Jan 24, 2013
The Summit of the Peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe will take place in Santiago, Chile from January 25 to 27.
The Summit of the Peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe will take place in Santiago, Chile from January 25 to 27. Over 120 social movements, organisations and networks have been involved in setting up the event under the theme "For social justice, international solidarity and peoples’ sovereignty". The meeting will take place in the Urban Planning and Architecture School of the University of Chile, in parallel to the EU-CELAC Summit taking place on the same dates.
The summit aims to “give visibility to the demands and proposals of peoples (…) who struggle against neoliberal policies that impact our societies and eliminate our rights” according to the public call to attend.
According to the organisers, the sectors that caused and profited from the ongoing crisis want the peoples to pay, imposing “huge” social and democratic setbacks. “The “austerity” policies implemented in Europe combined with the political evolution in Latin America and the rest of the world, demand a unified answer from our peoples and an alternative to the strengthening of the current neoliberal model”, reads the call. “This historic moment requires [us] to reassess the relationship between both continents”, it adds.
For the over 120 social organisations, movements and networks involved, the summit is an important opportunity to question the different dimensions of the crisis and governmental attempts to use European capital in Latin America as a way out.
“The peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe say no to these FTAs. We demand the renegotiation of those in force and an end to the negotiation or ratification [of those in advanced stages]”. The organisers demand that the peoples be consulted about relations between the two continents; that these relations serve their interests and not the interests of investors or transnational corporations.
They further call for the establishment of a new type of relationship between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, based on equality, decolonization, the primacy of the rights of the population over the profits of transnational corporations and respect for sovereignty and the rights of the peoples. “We don’t accept that the crisis caused by the transnational financial system serves to promote social setbacks to the detriment of rights and the wellbeing of the peoples”, they say. “This meeting will demand an end to adjustment and austerity policies and a reassessment of the international financial architecture”, they add.
For the social organisations, movements and networks, the Summit of the Peoples should address a number of key elements including; the model of society they want, democracy and citizen participation, human rights, the claims of native peoples, women and different sectors, common goods, nature, integration, investments and trade, the democratization of communications, global governance.
Real World Radio will cover the different activities, preparations and outcomes at the Summit of the Peoples, as part of a media platform that will work with others to follow and report on the developments at the meeting.
For more information on the summit: www.cumbrechile2013.org
Real World Radio's special section on the summit www.radiomundoreal.fm/Cumbre-de-los-Pueblos-Santiago-de
Jan 21, 2013
Four Nigerians who have been victims of multinational oil giant Shell’s polluting activities in the Niger Delta are striving for justice. They are hoping a Dutch court will issue a verdict in their favour on 30 January, as part of a ground-breaking legal case filed against the Anglo-Dutch oil corporation.
On 11 October 2012, the court in The Hague heard their case against Shell, the first time in history that a company had been brought before a Dutch court to account for environmental damage caused overseas. The four plaintiffs are farmers and fishermen from the villages of Goi, Ikot Ada Udo and Oruma in the Niger Delta.
The October 2012 date was a landmark in itself. It signaled to Shell and other multinational corporations that they cannot act with impunity in other parts of the world. Residents of the Niger Delta may feel relieved or vindicated if the company assumes a more responsible attitude.
Coverage from the last hearing in October, 2012
Resources for journalists including photos and media coverage of the case so far
Chief Eric Dooh is one of the plaintiffs
Plaintiff Alali Efanga is taking Shell to court for pollution in Nigeria
Jan 07, 2013
Friends of the Earth International, the world's largest federation of grassroots environmental groups, expresses its solidarity with the families of Cristian Ferreyra and Miguel Galván, members of the Peasant Movement of Santiago del Estero (MOCASE), and to all who support the fight against the advance of agribusiness in Argentina.
Cristian was 25
when he was killed on 16 November 2011 by leaders of armed gangs in
association with soy agribusiness corporations, who systematicaly
threaten communities that resist the expansion of soybean. Miguel was
killed on October 10, 2012 at the hands of assassins in the service
of agribusiness corporations that grab land disputed with
We condemn the impunity and unjustice of both murders, as well as the evictions and illegal clearing that is carried out daily, and the suffering of the peasants and indigenous people that defend and guard their birthplaces, generation after generation.
We denounce the interference of transnational corporations with people's sovereignty, and the complicity of public officials with them, who would pave their way while violating the human rights of their compatriots.
We support the demand of our member group Friends of the Earth Argentina, to the national and provincial governments of Argentina, to be aware of the reality of indigenous peasant families, to protect their lands and support their production, knowing that this means banning logging, evictions and the advance of agribusiness corporations. Consequently we expect the government to urgently approve the law to stop evictions, known as "Cristian Ferreyra".
We will continue the construction of a world where justice and solidarity prevails, and from all corners of the world we will send messages of courage to the people of the province of Santiago del Estero. Its strength is that of all the peoples who are resisting the advance of this unsustainable and unfair model.
Friends of the Earth International
Costa Rica: Ecologist Movement Challenges GM Law
On December 12, environmental, student and peasant organizations that make up Costa Rica's Green Bloc, marched in the country’s capital to file an amparo appeal before the Constitutional Court to make information on the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) public.
The amparo appeal aims to challenge a regulation of the National Technical Commission of Biosafety (CTNBio), a body in charge of applications for the release of GMOs, which is known for limiting access to information and participation in discussions on the entrance of GM seeds.
This action is part of a day of action “In Defense of Our Corn”. The campaign began with a march from the Matambu indigenous territory to the Costa Rican capital along more than 200 km. It was a day to disseminate information and of action against the release of four varieties of GM corn patented by transnational corporation Monsanto from BT and RoundupReady (RR) technologies, including the mon-603 variety. The march lasted almost two weeks from November 24 to December 2.
