Aug 14, 2009

Declaration from the Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change

by PhilLee — last modified Aug 14, 2009 02:10 PM

On June 5 Friends of the Earth El Salvador began their Second International Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change meeting. Below is the declaration, translated from Spanish, that came out of the meeting.

In the intense heat of Padre Octavio Ortiz community, in canton La Canoa, in El Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, more than a hundred representatives of movements, organizations and networks of Central America believe that life is a right and defending it, a duty.

We are convinced that our actions should be aimed at fighting for survival, which is tougher for our communities every day.

We met to analyze the impacts of climate change we suffer every day in our communities, which manifests in the form of floods or droughts, hurricanes and tornados, but also in the voracity of transnational corporations and governments that fail to respect the cycles of Mother Earth and prefer to get astronomical profits than preserve the balanced life of our communities.

To avoid an environmental catastrophe it is urgent to make immediate fundamental changes in the political, social and economic global system, so that environmental wisdom and social considerations prevail over the private economic interests and that the important decisions are taken by the local, peasant and indigenous communities, instead of by big transnational corporations.

We declare that

What was expressed in the “Central American statement of the peoples and communities affected by climate change” (El Salvador, June 2008) is a constant feature of our Central American and global reality and we affirm our commitments expressed there as social organizations, which are part of the global movement for Climate Justice NOW!

We are part of a struggle based on the mobilization and dissemination, resistance and transformation.

Mobilization and dissemination as awareness raising and communication to the rest of the society at all levels: communities, local, regional, national and international.

Resistance such as the defense of programs and projects that continue threatening the life such as the destruction of forests, mining, big hydroelectric dams, mega highways, free trade agreement, etc. 

Transformation such as drafting and implementing proposals to guarantee survival. Water, food, medicine, energy, food processing, etc.

We work in regional and international strategic alliances based on political trust, affinity, solidarity and reciprocity between organizations and local communities.

We assume the ethical and moral commitment of exposing those who attempt against our purpose of survival, resistance and transformation.

We commit ourselves to

To be the voice of thousands of victims and people affected who suffer every year as a result of the climate crisis.

To watch, expose and criticize the positions or measures of the governments to tackle climate change, by promoting our vision as a social movement of victims and people affected.

To make alliences based on the principles of struggle, solidarity, local work, which enable us to strengthen our work related with others that are similar to us in the rest of Central America.

To promote the Regional Tribunal for Climate Justice Initiative, which holds the actual guilty, responsible for the causes and effects of climate change.

To urge the governments and international institutions to not pay the external debt, by recognizing the ecological and climate debt to our countries.

To relaunch joint, coordinated actions in all the region against climate change and the policies that are its cause like Free Trade Agreements, Debt and policies of privatization and exfoliation of resources like mining, oil, agrofuels and hydroelectric dams.

To create mechanisms of effective communication between the grassroots communities, organizations and international networks like Friends of the Earth, REDLAR, OILWATCH, Vía CAMPESINA, MAELA and many others working nationally such as Redes y Frentes contra la Minería, all linked with the actions of mobilizing, resisting and transforming. As a way to spread the messages, vision, mission and work of the networks, organizations and peasant and indigenous sectors.

We want a direct and loyal commitment to struggle in all the possible fora and representations to link our local, national and international struggles with the effect of Climate Change, that is why we talk about Climate Justice Now...where the communities feel totally identified.


The governments of the South to represent the real interests of their peoples and to take a non negotiable position to transnational corporations and their lobbyists, the governments of each country should reach a consensus between governments and peoples that enables to express the true will of the victims and affected. This is a demand of action to the international community that will express its position during the Conference of the Parties COP 15 in Copenhagen, in December of 2009.

The Central American governments to effectively confront the impacts of climate change in our territories, through the real participation of the communities, policies oriented to building sustainability and survival.

The positions for climate justice should be dignifying and strong in the fora and international acts, demanding the industrialized countries to drastically reduce their emissions and to pay the historic debt, by not asking our peoples to adapt, but direct action from their corporations. There should be a radical change.

The governments, to listen and include the opinions and proposals of the communities and citizen  organizations in the construction of public policies related with climate change.

For a different world, a world we are all part of...with Climate Justice, Economic Justice, Energy Justice and Food Sovereignty, NOW. 

Community Padre Octavio Ortiz cantón La Canoa, El Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, June 5 and 6, 2009.