ALBA Countries Meet in Bolivia to Defend Rights of Mother Earth

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Meeting will develop plan for joint action, continuing cooperation

(November 3, 2010) The countries belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) will meet Wednesday in Bolivia to advocate for a common position on the defense of the rights of Mother Earth.

According to the Bolivian Minister of the Environment and Water, Maria Esther Udaeta, this is the purpose of a forum taking place in La Paz until Friday, Prensa Latina reported.

“In this encounter we will also assess the position of ALBA countries at the next United Nations summit on climate change, which will occur at the end of the year in Cancun,” Udaeta said.

She added that the meetings this week in the Bolivian capital will also allow for the creation of an ALBA Ministerial Committee on the Defense of Nature.

Udaeta said that the Committee will develop and agenda that will include joint actions to intensify environmental management projects as part of public policy and to promote new paradigms for alternative development in harmony with nature.

She said that the Committee should recognize the diversity of all indigenous peoples as a source of strength and wealth, guaranteeing their rights and reaffirming ancestral agricultural practices.

This week’s gathering in La Paz was mandated in the meetings of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of ALBA that took place in Cochabamba and Havana in October and December of 2009 respectively.

Udaeta said that the environment ministers of Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will participate in drafting the constitution of the new Ministerial Committee on the Defense of Nature.

The Bolivian proposal for the Committee calls for the recognition of the existence of common resources (such as the atmosphere, water, biodiversity and knowledge, among others) and basic services, which should be respected and managed in an equitable manner that benefits society instead of being treated as merchandise.

Udaeta said that the Ministerial Committee will work together with the ALBA Political Advisory on concrete objectives.

Many of the proposals that will be assessed at the ALBA gathering this week are a response to the conclusions of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that was held in Cochabamba in April of this year.

Participants at the Cochabamba conference agreed on the necessity of creating a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, and rejected the “Copenhagen Accord” that came out of the last United Nations climate summit.

They also expressed support for stabilizing the global temperature increase to just one degree Celsius, and for creating an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal.

They also demanded that rich countries dedicate 6% of GDP a fund for responding to climate change, and advocated holding a world referendum on climate change.

From AVN [Spanish]
English translation by
Mother Earth

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