The day after the activists arrived in the capital, on Monday 3 December, hundreds of people demonstrated before the CTNBio headquarters against the application to plant four varieties of GM corn patented by transnational corporation Delta & Pine Land Ltd., a subsidiary of Monsanto.
The company was declared as one of the world’s twenty most irresponsible companies, responsible for hundreds of cases of serious contamination in communities. One of the most renowned cases is the one of Rincon’I community contaminated in 1998 with over 660 tons of GM cotton seeds contaminated with agrotoxics without the community’s prior consent.
At the CTNBio session on December 3, the Cost Rican public body decided to postpone the decision because of pressure from social, environmental and academic sectors that submitted evidence against Delta & Pine Land’s request to
plant GM corn Avangares, in Puntarenas province.
The community has been declared “free of GMO” since 2007.
Because of the postponement of the decision at the body depending on the Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture, the Costa Rican environmental movement filed an unconstitutionality appeal last December 12 against the regulation of Phitosanitary Protection that regulates the CTNBio and the allocation of the licenses.
Real World Radio interviewed Jose Maria Villalta, House representative of the Frente Amplio party and member of the Coordination Network on Biodiversity when they submitted the documents to the Costa Rican Court.
The claim has legal and technical arguments against not only the release of GMOs, but also against the way in which licenses are authorized.
Villalta said the regulation is being questioned because it fails to provide the minimum environmental guarantees to protect biodiversity, such as the need to submit an Environmental Impact Study and the restriction to Access of information about the licenses.
“The permission fails to comply with the law, the Constitution and with international treaties about the need for an environmental impact study. Another serious irregularity of this mechanism to grant licenses is the clause where they say all information the companies provide to the CTNBio is secret”.
He mentions that this harms the rights of citizen participation in environmental issues, enshrined in the Constitution.
The Costa Rican campaign is part of a regional Mesoamerican campaign, where corn is harvested, against the introduction of GM varieties that would have terrible medium to long term consequences.
Photo: Demonstration outside the CNTBio on Friday 12 December (Henry Picado-Coecoceiba-FoE Costa Rica)
Uruguayan environmental activist warns about advance of agribusiness and land grabbing in the world
“The policies of our governments have not really tried to address the structural causes of the food crisis, but on the contrary, they encouraged what is causing even more trouble: the advance of agribusiness and land grabbing”, said activist Karin Nansen, member of the executive committee of Friends of the Earth International.
“Today, the food system is increasingly controlled by a few companies. They control everything, from seeds to what is sold in supermarkets, to what reaches our tables”, said Nansen.
“And now these same companies are beginning to control land. They are the ones who define what is produced, how we do it and how the products are distributed. And these companies are also the ones who decide the prices of food”, she added.
The activist, who is also coordinator at REDES – Friends of the Earth Uruguay, gave a presentation called “Expansion of agribusiness and land grabbing” at the international conference “Climate change, territories and social movements”, held in San Salvador, from November 5-6, 2012. The conference was organized by Friends of the Earth International through CESTA-Friends of the Earth El Salvador.
Real World Radio covered the conference and is still publishing some of the most relevant presentations and audio. Members of grassroots organisations, communities and different social movements of Central America participated in the event, in addition to hundreds of representatives of Friends of the Earth groups from the five continents. Over 500 people from 80 countries attended the meeting, the purpose of which was to share knowledge and experiences of defending territories, vizualising the cases of resistance against transnational corporations in the region, and cases of sovereignty building and survival practices to confront socio-environmental conflicts and inappropriate measures promoted by regional economic forces.
The conference was also organised by multiple social and environmental networks from Central America, especially the Movement of Victims and People Affected by Climate Change and Megaprojects (MOVIAC).
In her presentation, Nansen made reference to the severe food crisis of 2007 and
2008, which saw 100 million people starving around the world. Around 1 billion people are starving worldwide today.
The environmentalist talked about land grabbing to grow soy, tree monoculture plantations for carbon offsetting schemes, among others, and regretted the massive use of agrotoxics by agribusinesss. The expansion of these agribusiness and land grabbing are global phenomena, but they especially affect the global south. It is “terrible” in Latin America and Africa, highlighted Nansen.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic. “The good news is that the food crisis isn´t larger because peasants, indigenous peoples, black communities, family production, produce food consumed by human beings”, said the activist. Karin Nansen quoted the Erosion, Technology and Concentration Group (ETC Group) who work on global socio-economic and environmental issues, related to the new technologies and especially about the impacts of technology on indigenous peoples, rural communities and biodiversity. According to the ETC Group “50 per cent of food is produced by these small production units”, said Nansen. “(…) The good news is that peasant agriculture continues supplying food to the world. That´s why it is essential to defend the permanence of indigenous, black communities, peasant agriculture and fisherfolk in their territories; defending their permanence is what will save us”, she added.
By the end of her presentation, Nansen highlighted that “the resistance space is in those territories where you are, this is why we have to come together in this struggle to defend every piece of territory in this world, (…) it is a struggle for the future of humankind”. “Our peoples continue feeding the world. These businesses want other things, they want to take over our lands. We have to do everything in our power, we have to come together in a joint struggle at international level, to stop them. They shall not pass”, concluded the Uruguayan activist.
Photo: Friends of the Earth International
Jan 03, 2013
Friends of the Earth International's support for the people of Palestine struggling against environmental violations of the Israeli occupation, was welcomed by participants at a three day conference in Bethlehem.
The Third Palestinian Environmental Awareness and Education Conference , entitled "Eco-justice of Palestine," was held between 17 - 19 December 2012. The conference focused on the international and local responsibility to care for and protect the Palestinian environment. The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness in the local and international communities about the critical environmental situation in Palestine due to the affects of the Israeli occupation, and advocate for sustainable change on both an international and a local level.
