Civil society organisations warn governments: Stand with us, or step aside



Posted on 06 June 2014  | 
Civil society organisations demonstrating outside the climate negotiations in Bonn.
© Bernadette Fischler / WWF-UKEnlarge
Bonn:  More than 100 people held a demonstration in Bonn today, outside the hotel where the Ministers of Environment were meeting at the UN climate negotiations.

Organisations from every continent – including trade unions, social movements, environmental groups, gender and youth groups, indigenous groups and NGOs –are demanding action by the more than 198 member governments of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A Declaration was handed over to the Minister for the Environment for Peru Manual Pulgar-Vidal; Laurence Tubiana, recently nominated special envoy for the French Foreign Affairs Minister, and Venezuela Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Claudia Salerno Caldera, listing demands.

International civil society organisations demonstrated their rising dissatisfaction with the direction of the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw last November, staging an unprecedented mass walkout.

The demonstration in Bonn is intended to show the growing public support for climate action and a just energy transformation.

The groups held a banner: “We Choose: Renewable Energy. People’s Power now!

Anabella Rosemberg, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) climate advisor said, “In Warsaw, we left because governments were not taking their responsibilities to tackle climate change seriously. We came together again here in Bonn, across very diverse groups to tell them we’ll not surrender until we build the strong climate movement we need, one that pushes for a just world, for the jobs of the future, and for a planet that is preserved for future generations.”

The Declaration continues that, “the walk out was an act of protest and indignation over governments’ continued failure to take decisive and swift action against the biggest threat to both people and the planet, and an act of condemnation of continued domination and sabotage of the international climate talks by powerful corporate interests.”

Lidy Nacpil, Director of Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, from the Philippines said, “These negotiations are a matter of life and death for many who live in vulnerable countries – where worse typhoons and droughts mean much more suffering. We will continue to take action against those who claim to be leaders, calling on them to take up our solutions and beat back the vested interests that want business as usual and dress it up as progress.”

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Team says, “We are being told to have “realistic expectations” for a new global climate deal in 2015 by government negotiators. We do have realistic expectations. It is realistic to expect that any global deal on climate will require urgent, ambitious action to cut climate pollution and address the damage that climate change is causing for people and nature. It is realistic to expect a fair, just agreement that is in line with what science is telling us. The lack of realism is among government negotiators, not civil society.”

The Declaration says the intention is to reiterate to all “leaders in the UN climate negotiations “that they are dangerously off track in addressing the climate emergency. We are calling on them to listen to the demands and solutions of people.”

People are mobilizing everywhere and taking to the streets in bigger numbers and increasing intensity to stand up to vested interests and fight for their future and those of the next generations, says the Declaration.

The Declaration lists seven specific demands of the groups, and then concludes, “the global climate movement is building its strength and power in every country of the world. We call on those who claim to represent us to either act in our interests or step aside.
Civil society organisations demonstrating outside the climate negotiations in Bonn.
© Bernadette Fischler / WWF-UK Enlarge
Civil society marchers in Warsaw, Poland pledging to return to the next round of climate talks.
© Oxfam International Enlarge

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