1. Thank you very much, Mr. chair for giving me the floor, and my special gratitude to the organizers to invite me to take part in such an important conference on the present global context. Lots of thanks to comrades, distinguished speakers, and participants as well. I am assigned to speak on “Cochabamba Conference and its impact on the global movement". It is very interesting to me as it is about the people and the Mother Earth. Before going into details I do not like to miss to express my excitement to be here in Nepal. I always love to be in Nepal because Nepal is the country which is playing a heroic role these days for democracy, peace and food sovereignty.
1.1. Well, let me say first a bit about the background of Cochabamba Conference. In December 2009 the COP-15 under UNFCCC (United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark.The official delegates from around the world gathered in Bela Centre in Copenhagen with a view to reaching an agreement on the climate change which saves the earth planet from the future possible serious destruction. In parallel to the official conference common people from the entire world came to Denmark to raise their own voice and agenda so that the official conference took into consideration. Unfortunately the official conference could not reach a legally binding agreement that compels the rich countries who are to blame for global warming, to significantly reduce the GHG
(Green House Gas) emission. Rather they came up with an accord called 'Copenhagen Accord' which is simply an understanding without any obligation according to which each country reduces the emission voluntarily, and with an attractive proposal of climate fund to be used by the countries which are affected by the global climate change. This fund will mainly be used for mitigation of the impact of, and adaptation to the climate change. With this, they wanted to prove that they are very sincere to the global concern to the issue of climate change. This was not accepted by the people who were on the street in Copenhagen. The people expected for a legally binding agreement that obligates the richest countries to take practical measure for the reduction of emission and climate justice that allows the people in the affected countries to live in their own way of life with dignity. The whole thing played by the official conference was some sorts of green-wash and very frustrating to the people. On 16 December 2009 the people took to the street with strong protest and gathered in front of Bela Centre in order to enter the Conference Hall and to put forward the agenda of people in relation to climate change. But the Danish security police did not allow the people to enter that was really pity. People wanted to do it in peaceful and systematic manner as there were lots of sympathizers to the street protest inside the conference hall.
Sympathetic official delegates loved to come to express their solidarity to the People's Assembly outside but Danish Security System did not allow them to go out. However, it was important that Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Shaves mentioned the outside protest and the legitimacy of the demands raised on the street in their presentation in the official conference. Mr. Hugo Chaves very explicitly quoted the street slogan 'System change, not climate change' that he heard and watched on the way to conference centre. As the official conference ended with no satisfactory outcomes rather than the dates for the next conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico Mr. Evo Morales boldly and firmly announced 'People's Global Conference on Climate Change and the Right of Mother Earth' with the hope of helping the next UNFCCC take proper steps with regard to reduction of carbon emission. Agitated people accepted the proposal warmly and it was decided that it would happen in 20-22 April 2010 in Cochabamba city in Bolivia.
1.2. During the Copenhagen Climate Conference diversified groups raised their voice on their own level to positively influence official conference. So different initiatives with same implication were taken on the street and in Klimaforum as well. But the Danish police and the Danish government were afraid of the protest, for nothing. They arrested huge number of protesters and activists during the conference. Some of them were put into jail unnecessary. Still some of them against whom no specific complainant was made are under trial. Police also raided different dormitories where the activists stayed in. In one squad named Christina in Copenhagen where many activists stayed at night were attacked by the police several times. People who joined the 'From Trade to Climate Caravan', one of the big initiative during the conference, took shelter in Christina suffered a lot from the frequent attacks.
1.3. By the way the announcement of the Cochabamba Conference inspired the activists, movements and the people who were dissatisfied with decisions officially taken in Copenhagen. Hence movements, organizations, environmentalists, ecologists, peasants groups, indigenous people, different professionals, parties with their pluralistic characters started to take preparation for the People's Global Conference on Climate Change and the 'Rights of Mother Earth'.
2. On 20-23 April 2010 the historic Cochabamba Conference took place in Bolivia, a country which is dominated by the indigenous people, a country of which head of the state is the first indigenous president in the world, Evo Morales. People lovingly called him brother Evo Morales. Participants in the conference were very much enthusiastic about the possible outcomes of the conference. End of the conference two crucial documents came out which are guidelines for the people all over the world. These documents are 'Peoples Agreement' on Climate Change and the "Rights of Mother Earth".