During the three day conference, information was presented and there were discussions on the status of the environment in Palestine; Israeli violations of the environment and land, unjust water distribution, the impact of the apartheid wall on the environment, and the Israeli Dimona nuclear reactor and its impact. The conference was also presented with international reports like the UN Environment Program's reports on the Palestinian environment and the environmental Nakba
(catastrophe) to come.
Following an observer mission in August 2012, Friends of the Earth International has committed to support the Palestinian people in their struggle against the environmental impacts of the Israeli occupation.
Abeer Al-Butmah of Friends of the Earth Palestine said "The people of Palestine welcome the support of Friends of the Earth International in our struggle against the Isareli occupation. We appreciate FoEI's belief in our struggles against Israeli environmental violations. We hope to continue working together for international solidarity against Israel's crimes. This conference is a means to recognize the shared responsibility of Palestinians and internationals and improve the education, awareness building, and advocacy in order to achieve eco-justice in Palestine.
This can only take place on the ground with the help and support of the international community."
Eurig Scandrett, from FoE Scotland participated in the observer mission and addressed the conference on behalf of FoEI. He said "having heard reports of multiple environmental violations perpetrated by Israel, by the settlements and the military occupation of the West Bank, and by the bombing and contamination of Gaza, it is important for environmentalists not to cooperate with any organisation which accepts or normalises the occupation or colludes with the Israeli occupiers."
The final day of the conference was a field trip to the areas affected by the Israeli violations against the environment. Participants saw the wastewater that is dumped onto Wadi Foukeen Village from Betar Settlement and how it has destroyed the agricultural land. They also went to a town near Hebron city called Ethna where electronic and other solid waste is transferred from Israel and the settlements, then broken up and burnt in this town to extract the copper and steel that is then transferred to Israel again. This is really an environmental catastrophe.
This conference devised an action plan between different working bodies, ministries civil organizations and environmental activists, through dialogue and interaction with one another. The conference also called on environmental groups not to cooperate with any organisation which accepts or normalises the occupation or colludes with the Israeli occupiers.
Dec 10, 2012
Friends of the Earth International marks December 10 – the international day for human rights – by reflecting on the sacrifices and victories of environmental activists around the world. Human rights abuses perpetrated against environmental activists have gained more and more attention in recent times.
Global demand for ever diminishing levels of natural resources has caused increased competition among transnational corporations (TNCs), which often leads to irreparable social and environmental damage and to brutal responses to protests, including the criminalization of environmental and human rights defenders.
This year alone, Friends of the Earth groups have been among the targets of human rights abuses. Friends of the Earth groups in the Phillippines, Uganda, Swaziland, Mozambique, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, among others, have been the targets of transnational corporations or government harassment, intimidation or arbitrary arrest.
There can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of the right to protest, to peacefully protect your community and to voice concerns about international projects that impact your way of life, culture or family. Most of the cases that Friends of the Earth International has handled in 2012 have been related to protests around the extractive industries; particularly dams, mines and plantations (land grabbing has been a common cause of protest that has often been met with an unlawful, inhumane response).
The severity of this situation has recently become clearer thanks to the committed work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Friends of the Earth advocates for justice for those affected and works to raise awareness with the support of the European Union.
When we talk about violations committed against environmental activists, we refer to individuals or groups who are victims of human rights violations because of their involvement in environmental activism, including all people opposed to destructive projects in the extractive, infrastructure and development sector; the rights of indigenous communities and minorities; the rights of women, communicators, lawyers, academics; or simply those who defend their own rights to protect their sustainable livelihoods, such as artisanal fisherfolk. When we talk about environmental defenders we include individuals who do not necessarily identify themselves as environmental justice activists, but who through their actions are defending environmental justice or defending people affected by environmental injustices, whether at community, national, regional or international level.
Why is this happening?
Defenders have often been targeted for their resistance to policies or regulations that move power away from the local level and concentrate control over land and resources in the hands of elites and transnational groups. TNCs investment expansion, combined with weak state-level human rights institutions have led to an increase in land grabbing, resource appropriation and attempts to privatize community managed assets. Activists and journalists responding to these issues have suffered unlawful detention, threats, harassment and break-ins. Murders and disappearances are also alarmingly common. The Global Witness report A Hidden Crisis says that there was one death per week on average in the decade to 2012 . The perpetrators of these abuses regularly operate on behalf of national governments or transnational companies. Private and public security forces are increasingly involved in harassing or harming activists, and increasingly heavily armed.
Information on these abuses is too sparse to say whether or not this trend is worsening. The Global Witness report A Hidden Crisis says that there was one death per week on average in the decade to 2012 . Reporting mechanisms have become more sophisticated and rights awareness has grown in much of the world, but understanding what is happening is still problematic. The scale of this issue is largely invisible as global monitoring remains very difficult: the relatively small numbers of incidents reported in Africa and Central Asia, for instance, is telling. Local, municipal, regional and even national governments have rewritten laws to give legitimacy to their heinous rights violations, providing legal cover for rights abuses.
Friends of the Earth member groups are continuing their work on this issue. Please check back regularly to see how you can spread the word and offer support.
Friends of the Earth Groups and Human Rights
On the last day of the COP 18 UN climate talks, European youth gathered in Brussels have drafted this open letter to Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action. Please read the letter we have sent to her, and forward it far and wide.
Dear Commissioner Hedegaard,
We, European youth and civil society, are writing to you in these critical final hours of the UN climate talks in Doha to demand that the EU acts now and changes its position at the UNFCCC.
We have witnessed over the past two weeks the EU's consistent refusal to live up to its responsibilities, and we condemn this lack of progress. The EU claims to be a climate leader but it is acting as a blocker.
Inaction for the next 8 years is not acceptable. A 20% reductions pledge under the Kyoto Protocol is simply a smokescreen; this target has already been met so we know that you are pledging zero. The EU has proved it has the capability to cut its emissions quickly and deeply and we need to take the lead on the world stage in cutting further emissions. Your 0% pledge COP-out will subject us to catastrophic climate change. The EU is supposed to protect us and youth around the world. You are not fulfilling your duty.
