother Carrie Dann, 75, fighting new gold mining on sacred Mount Tenabo, and Timbisha Shoshone Chairman Joe Kennedy were among the grassroots American Indians attending. Maori from New Zealand, Navajo, Gwich’in, Lakota, Acoma Pueblo, O’odham, Dakota, Mohawk, Yaqui and Oneida joined First Nations and an Alaskan delegation to uphold the rights of Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia. Indigenous delegations from the north and south joined President Morales to open the conference with a blessing ceremony.
The Indigenous Environmental Network exposed the deception of REDD.
“REDD is a predatory program that pretends to save forests and the climate, while backhandedly selling out forests out from under our Indigenous People,” said Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), based in Bemidji, Minn. “REDD will encourage continuing pollution and global warming, while displacing those of us least responsible for the crisis, who have been stewards of the forests since time immemorial.”
The declarations forged by the working groups in Cochabamba will be taken to the Cancún summit by President Morales as a counter-proposal to the widely criticized Copenhagen Accord. Movements of Indigenous Peoples, trade unions, farmers and environmentalists are also building momentum out of Cochabamba with plans for mass demonstrations in Cancún.
The Bolivian government said the protection and rational use of natural resources was the main proposal of the conference this week, which also advocated the penalization of nations harming the environment. The creation of an International Court for Climate Justice to judge violators of environmental agreements was presented by Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Morales said the new structure should be validated by the United Nations.
The US media was noticeably absent from the conference in Tiquipaya, which began Monday. However, the Summit had a significant international impact, according to experts interviewed by Telesur. They assured that it has been fully justified and had an international scope with views to the Mexico climate summit slated for the end of the year and after the Copenhagen fiasco.
The Agreement of the Peoples in Spanish:
ACUERDO DE LOS PUEBLOS Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra