April 23, 2010

City of eternal spring carries the expectation of the world

by Ajay K Jha, PAIRVI.

The city of epic struggle against water privatization, Cochabamba carries the expectation of the world for a just and equitable climate deal. Besides the warmth of the people from Cochabamba, one can definitely feel and poise and expectation in the air. More than 7 million people stranded at airports of northern Europe, many thousands among them definitely destined to the small tropical town and third largest city of Bolivia, has failed to dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of Bolivia to play a crucial leadership role in arriving at a just deal. A visit to the accreditation counter at Tiqipayya, a small village on the suburbs of Cochabamba, and Univalle (where the side events and plenaries take place when the Conference on the climate change and rights of the mother earth begin on Monday 19th April) are swarmed by local people, students and people from neighboring Latin American countries gives enough hint to the aspiration of people, many of them have also children accompanying them. Though language remains a major handicap in conversation, the communication is clear-we must take a resolute step to ensure the rights of the mother earth and more than 4.5 million people living in the developing countries. The developed countries must understand that this is not a struggle between the rich and the poor neither between extreme deprivation and lavish consumptive lifestyle, it s a call of the mother earth. Its not only 15000 people from all over the world and 70 governments who are taking that call, but there are overwhelming sentiments for the rights of the mother earth world over. This includes millions of people on whom climate and economic injustice has been perpetrated historically and who cannot afford to come down the city of happening, but are very hooked on to happenings in the Bolivian city and expect all the fortunate ones who are here to send a strong, irrepressible and undeniable verdict against the impunity of the developed countries to have polluted and to continue to pollute the air, water, and the mother earth.

The peoples climate change conference has the huge task of bringing the ethics, justice, and equity in the climate change negotiations. Though seemingly unsurmountable, however, Copenhagen has already showed us how David can tame the Goliath. The Conference has the support of countries in Africa, Asia, AOSIS, Latin America, however, that needs to be expressed in unequivocal support and solidarity. The official website www.cmpcc.org, states that more than 70 governments have confirmed participation, it actually remains a question of fact how many of them really turn up to lend their support. Solidarity of latin American countries esp. Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela will be crucial for success of the conference. The participation of big developing countries like India, SA, S Korea, China, could have lend enormous strength but that seems highly unlikely. It is unfortunate that these countries have not responded to the peoples congress very enthusiastically. The clear signal emerging from their non participation is that these governments does not believe much in peoples, tribal and indigenous communities, civil societies capacity to participate in international negotiations. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests, was quite blunt in his remarks at Copenhagen, when responding to a delegation requests to keep certain facts in consideration in putting forward India’s stand in negotiations, when he said that negotiation was task of the government and civil society organizations should limit them to working on education and adaptation aspects at home. Disregard for civil societies capacity to understand esoteric aspects of international negotiations is too obvious in China. As for the response in other parts of the world especially North America the climate congress is being dubbed as “Clown’s Congress.” It is important for people in developed countries to understand that 20, 0000 people coming to participate in far off parts of the world are not fools. It is a more a matter of looking at people who might be individually poor but collectively hold most of resources, which the developed countries have appropriated in huge disregard to rule of nature, justice and equity.

In 2009 more than 1 billion people fell below the hunger line, and 600 million more are expected to join them in the losing battle against hunger by the end of the century. its not a question only of availability and access of food, it raises larger questions of ethics of development, where some have obviously more food, water, energy, and resources than they can consume, and majority does not have even a fraction of what is their right. In the circumstances, the centrality of agriculture especially small holders agriculture in providing answer to both the issues of providing food to growing population as well as preserving the planet. President Evo Morales has the huge responsibility of responding strongly to the false solutions provided at the Copenhagen in this context. Much more than that, he has the huge responsibility of reinstating the power of people and civil society from not so well off parts of the world in global politics on climate change, and sustaining the enthusiasm of poor people in all parts of the world. UN backed the proposal of Evo Morales to observe 22nd April as International day for the Rights of Mother Earth. On this day we must commit that all of us belong to her.


Post a Comment