We welcome pledges for climate finance from certain member states and the EU under the Bali Action Plan but it falls far short of what is needed for mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries. It is especially inadequate if we consider the implications of a weak EU mitigation target. The EU in Doha have blocked discussions on finance; failing to set an aggregate target and refusing to discuss the suggestion that climate finance must be scaled up each year. This is unacceptable. We call on the EU to provide scaled up aggregate climate finance and we demand assurance that this will be new, additional, public funding – not a simple redirection of Official Development Aid as we have seen with the EU's fast-start finance pledges.
Stop using Poland as an excuse for EU inaction. You must move beyond internal differences and take collective responsibility for the sake of current and future generations. By representing the economic interests of a select few, you are betraying us and our right to a clean and just future. By refusing to make meaningful progress under the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan – as agreed in the Durban Platform – you are betraying the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the world. We stand in solidarity with them and we reject your empty pledges.
There might have been a time when decision-makers could ignore us; that time is now over. We are not one person. We are not one country. We are uniting and mobilising. We are many and the message is spreading fast. There is growing discontent with the way the EU conducts itself on the international stage. The EU is supposed to speak on our behalf, but our voice is being stifled and it is clear that you are not representing us. The deal on the table is simply a suicide pact for the people of the Global South and we will actively resist your decision to condone such an injustice.
We will be watching you in these final hours of negotiations in Doha. We demand that you refuse to sign us up to an unjust deal. We demand that you act to drastically increase your finance and mitigation commitments. This is not negotiable. We will not back down.
European Youth and Civil Society Organisations
Qatar in Brussels
Young Friends of the Earth Europe
UK Youth Climate Coalition
Young Friends of the Earth Flanders - Brussels
Young Friends of the Earth Croatia
Dec 07, 2012
Youth groups in solidarity with developing countries at climate talks: Young Friends of the Earth Europe
December 5 – DOHA, Qatar – Today, youth groups issued a strong demand to governments across the world at the UN climate conference.
The youth groups from every continent stood in solidarity with the world's poorest people, who are most at risk from the current and projected impacts of climate change.
The Filipino minister, Lucille Sering, held a somber tone at the action, in light of the devastating super-typhoon that has left over 80 people dead in her home country.
"We stand behind the countries who have voiced their rejection of false solutions and a dirty deal here in Doha. The deal on the table, which they are being bullied into accepting is a suicide pact for their people," said Julian Velez, from Mexico and a student of the College of the Atlantic.
"We stand here today not only as members of a silenced civil society, not only as representatives of our various organizations, but as human beings standing in solidarity with the suffering and loss caused by a lack of political will and inaction," Velez said.
A call-and-response song of resistance lead by Neelam Khare of the Canadian Youth Delegation accompanied the action.
Youth are drawing attention to super-typhoon Bopha, the 16th extreme weather event to affect the Philippines this year and a reminder that climate change is affecting people now.
Khare said, "we stand behind the countries who have experienced, are experiencing and will experience these devastating effects and who continue to hold out for a deal that will provide them with basic human rights and dignity at the international level."
Youth condemn the inaction reflected in the current standings of negotiations by blank pages of text and a lack of serious emission cuts both inside and outside of the Kyoto Protocol.
Youth also supported the G77 in their strong position to create a mechanism on loss and damage. A mechanism that would help address negative impacts from climate change in developing countries, impacts such as typhoon Bopha or sea level rise. This mechanism is mainly being blocked by one developed country, the United States.
meghanemilymccarthy [@] gmail.com
Doha Number: +974 300 96 841
Nov 28, 2012
By Bill McKibben founder of 350.org, Nnimmo Bassey Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria) & Coordinator of Oilwatch International, Pablo Solon Executive Director of Focus on the Global South, former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN and former chief negotiator for climate change
To really address climate change UNFCCC-COP18 should decide to leave under the soil more than 2/3 of the fossil reserves
Originally posted on 350.org
‘Our future is now’: Communities in Liberia meet this week to discuss options after large-scale land grab
Between 2009 and 2010 the Government of Liberia allocated more than a million acres of land to transnational palm oil producers Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia without consulting or securing the consent of those living on and using the land. Following the launch of a groundbreaking report from the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)/ Friends of the Earth Liberia, Uncertain Futures, the affected communities are holding a major conference this week to demand that their voices be heard in decision making.
|The ‘Our future is now’ conference will take place in Bopolu City,
Gbarpolu County, Liberia, from 27-29 November, bringing together
communities affected by Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia.
The SDI report highlights how, as over a quarter of Liberia’s land area is now given over by the Government to rubber, oil palm and logging companies, Liberia risks becoming a land ‘lost in concessions’ with an uncertain future for the communities who are the original custodians and owners of the land.
Watch Environmental Crimes: Following the Palm Oil Trail (In English with French subtitles)
These concessions are part of Liberia’s attempt to attract Foreign Direct Investment in the natural resource sector. Large plantations are promoted as a means to create jobs, bring development, and increase the government’s budget. However, they also risk the entrenchment of systemic economic and social injustices against poor and marginalised communities.
Large-scale land allocation to foreign corporations can give transnational companies enormous political power which can subvert local democratic decision making. At the same time as corporate power silences communities, the associated dispossession of rural people from their land contributes to increased poverty in rural areas, widens the gap between the urban elites that benefit from these business transactions and the rural poor who suffer the impacts, and entrenches inequality across Liberian society.