2.1. Peoples Agreement is basically a document containing concern of the people worldwide and demands for diversified solutions to the current climate crisis based on the people's experiences. It clearly addresses specific sectors which are affected by the climate change. It recommended reducing the emission to the level of 1990. In preamble of the agreement it is clearly mentioned that 'Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger. If global warming increases by more than 2 º C, a situation which the “Copenhagen Accord” would lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damage caused to our Mother Earth would be totally irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of the world’s species would be in danger of disappearing. Large tracts of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would spread and the melting icecaps and glaciers in the Andes and the Himalayas would be exacerbated. Many island states would disappear and Africa would suffer a temperature increase of more than 3 º C. Likewise, food production would be reduced in the world with catastrophic effects for the survival of the inhabitants of vast regions of the planet, and number of hungry people in the world, which already exceeds the figure of 1.02 billion would dramatically increase.' It also properly pointed out the root cause of the climate crisis and the fact of how efforts are made to misguide the human being. It states that 'The corporations and governments of so-called “more developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to a rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.'
2.2. In the second document 'Rights of Mother Earth, in the main, calls United Nation to adopt a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Erath which is a landmark proposal for the mankind because human being are the inseparable part of the Mother Earth. It contains 4 article including preamble. Article-1 vividly articulates that ' (1) Mother Earth is a living being. (2) Mother Erath is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.' Once it was thought that the plant is non-living but the scientist Sir Jagadeesh Chandra Basu first invented that it is a living existence. Now it is quite clear for all how much the existence of living animals depend on plant life. It is also time to understand and realize the living existence of Mother Erath. Mother Earth can not be mutilated constantly as the capitalist system is doing for its longing of over-profit.
2.3. The outcomes of the Cochabamba Conference were supposed to be raised in Cancun, Mexico during COP-16. Different stakeholders took the responsibilities to bring the people concern in the spotlight. La Via Campesina, an international Network of peasants' organization declared 'thousands of Cancun' keeping in view the memory of Lee King who sacrificed his life in Cancun with a view to showing the world how WTO (World Trade Organization) kills peasant world-over. LVC also rejected the proposed solutions like REDD+, agro-fuel, GMO, etc to climate change. It claims that 'peasants can cool the planet' through its sustainable peasant agriculture and advocated for food sovereignty.
Cancun Conference on Climate Change
3. Vast people from all over in the street with much expectation gathered together in Cancun on 27 November-10 December 2010. They owned contents of Bolivia Declaration and tried to push it as the most relevant recommendations in order to incorporate into the official declaration of COP-16. There were also people with same line inside the official conference who pursued on their level best to come up with a concrete decision on climate change resulting from the global warming. Unfortunately they were marginalized inside but definitely inseparable with outside people. The official conference adopted the Cancun Agreement with the commitment of Green Climate Fund including all previous approaches towards climate change for the affected countries. This fund will be dealt by WB as custodian trustee which is the most controversial and has past bad tract-record in terms of dealing fund. In essence, nothing new exists in the agreement which is accepted without consensus. But the countries accepting the agreement called it step forward. Ambassador Pablo Solon of Bolivia to UNO called it step backward as there was no target fix in it to reduce the carbon emission in the years to come. It means that the climate change will be on the increase with no doubt. Bolivia is the only country that opposed to the text of the agreement and the whole process for its formulation.
3.1. In Cancun people from different movements and civil societies are not satisfied with the agreement adopted also this time. They could understand that their various concrete proposals were ignored outright. The official conference has gone with the interest of transnational corporations who are the main contributors to global warming. That is why, the people registered their protest with fresh spirit of struggle to the ground through out the world. Moreover, many other proposals, such as International Climate and Environment Justice Tribunal, Worldwide Referendum for Climate Justice, and People's World Movement for Mother Earth have been justified more than before. Now it has been most essential to move towards Durban, South Africa where the COP-17 is going to happen.
4. The impacts of Cochabamba Conference are enormous. It has paved the new way for the people and movements all over how to go forward and what the responsibilities as the offspring of the Mother Earth.
Hopefully the people in globe will go for a strong global movement with spirit of Cochabamba Conference in coming days. So it is a very fruitful and constructive road map for the humanity.
4.1. Outcomes of the Cochabamba conference would be every effective for the movement of Bangladesh as well as South Asia. South Asia, one of the biggest biodiversities and population in the world, are extremely victimized by the climate change. Bangladesh is amongst the front line victims due to climate change in South Asia. The present visible impact is rise in sea level, frequent calamities like cyclone, desertification, salty in soil, excess rainfall, excess cold, change in seasons, etc. Last two cyclones, SIDR and Aila confirmed future catastrophe due to the climate change. It caused great havoc on the human life and properties. The loss of lives is irreparable. The people who were forced to leave their land and homestead are still living in sub-human life at different places in the country. Now the people living in the southern part beside the Bay of Bengal always remain in panic with the challenge of the climate change. They came to know that the one-third of the country would go under water within 2050 and 30 million people will suffer from it. So these people have no alternative to fighting for their survival and justice.
4.3. Here I concluded my presentation, Mr. chair. Thanks to all once again. The victory of the people is a must.
Bangladesh Krishok Federation
9/H Motijheel C/A, Room-405, 4th Fl. Dhaka-1000