“The solution cannot be to put off the development of those who need it most. The truth is that everything that today contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is tantamount to a flagrant attack on the ecology […] A better distribution of wealth and of the technologies available in the world could spare humanity such devastation. Less luxury and waste in a few countries could bring about a reduction of poverty and hunger in a large part of the planet. […] Let selfishness and hegemonism cease, as well as callousness, recklessness and deceit.” – Fidel Castro, Río de Janeiro, 1992
Three years have passed since the Summit of the Peoples was held in June 2012 parallel to the United Nations Rio+20 meeting. At that time the Network in Defense of Humanity called on all social movements, social leaders in general, governments and all persons of good will to mobilize against the suicidal model imposed on the world that leaves no other alternative than the extinction of the human species.
Today on the eve of COP 21 Paris 2015 in which a new climate agreement is expected to be signed, there is no reason to feel satisfied since nothing induces us to think that there will be consensus to adopt real solutions demanded by the gravity of the moment. Should we return to the slogan of Copenhagen: Let us not change the climate; Change the system! If we do not confront the real causes of the catastrophe we will not be able to avoid it.
In the World Conference of the Peoples on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Tiquipaya, Bolivia from October 10 to 12 this year. Those present adopted a decision to retake it for its validity and the message of the Network in Defense of Humanity made in June of 2012 in the Río+20 Summit demanded by all within our reach of the system of international organizations of the United Nations was recovered in the Final Declaration:
- To refute the intention of replacing the approach on compliance with the principles of sustainable development and the goals of millennium development with the new theses proposed around the “green economy.” To reject this concept and any other form of exploitation by transnational powers and demand a multi-sector and multi-dimensional approach to deal with the crisis.
- To condemn the privatization of natural resources and all forms of merchandising nature. To acknowledge and give value to the integral concept of life of aboriginal cultures and of the principles of solidarity, equality, complementarity and reciprocity upon which alternatives such as El Buen Vivir and others are based, for a harmonious relationship with nature and the survival of the human species.
- To acknowledge the urgency of placing the defense of the rights of our species and nature as the focal point for negotiations and international normative instruments to the detriment of the rights of capital. From this point of view, to acknowledge the need for a criminal court on the environment.
- That wars, imperial policies and the arms race be condemned as the greatest aggressions on the environment and on the preservation of the human species, both for their direct consequences as for the incalculable expenses they cause. These resources should instead be used to resolve the principal social and environmental challenges facing humanity. That the suicidal nature of nuclear arsenals should be denounced and their elimination and absolute prohibition should be demanded.
- That public authorities should take on as their principal obligation the application of an approach based on the rights of sustainability, well-being and progress of society, and the inexcusable responsibility of governments to provide services essential for the lives of every single citizen should be recovered.
That the indicators of development and progress should be radically changed so that they take into account the environmental costs, social equity and human development.
- That the transformation of the patterns of production, consumption and income distribution is recognized as being imperative. The search for growing accumulation of profits and orienting production towards solvent demand and not social necessity, something identifying the capitalist system, cannot, nor can it ever, generate equality, eliminate poverty or guarantee harmonious development along with preserving the environment. The real urgency of moving towards non-polluting technologies cannot reduce the analysis to merely technological aspects.
- That the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, acknowledged in the Rio Declaration, becomes translated into real financing, flexible and political access mechanisms for technology and knowledge for the most needy countries and into inescapable obligations of the industrialized countries.
- To denounce the cynical “clean talk” of the powers of the North that are today trying to blame the countries of the South while hiding their historical and present responsibility in those countries’ technological backwardness and in the deformation of their economies and favoring the transnationals’ “dirty” operations in the South. The “green” brands and patents have to be denounced as a renewed and dangerous mechanism reaffirming domination over all technologically dependent countries.
- That the Summit should stand in favor of the vital precautionary assessment of technologies according to their social and environmental impact. It is urgent that we put together a world convention for the control of new and emerging technologies, based on the principle of precautious and participative assessment.
- To denounce so-called programmed obsolescence and to favor technologies dealing with product maximum life-spans, providing benefits for standardization, repair, recycling and minimum waste, so that human needs may be satisfied at the lowest possible environmental cost.
- To condemn world trade control by transnationals and the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in imposing agreements legitimizing inequality and exclusion and preventing the exercise of sovereign public policies. To promote concrete actions to achieve fairer trade exchanges that are in harmony with environmental requirements.
- To agree on concrete measures to stop the volatility of food prices and speculation of the basic products market as an essential means to combat hunger and poverty.
- To denounce the massive acquisition of land in the southern countries by foreign powers and multi-nationals in order to exploit their natural resources or dedicate them to projects that compromise the environment or the balance of the ecosystems.
- To promote a framework convention for environmental and social responsibility of companies and national legislation condemning their harmful and abusive practices, taking into account the trans-national nature of their operations.
- To promote control actions on commercial advertising that instigates extravagant consumption and creates unreal necessities, particularly the advertising directed at young children and adolescents, and to establish instead policies that promote advertising for the public good, thereby constituting a source of sustainable information and practices.
- That a firm declaration be made in favor of orienting education and science towards benefitting human development and not revolving around market functions, based on new consumption ethics that, without sacrificing the essentials of material satisfaction, reject products which are the result of ecologically aggressive practices or slave labor and other forms of exploitation.
- To promote the review and modification of the current system of intellectual property, in light of environmental negotiations, the agenda of struggle against climate change and for human rights, so that the transfer of technologies and environmentally healthy practical knowledge, or access to them, may be facilitated.
- To demand that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as a UN organization, faces up to the urgent need for a paradigm change around the matter of international scientific research and knowledge, in such a way as, leaving to one side the market mechanisms, promotes the necessary collaboration, coordinated research and distribution and applications of the results on a large scale. That this organization should implement the mechanisms necessary to favor, as soon as possible, an effective energy transition and the measures to mitigate climate change.
- That an integral re-evaluation of the existing environmental management system, that has shown itself to be incapable of stopping the ecological catastrophe, should be promoted, and a new, inclusive, genuinely democratic and participative one that is directed towards the deep causes of the crisis should be laid down, one that should be capable of promoting real solutions to these problems for the generations of today and the future, to generate a new Social Contract in our countries and on an international scale.
(www.especieenpeligro.org, November 29, 2015. Edited slightly for grammar by TML.)