Both the Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia plantations are clear examples of this. According to the SDI report, ‘the situation facing communities impacted by the expansion of Sime Darby’s plantation in Garwula District, western Liberia is dire: the plantation is on their doorsteps, and their farms and farmlands are being swallowed up by it. There are very few alternative livelihood options.’ According to locals interviewed for the report, Sime Darby did not pay compensation for farm lands taken by the company. They also claim that compensation paid for crops that had been destroyed was inadequate and that forest areas used for cultural practices had also been destroyed and planted with oil palm.
SDI campaigner Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor points out that ‘the situation on the Sime Darby or Golden Veroleum Liberia plantation is about much more than the impacts of a single company.’ He warns that ‘allocating large swathes of fertile agricultural land to foreign companies for several decades is dangerous because as these companies expand their plantations, communities’ ability to cope will be stretched to the limit. It will push people further into poverty, as their income generating activities are curtailed and earning capacities become limited.’
During the course of the three day conference community representatives will have the opportunity to discuss this issue. More than 150 delegates from the counties affected by Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia Sinoe, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Gbarpolu counties will be in attendance, along with a number of Monrovia-based civil society groups and international experts on agriculture, land, and community rights.
Led by local leaders, participants will be offered the opportunity to break into small groups to discuss their perspectives on the issue. At the end of the conference, community representatives will draft and adopt a document that details what they expect from palm oil concessionaires and the government.
For more information
Uncertain Futures (PDF)
Young Friends of the Earth Europe: Over the last two days, much is happening in Doha and the youth are a huge part of it. On the second day of COP18, a group of young people from around the world sent an open letter to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, calling for fossil fuel corporations to be removed from the UNFCCC process due to their intentions being incompatible with a 2 degree world, and their long history of using their significant financial resources to undermine global climate policy.
The letter was signed by a variety of organisations including The Canadian Youth Delegation, Earth in Brackets, Young Friends of the Earth Europe, Push Europe, The UKYCC, PowerShift Belgium, and others. It was also endores by Bill McKibben from 350.org.
You still have a chance to sign on the letter here!
Dear Christiana Figueres, (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
As young people, we write today with both grave concern and powerful hope.
Unfortunately, our concerns are beginning to outweigh our hope more and more each day. We were raised in a world nearly 1 degree warmer than the pre-industrial average; where disruption of the climate system has become increasingly visible in the few years since we were young children.
In this strange new world, we have already witnessed unprecedented Arctic ice melt, rampant wildfire, droughts that have crippled farmers and consumers, flooding, hail storms, and most recently, a super- charged hurricane that has devastated communities from the Caribbean to New York City. Extreme weather is becoming the new normal.
The UNFCCC process which you oversee is designed to protect us from these harsh disruptions and to achieve the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
Taking a hard look at climate politics today, it appears the UNFCCC is failing to meet that mission, therefore failing to live up to its mandate. The math just doesn’t add up.
The member states of the UNFCCC have not decided much, but they have been very clear that global average temperatures must not rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
At present, we are on target to hit this terrifying target by 2030 and to suffer upwards of six degrees of warming by the end of the century. Major international bodies, from the IEA to the World Bank, have warned that even over the medium-term, the costs of allowing emissions to rise at their present rates will come in the form of hundreds of millions of human lives and economic costs capable of driving the world economy into prolonged global depression.
According to the best science we have, there is room for 565 gigatonnes more CO2 in our atmosphere before we lose any chance of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees and preventing the enormous damage associated with such a rise.
All together, the global oil, coal and gas industries are planning to burn over five times that amount, roughly 2,795 gigatonnes of carbon. Indeed, their share prices depend on exploiting these reserves and you are surely aware of the enormous sums they have spent to prevent governments from protecting the habitability of our planet, thus reducing the value of their assets. Their business plan is incompatible with our survival.
Frighteningly, there are also states, parties to the convention, with the same plan. Canada, for example, has signed onto the Copenhagen Accord and committed to allowing no more than 2 degrees of warming. However, in direct conflict with this commitment, Canada has also publicly admitted that its position at the UN is to defend the oil sands industry whose projects alone would increase global emissions by three times the world’s carbon budget. States like this are blocking progress in the name of an industry with the potential to break the planet.
Ms. Figueres, we know that you are a person of conviction with a genuine desire to see the UNFCCC meet its mandate. We believe that you want to see a fair and ambitious global climate accord that keeps us below the 2 degree threshold. We know you’ve done the math. This is your climate legacy, and our generation’s inheritance.
You have the power to fix this process, to move us towards real climate progress, but it means being willing to call out those who stand in the way of a safe and prosperous future. The secretariat needs to acknowledge that there are groups at the UNFCCC whose goals undermine the mission and mandate of the convention. Observer organizations can be penalized, and even removed from the convention if we violate the protocols for participation. Perhaps there should be a similar process for observers and parties whose mandates fundamentally contradict the convention.
Simply put, we have a choice in front of us, we can have a healthy planet and safe climate, or the oil, coal and gas industry can have a healthy pocketbook. We can’t have both, and its time for you, and for the UNFCCC to decide what is more important; the lives and livelihoods of people, or the balance sheets of Exxon, Shell, and Chevron.
Nov 27, 2012
A delegation from Friends of the Earth International is participating in the 'World Social Forum Free Palestine', a set of conferences and seminars taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, November 28 – December 1, 2012.
Friends of the Earth International expresses its solidarity with Friends of the Earth Palestine -known as the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON)- and the Palestinian people after a week of Israeli bombardment of Gaza in November left over 140 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, including many children.
The Israeli attacks have caused an unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe, crippling essential services such as healthcare, food and fuel supplies and education centres.
Friends of the Earth International denounces all violence and demands that the ceasefire be obeyed and all Israeli blockades against Gaza and other Palestinian territories be lifted.
We also demand the dismantling of the apartheid walls built across Palestinian territories as these have created major social, environmental and human rights abuses.
In August 2012 Friends of the Earth International undertook a solidarity mission to occupied Palestine.
