LA PAZ – The presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela agreed to speak for “Pachamama,” or Mother Earth, and civil society at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, in Paris this December.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, along with Rafael Correa and Nicolas Maduro, his counterparts from Ecuador and Venezuela, respectively, emphasized on Monday the role of society in defending the environment, at the closing of the II World People’s Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia’s Cochabamba.
The three-day forum, during which social organizations, trade unions and indigenous groups from several countries met to discuss climate issues, concluded with a series of proposals, which the presidents assured will be presented at the Paris summit.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also attended the first two days of the conference and was optimistic about a sound and credible global agreement on climate change at COP21.
Civil society representatives proposed the creation of an environmental justice court, recognition of indigenous ancestral knowledge, and demanded developed countries should recognize their climate debt as a legal and moral obligation.
Correa advocated applying the so-called “environmental justice” as a solution to climate change, so the “most polluting countries recognize the damage” they have caused in other nations through exploitation of natural resources and pollution.
He also suggested technology and know-how to fight climate change should be declared “global public assets” to ensure all countries have free access to them, and stressed the need for a “Universal Declaration of Nature’s Rights.”
“Our peoples are wise, they know exactly what they want, and what the path to follow is,” Morales said, expressing confidence in ancestral knowledge of indigenous people.
While Maduro made a call for being alert against “cheating” during the Paris climate summit, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez warned, his country won’t accept any new agreement that dilutes rich and developed nations’ existing obligations.
Rodriguez also demanded rich countries provide financial aid as well as clean and green technologies to help fight climate change.
Other notable figures who participated in the forum included the 1980 Nobel Peace laureate from Argentina, Adolfo Perez Esquivel; former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon and Spanish MEP Estefania Torres, representing the European United Left group.