Earth day in Bolivia

From Copenhagen to Cancun, Indigenous Peoples Vow to Defend the “Rights of Mother Earth” Condemn Predatory ‘REDD’ Forest Programs

24 April 2010


Cochabamba, Bolivia– As Earth Day celebrations commence around the world, Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas are in Cochabamba, Bolivia today to close the historic conference on climate change and the “Rights of Mother Earth” hosted by President Evo Morales. Morales, the only Indigenous Head of State in the world, called this conference in the wake of failed climate talks in Copenhagen. As the world prepares for the next round of talks in Cancún, Mexico, Indigenous Peoples vowed today to push for proposals that keep fossil fuels in the ground, protect Indigenous rights, and reject predatory policies like REDD (Reducing Emissions Through Deforestation & Degradation).

REDD is branded as a friendly forest conservation program, yet it is backed by big polluters and climate profiteers. We cannot solve this crisis with out addressing the root cause: a fossil fuel economy that disregards the rights of Mother Earth,” said Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council. “President Morales has heard our recommendations on the structural causes of climate change and predatory carbon schemes like REDDs, and will bring our voices to the world stage in Cancún later this year.

This morning President Morales was joined by representatives of 90 governments and several Heads of State to receive the findings of the conference on topics such as a Climate Tribunal, Climate Debt, just finance for mitigation and adaptation, agriculture, and forests.

The working group on forests held one of the more hotly contested negotiations of the summit, but with the leadership of Indigenous Peoples, a consensus was reached to reject REDD and call for wide-scale grassroots reforestation programs. The final declaration on forests states, “We condemn the mechanisms of the neoliberal market, such as the REDD mechanism and its versions REDD+ and REDD++, which are violating the sovereignty of our Peoples and their rights to free, prior and informed consent and self determination.” The working group on forests also challenged the definition of forests used by the United Nations, which permits plantations and transgenic trees, saying, “Monocultures are not forests.”

REDD is not a solution to climate change,” said Marlon Santi, President of CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the largest Indigenous organization in that country. “REDD has been created by multilateral institutions like the World Bank World Bank
WB
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

that routinely violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights and pollute Mother Earth. It is perverse that these institutions are pretending to have the ‘solution’ when they have actually caused the climate crisis. REDD should not be implemented in any country or community
.”

REDD is a predatory program that pretends to save forests and the climate, while backhandedly selling out forests out from under our Indigenous People,” said Tom Goldtooth, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), based in Bemidji, MN. “REDD will encourage continuing pollution and global warming, while displacing those of us least responsible for the crisis, who have been stewards of the forests since time immemorial.
The declarations forged by the working groups in Cochabamba will be taken to the Cancún summit by President Morales as a counter-proposal to the widely criticized “Copenhagen Accord.” Movements of Indigenous Peoples, trade unions, farmers and environmentalists are also building momentum out of Cochabamba with plans for mass demonstrations in Cancún.
The Indigenous Environmental Network is in Cochabamba for the duration of the Climate Conference (April 20-24). Onsite cell: +591 740 2853

Indigenous Environmental Network: Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions. www.ienearth.org

Contacts in Bolivia:
Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network: +591 740 28531
Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project: +591 703 75254



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