The solidarity mission witnessed the environmental impact of the Israeli occupation throughout the West Bank, where untreated Israeli sewage and industrial waste contaminates Palestinian land.
Water from the West Bank is denied to Palestinians so that Israeli settlers can live on Palestinian land. The solidarity mission also recorded accounts of the use of military force to destroy Palestinian cisterns and wells.
The solidarity mission denounced the denial of fundamental human rights to the Palestinian people including the persecution of environmental activists.
Friends of the Earth International appeals for solidarity and peace, and calls on governments around the world to do everything in their powers to bring about a just and lasting peace.
Nov 26, 2012
The undersigned organizations reject the arrest that we qualify as arbitrary of Dolores López, Felipe Balmori, María Fani Olmedo Paredes, Juan Carlos Tillería, Arnaldo Quintana Paredes, Adalberto Castro Benítez, Lucía Agüero, Alcides Ramírez, Luis Olmedo, and Nery Urbina, in the penitentiary of Coronel Oviedo, Department of Caaguazú, from Paraguay. These people have been on hunger strike for almost 2 months, in protest at the lack of response from the authorities responsible from the so-called government of Federico Franco.
These people, who we consider political prisoners, are victims of the slaughter that occurred on June 15th in the ill-gotten lands of Marina Cué, Department of Canindeyú, which took the lives of 11 farmers and 6 policemen. In its preliminary report, the International Mission held last September from the 5th-11th, concluded that the search warrant by the prosecutor of the city of Curuguaty, José Benítez, was inappropriate and provoked a de facto eviction, that failed to comply with all applicable human rights standards, and the killing of innocent peasants who sought access to state land to guarantee their right and their families' right to food.
The ten political prisoners of Marina Cué are part of a group of 54 people who have been arbitrarily charged with seven criminal charges including murder, attempted murder, serious injury, criminal association, grave coercion, coercion and invasion. However, according to the aforementioned International Mission “there is not sufficient evidence to minimally suspect the responsibility of them in the facts attributed to them. There has even been included in the list of persons charged, some who were not even present at the scene of the conflict, based on an old list of families living in the place”.ii
The undersigned organizations oppose the appointment of Jalil Amir Rachid as the prosecutor handling the case, for the lack of objectivity and bias in his actions, which goes against the interests of the peasants imputed. According to the report of the Platform for Peasants Conflict Studies and Research (PEICC), the role of the prosecutor is questioned by the refusal to investigate the role of the prosecutor Ninfa Aguilar in the facto-eviction occurred on June 15th, the lack of property titles of the agribusiness man Blas Riquelme and his requirements to the authorities without legal foundation, the torture and arbitrary arrests to the peasants victims, the actions of the police after the shooting, among others.iii
According to the report, the prosecutor took statements from the defendants violating judicial guarantees required by the Criminal Code, when there is no translation guaranteed and by making the accused sign statements that were not read in Guaraní, not complying with the right of due process of the accused.
In accordance with the minimum standards of due process, the prosecutor mentioned should be disqualified from attending this specific case, because of a clear conflict of interest. Indeed Jalil Amir Rachid is the son of former senator and former president of the Colorado Party, Bader Rachid, intimate friend of Blas N. Riquelme, also former senator and president of the same partyiv who also was a big landlord and owner of the agro-business "Campos Morombí", beneficiary of ill-gotten lands, and also disputed with the state the land of Marina Cué. To keep the prosecutor in charge of the case in these conditions is contrary to the minimum obligations of international law, assumed by the Paraguayan State.
Marina Cué Defendants have 5 months in preventive imprisonment despite the fact that the prosecutor has not produced any evidence whatsoever that may be noted that these defendants could be "authors" of the actions. This contravenes Article 242 of the Procedural Code that establishes as a requirement for preventive detention that "there exist sufficient facts to sustain reasonably who is author or participant in an offense."
Also this violates the principle of presumption of innocence enshrined in Article 17 of the National Constitution of Paraguay. We emphasize that in this specific case, the recent amendment of Article 245 of the Criminal Procedure Code which precludes the application of home arrest does not apply, since this rule cannot be applied retroactively to the act that occurred before the reform.
In this situation the undersigned organizations express the need for the international community to express to Paraguay´s so called government, to require that the authorities comply with the right to due process, through the following measures:
• Remove Jalil Amir Rachid as the prosecutor of the Marina Cué case and ensure objectivity and impartiality in the investigation, avoiding the pressure that the political events that occurred in Paraguay in June of this could have on the investigation;
• In compliance with Article 242 of the Procedural Code and Article 17 of the National Constitution on the presumption of innocence, dictate freedom and the acquittal of the arbitrarily accused peasants; Dolores López, Felipe Balmori, María Fani Olmedo Paredes, Juan Carlos Tillería, Arnaldo Quintana Paredes, Adalberto Castro Benítez, Lucía Agüero, Alcides Ramírez, Luis Olmedo, Nery Urbina, in the Marina Cué case, therefore decoupling them definitely from the criminal proceedings against them.
• Establish, in coordination with the Ombudsman's Office in Paraguay, an International Monitoring Commission to accompany the investigation of all crimes and violations of human rights of the peasants, committed in the Marina Cué case, to ensure compliance with international human rights obligations of the Paraguayan State;
• To ensure the implementation of the right to food for the communities affected, by urgently demanding the return of the Marina Cué land to the families affected by the conflict, and the provision of a fair and adequate compensation to the families of the victims according to their actual needs.
