by Graham Land / Greenfudge.org / April 22, 2010
Bolivia has been hosting an international summit, named the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in the city of Cochabamba. The talks began on the 19th and finish today.
From a report by the Environmental News Service:
More than 20,000 indigenous, environmental and civil society delegates from 129 countries were in attendance as President Morales welcomed them to the conference at a soccer stadium in the village of Tiquipaya on the outskirts of the city of Cochabamba.
The tone in Bolivia is decidedly political, with an emphasis on nature, poor and indigenous peoples and ‘climate justice’. President Morales, who the UN named ‘World Hero of Mother Earth’ last October, has been highly critical of the UNFCCC and the outcome at Copenhagen and did not mince words addressing the conference crowd in Cochabamba:
We cannot have equilibrium in this world with the current inequality and destruction of Mother Earth. Capitalism is what is causing this problem and it needs to end.
–Bolivian President Evo Morales
According to a report in the Guardian there are 17 workshops at the conference – touted as the alternative to the UN climate talks – dealing with subjects such as indigenous rights, the structural causes of climate change, harmony with nature, climate change adaptation and problems with the carbon market.
Yet just like Copenhagen, Cochabamba has its own unofficial offsite protest that is critical of what many consider to be the unsustainable and unethical activities of Bolivian mining and hydroelectric projects. Organized by groups including The Regional Federation of Peasant Workers of the Altiplano Sud (FRUTCAS), it has been dubbed ‘workshop No. 18?. Activities associated with workshop No. 18 have taken some of the fire away from the official conference.
With blockades, marches and office take-overs of the San Cristobal mine, the communities are demanding that the silver and lead mine replenish the water expended by the extraction processes of an open pit mine and that it be taxed. Six hundred liters of water every second are extracted by the mine.
President Morales has promised to bring the results of World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth to the table at the next UN Climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, which begins on November 29.