No more debts The rights of peoples and the rights of nature should be the central concern of policies and programs aimed at overcoming thrograms aimed at overcoming the climate crisis. e climate crisis.

No more debts

2010-04-20 00:00:00

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April 2010, Cochabamba, World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

Jubilee South is taking on the problematic of climate change as one of its permanent lines of action. Our main contribution is related to the links between climate change and finance, their relation to illegitimate debt, the demand for reparations of the ecological and climate debt owed to the South and the need to strengthen the movements in the South to achieve the systemic transformations that the peoples and nature need.
The depth of the financial-economic crisis has clearly led to the understanding that it is a deeper crisis, a crisis of the capitalist system, a civilizatory crisis, which is reflected in other consequent crises, such as the ecological, food, energy, political and social crises. While such crises have their origins in the North, in the role and policies dictated and imposed by Northern countries, transnational corporations and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) which they control with the compliance of many Southern governments, it is working people, fisher-folk, indigenous, traditional and forest communities and women which are being forced to pay the greatest share of the consequences and the costs, in particular the peoples of the South. The climate crisis does not escape this reality.
Responses, however, have until now been aimed at reinventing and relegitimizing the very system and institutions largely responsible for this crisis. Debt has been used as an instrument to dominate and control governments, peoples, and the resources of the South, including the financing of projects and promotion of policies that have greatly contributed to the exacerbation and escalation of climate change. Nonetheless, climate change related programs continue to be loan financed through the same IFIs, leading to even greater levels of illegitimate indebtedness. Efforts are more focused on how to profit from climate change than at getting to the root causes of the crisis and creating a new system. False solutions, such as the carbon market, agrofuels, hydroelectric power plants, coal and nuclear energy, are increasingly being promoted. Carbon trading – which is central to these false solutions - only allows transnational corporations and rich countries to buy the right to pollute at the expense of the peoples and countries of the South.
Worse, carbon trading has spawned new and despicable instruments to extract profits from pollution, akin to the proliferation of financial derivatives that was a major cause of the recent financial and economic bubble and crisis.
It is important to emphasize that climate justice - in particular the costs of mitigation and adaptation to climate change - cannot be fully analyzed without the broader perspective of ecological debt and its relationship to financial debt and the global economic system. Just and appropriate financing to address the impacts of climate change, for example, has to be built in a completely different way from what has been pursued so far. One cannot properly address climate justice, unless climate impacts on human and nature rights in general, including the regimes of food and water, housing, energy, transport and migration - the ecological impacts- are adequately addressed in financial and economic systems.

Jubilee South defends that:


-        the struggle against climate change depend on the transformation of the capitalist system of production and consumption and the growth paradigm based on the belief that natural resources are unlimited;
-        The rights of peoples and the rights of nature should be the central concern of policies and programs aimed at overcoming the climate crisis;
-        Real solutions to climate change do not lead to the further accumulation of illegitimate debt or the generation of more ecological and climate debt.

Jubilee South demands:


- Immediate and unconditional cancellation of the debts that the North claims from the countries and peoples of the South at the cost of nature and more specifically the climate;  
- Guarantee restitution and reparations for the ecological and climate debts owed by the northern countries, corporations and elites to nature and the peoples of the South and all communities violated and exploited by the process of accumulation that they lead;
- Resist and oppose efforts of northern governments to evade cuts in emissions and divide countries of the South.
- IFIs out of climate as part of larger strategy to stop their operations and intervention in the South. 
- Reject market-based false-solutions (carbon market, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest -  Degradation (REDD), agrofuels, hydroelectric power plants, coal and nuclear energy).
- The construction and implementation of alternatives that are based on the rights and needs of the peoples including community and peoples´control over natural resources, family-based agriculture, the protection of forests and a reverse path towards energy sovereignty and non hydrocarbon energy dependent societies.

Strengthening the movement for Climate Justice



Peoples´ Tribunals


In September 2009, several organizations and movements in Asia held an International Climate Tribunal in Bangkok, during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) inter-sessional. In October 2009, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, other networks and social movements held a preliminary hearing of the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Climate Justice. In December 2009, in Copenhagen, an activity and a strategy meeting "Towards a People's Tribunal on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice" were held. In Copenhagen, the organizations decided to move forward with the Tribunal in 2010, taking advantage of important moments, such as the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, to think about conducting a hearing in Cancun, Mexico. Thus. Cochabamba will be an important opportunity to reaffirm the consensus reached so far, share responsibilities and advance decisions in regards to the framework of the prosecution and methodology.
The goal of a Peoples’ Tribunal is to deepen understanding of the causes and responsibilities related to ecological debt and climate change, and advance strategies to halt and reverse the damaging processes and seek reparations.
As Jubilee South we will continue to encourage and support initiatives such as the peoples` efforts
to establish an International Peoples´ Tribunal on Ecological Debt and Climate Justice - determined by multiple networks and organizations at a meeting convened for that purpose in Copenhagen - and the implementation of Climate and Ecological Debt Audits and Peoples` Creditors Assemblies
to move forwards in terms of strategies and actions for restitution and reparations.
These are initiatives aimed at strengthening proposals and struggles for ecological and climate justice which in turn contribute to the fight against debt domination, for financial sovereignty, and the full exercise of the rights of the peoples and nature. We call on all peoples´ movements and organizations to participate in these and other initiatives, mobilizing to change the course of the UNFCCC negotiations and achieve real progress.




- APRIL 2010