November, 26th, 2012
CLOC/Vía Campesina Paraguay
Cátedra Unesco de Derechos Humanos, Universidad Politécnica Cataluña, España
Campaña Global por la Reforma Agraria
Radio Mundo Real (Friends of the Earth International)
Movimiento Nacional Campesino Indígena MNCI – Vía Campesina Argentina
CLOC/Vía Campesina Chile
Equipo de Educación Popular Pañuelos en Rebeldía
Observatorio por el Cierre de la Escuela de las Américas – SOAW
Red de Coordinación en Biodiversidad Costa Rica
Asociación Sol de Paz Pachakuti
Base Investigaciones Sociales
COECOEIBA – Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo – PIDHDD
Red Asociación de Instituciones de Promoción y Educación – AIPE
Plataforma de Alianza por la Soberanía y Seguridad Alimentaria Nutricional – Bolivia
Grain América Latina
Centro de Estudios para el Campo Mexicano – CECCAM
Red de Investigación - Acción sobre la Tierra – LRAN Internacional
Fundación Mundubat – Centroamérica
Unidad de la Fuerza Indígena Campesina – UFIC
Consejo Internacional de Tratados Indios – CITI
Friends of the Earth International (FOEI)
Amigos de la Tierra de América Latina y el Caribe (ATALC)
Sobrevivencia – Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay
REDES – Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay
NAPE – Friends of the Earth Uganda
GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria
NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark
NAT – Amigos de la Tierra Brasil
Friends of the Earth Australia
SOLIFONDS Fondo de Solidaridad – Suiza
El Jannat en Transición Espacio para la Sostenibilidad – España
Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas/Vía Campesina – Brasil
Plataforma Rural Alianzas por un Mundo Rural Vivo – España
Frente Nacional por la Salud de los Pueblos FNSPE – Ecuador
Solidaridad Sueca América Latina SAL
Friends of the Landless – Finlandia
Grito de los Excluidos/as Continental
i FIAN International, Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform (La Vía Campesina Central America), The Research Group of Human Rights and Sustaintability from the Cátedra Unesco of the Cataluña Politecnic University, Radio Mundo Real (Amigos de la Tierra Internacional), ANAMURI (La Vía Campesina South America). In alliance with national organizations from Paraguay members of La Vía Campesina: MCNOC, OLT, CONAMURI, MAP, MCP, and ONAI.
ii Preliminary Report of the Investigation Mission of the Marina Cué Case, September 5th-11th 2012, Paraguay, page 6.
iii Curuguaty Slaughter Report, Study and Investigation Platform of Peasant Conflicts (PEICC), page. 173-174.
iv Curuguaty Slaughter Report, Study and Investigation Platform of Peasant Conflicts (PEICC), page. 154-155.
Nov 23, 2012
Leading brand smartphones almost certainly contain tin from an island in Indonesia where tin mining is destroying forests and farmland, choking coral reefs and devastating many communities.
Leading brand smartphones almost certainly contain tin from an island in Indonesia where tin mining is destroying forests and farmland, choking coral reefs and devastating many communities, according to a new Friends of the Earth investigation released today: ‘Mining for Smartphones: the True Cost of Tin’
The research by Friends of the Earth in the UK and Indonesia shows
that Samsung and Apple deal with companies that use tin mined on
Bangka island. It’s almost certain that this tin ends up in their
products although the companies may not have known this or the
devastating effect of mining on the island.
Watch the trailer for Mining For Smartphones, a new three-part documentary series produced by Friends of the Earth.
The films highlight the devastating impact of tin mining on the paradise
islands of Bangka in Indonesia.
Devastation on Bangka
Image: Ulet Ifansasti/Friends of the Earth
Nov 22, 2012
Update: Guatemalan Government colludes with Spanish company Hidralia in intimidating community members after protest against dam building. Arbitrary arrests followed.
Eleven people were arrested without charge on May 2, 2012 in a flagrant violation of their rights. Several of those arrested had protested the killing of a community member by private security guards working for Spanish company Hidralia SA. Others were simply randomly picked up. The date for their hearing has been pushed back to December 4.
Eleven people were arrested without charge on May 2, 2012 in a flagrant violation of their rights. Several of those arrested had protested the killing of a community member by private security guards working for Spanish company Hidralia SA. Others were simply randomly picked up.
Hidralia SA is building the Santa Cruz hydroelectric dam. Over 90% of local community members are opposed to and voted against the implementation of hydroelectric and mining projects in Barillas in a 2007 consultation.
Eight people remain in prison over seven months after the arrests, as verified by Friends of the Earth International's Solidarity Mission in November this year.
The prisoners are also concerned for the wellbeing of their wives and children who have been deprived of their main household income. Many struggle with heavy debt burdens. The bus journey from their home communities to the prison takes twelve hours, making it difficult for families to visit.
The prisoners were labeled as terrorists, despite the fact that they were either peacefully defending their communities or not involved at all.
The prisoners have since been released.
The arbitrary nature of the detention of the political prisoners of Barillas can be neither denied nor concealed, it appears in the reports of several human rights groups, as well as in the file of the case and in the legal actions brought by the lawyers of the detainees.
For more information on this case:
Nov 06, 2012
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, 5-6 November 2012 - Environmental and social justice activists from around the globe gathered here for two days of passionate presentations calling for solidarity, resistance to transnational corporations and for increased sovereignty for local communities.
The 'Climate change, Territories and Social Movements Conference' brought together activists and community leaders affected by climate change, with delegates coming not only from Central America, but also as far away as Africa and Asia.
Ricardo Navarro, of host country El Salvador, opened the presentations with a discussion of the global context and local responses. He gave a daunting overview of the effects of climate change, how we got here and the consequences we face in the future if we do not take urgent action.
On the first day discussions focused on the themes of transformation of the existing economic system as a step towards mitigating climate change and rebalancing the injustices of the current global order.
Delegates expressed outrage at the ill affects of the extractive industries, at the dangers posed by privatization of water and energy, and at the shifting of Southern wealth to the global North.
The second day culminated in a march through San Salvador, with hundreds of people from civil society organisations from Latin America and all over the world.
