Jun 22, 2009
'Your planet needs you! Together against climate change' was this year's slogan for the UN's World Environment day on June 5. In recognition of this Friends of the Earth El Salvador chose the day to begin their Second International Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change meeting.
The meeting was held in La Canoa del Bajo Lempa community which is in a region frequently affected by floods and droughts.
More than 100 environmental and community leaders from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Chile among others, discussed issues such as the seriousness of climate change from the social and economic impacts to the political causes.
One reason for the event was also to create partnerships with the various groups that attended the meeting. There were movements against mining, dam construction, groups working for food sovereignty and indigenous leaders looking to identify and learn from each others' struggles.
The Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change (MOVIAC) is an initiative of Friends of the Earth International and aims to give affected peoples a voice. This is of particular importance in Central American where each year the region is battered by hurricanes and floods displacing communities and resulting in many deaths and injuries.
El Salvador was on the receiving end of Hurricane Mitch in 1988 when 400 people lost their lives and more recently Hurricane Stan in 2005 when 32 people lost their lives. Tropical storms also cost many lives each year and the resulting floods can destroy whole communities.
change from above
Friends of the Earth El Salvador believes that in the last few years their government has not assumed responsibility to face environmental problems and has no policies to fight the phenomena produced by climate change.
The group is calling on the new Government to halt the execution of mega projects that destroy ecosystems and displace communities, creating more poverty and environmental vulnerability.
The government cite the global economic crisis for their inacction on climate change, in response to this Ricardo Navarro, President of Friends of the Earth El Salvador said:
"In the scheme of things the current economic crisis is not significant and can't be compared to the environmental crisis to come."