|Bolivian Climate Conference: Morales and International Peoples' Proposals for Change|
|Written by Luis Gonzales, Photos by Reuben McCreanor, Translated by April Howard|
|Thursday, 22 April 2010 11:10|
The international conference has started and the peoples and social movements are launching a planet-wide mobilization to defend Mother Earth.
This alternative meeting of civil society was convened at the initiative of Bolivian president Evo Morales and dissident countries that did not sign the Copenhagen Accord at the World Climate Conference, which occurred in Denmark last December.
To shouts of “Planet or death! We shall overcome!” the indigenous leader gave a speech to social leaders and more than 5,000 people congregated in the stadium of Tiquipaya, a town 20 km from the city of Cochabamba.
He affirmed that this encounter will decide the destiny of the planet and he gave responsibility to developed countries for the failure of Copenhagen and for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. However, Morales said, the forum itself is a “triumph for the peoples,” and he promised to join the social movements in making Kyoto a reality and reducing emissions of gases in developed countries.
Morales also proposed the creation of a Climate Justice Tribunal, to judge and sanction countries responsible for harm to the environment. A world-wide referendum prepared in this forum will catapult this civil action and will be presented at the next UN climate talks.
Participants initiated conference with a K’oa, a traditional Andean ceremony in which offerings are made to Pachamama, Mother Earth. A celebration lead by elder men and women took place at the foot of the stage and in the center of the stadium.
Over 15 thousand delegates registered for the conference, 8 thousand of which come from outside the country. More than 40 official government delegations are present in the event. According to official figures, representatives from 28 countries in Africa, 28 European countries, 17 Asian countries, 13 Central American countries, 12 South American countries, 6 countries of Oceana, and 3 North American countries are attending.
Among the speakers are Vandana Shiva of India, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, François Houtard of Belgium, Miguel D’Escoto of Nicaragua, Frei Betto y Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Q’orianka Kilcher of the United States, Timothy Byakola of Uganda y Jose Bové of France.