The conference was organised by Friends of the Earth El Salvador / Cesta and The Movement of the Victims and Peoples Affected by Climate Change (MOVIAC), a peoples’ movement which aims to increase the power of communities to defend their territories and to demand climate justice.
Watch the video 'Testimonios del Cambio Climatico', a compilation of interviews with participants of the MOVIAC conference (in Spanish).
Jan 13, 2012
Our analysis of the outcomes of the 2011 UN climate talks in Durban and a look at where the climate justice movement goes from here.
Developed countries engaged in a smoke and mirrors trick of delivering rhetoric but no action, failed to commit to urgently needed deep emissions cuts, and even backtracked on past commitments to address the climate crisis.
The outcome of the Durban talks, heralded by some as a step forward, in fact amounts to:
- No progress on fair and binding action on reducing emissions
- No progress on urgently needed climate finance
- Increased likelihood of further expansion of false solutions like carbon trading
- The further locking in of economies based on polluting fossil fuels
- The further unravelling of the legally-binding international framework to deliver climate action on the basis of science and equity.
While there was resistance from developing countries to the destructive proposals on the table in Durban, the final Durban outcome amounts to:
- A new “Durban Platform” which will delay climate action for a decade. Instead of implementing the existing, ambitious and equitable negotiating roadmap that was agreed in Bali four years ago, a new process to launch negotiations for a new treaty was agreed in Durban. The “Durban Platform” will delay much needed climate action for a decade.
- A substantial weakening of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is the only existing international framework for legally-binding emissions reductions by rich industrialised countries. These countries are responsible for three quarters of the emissions in the atmosphere despite only hosting 15% of the world’s population. The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has still not been formally agreed and would only cover the European Union and a handful of other developed countries.
- Drastically insufficient targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Taken alongside the expansive loopholes agreed to in Durban that serve to help countries avoid emissions cuts, these paltry pledges actually mean a likely net increase in emissions between now and 2020.
- A shift of the burden for climate action to developing countries, which have done the least to cause global warming, have the least resources to combat it, and face the additional burden of having to address pressing poverty alleviation and development needs.
- Absolutely no progress on urgently-needed, new and additional public finance for developing country climate action and adaptation measures to protect vulnerable communities from climate impacts. The Green Climate Fund was approved but with no means by which to fill the coffers and a provision agreed to that could allow multinational corporations and private financial actors to directly access the fund.
- The increased likelihood of new opportunities for carbon trading, a destructive false solution to the climate crisis which locks in climate inaction, drives land grabbing and displacement of communities, and could contribute to another global financial collapse.
“Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action. And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”
Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
WHERE NOW FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE?
We believe that we need to radically transform our global economy to create a more just and sustainable world. We need dramatic cuts in emissions on the basis of science and equity and a transformation in our economies to make this a reality.
Developed countries also have a moral and legal obligation to honour their climate debt and provide adequate public finance to developing countries to develop sustainably and protect the vulnerable from climate impacts.
A strong and fair UN agreement on climate is essential, and to get it we will work with others to strengthen the movement for justice in all countries and hold our governments to account to ensure that politics works for people and the planet, not for profit.
Dec 09, 2011
As world leaders met in Durban, South Africa to discuss efforts to tackle global warming, Friends of the Earth International were there calling on the rich developed countries, which have historically emitted the most greenhouse gases, to agree to urgent and dramatic cuts in their emissions.
Members of the FoEI delegation carry a 'no carbon trading' banner on the streets of Durban during the Global Day of Action. We're calling on developed countries to tackle climate change by urgently making real changes at home.
Carbon offsetting – when developed countries buy carbon credits from developing countries to avoid cutting emissions themselves – has no part to play in a just international agreement to fight climate change.
We believe in climate justice which means emission cuts in developed countries, and money for developing countries to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change – but it also means a change in our consumption patterns.
coverage of the talks and further reading
- Disastrous "durban package" accelerates onset of climate catastrophe
- Read all our press releases relating to the talks
- Call one of South Africa's largest polluters to get out of the climate change negotiations
- Stop land grabbing for palm oil in Uganda
FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey blogs for the New Internationalist
- Durban became a procrastinators' paradise
- There is no planet b
- The Kyoto Protocol is in grave danger
- Challenging climate apartheid
- Are Durban climate talks worth the bother
Updates from Durban: inside and outside the talks
- The silver lining to a terribly dark cloud - the Green Climate Fund and Durban
- Civil society takes action in Durban for a fair agreement
- 3,000 people demand EU leadership at climate talks
- The youth take a stand
- Profiting from pollution: an introduction to carbon trading
- Fighting climate change on the frontline
- 10,000 people demand climate justice
- Keep corporations out of the Green Climate Fund
- Durban in Brussels: European youth convergence for climate justice
- Exposing climate killers
- FoE US: Climate talks begin with tragic deaths
- REDD in the real world
- Will they listen?
- How corporations rule: a series of case studies exposing corporate influence in climate negotiations
- In the REDD: Australia's carbon offset project in central Kalimantan
- Briefing: Changing the system not the climate
- Carbon markets briefing: our climate is not for sale
- Factsheet: Our climate, our say
Young Friends of the Earth
- Listen to the coverage on our web based radio station Real World Radio
- View photos from the events taking place inside and outside the talks
- View a more extensive selection of high resolution photos on our Flickr account
Civil society events in Durban
This afternoon hundreds of climate justice activists staged a protest at the UN climate talks in support of a strong and fair agreement to protect Africa and the world.
FoEI's Chair Nnimmo Bassey said:
“The people have spoken loud and clear: we need climate justice now and this means urgent action. Yet the politicians inside the talks are once again failing to deliver. If urgent, ambitious action is not taken the lives of millions will be in peril.”
“Developed countries are responsible for this crisis. They must now stop trying to protect their polluters. They must commit to the ambitious emissions reductions the science and justice tell us we need to avoid catastrophic climate change.”