by, Felipe Fontecilla, in the picture in front of the entry sign of the Civil Society Summit.
December 4th, Santiago de Chile. Parallel to the events taking place at COP25 Chile in Madrid, Chilean Civil Societies organised two other climate summits: The People's Summit (La Cumbre de los Pueblos 2019) and the Civil Society Summit for Climate Action (La Cumbre Social por la Acción Climática). Each of these summits tackles questions of Climate Change and governance for the Latinamerican region from different perspectives. The People’s Summit presents itself as an antineoliberal gathering of people and seeks to educate, create dialogue, and develop solutions for Climate Change by questioning the mere roots of the socioeconomic system we live under and that have been imposed in Latinamerica through colonialism, neocolonialism, and capitalist expansionism. The people's summit has a strong focus on indigenous communities and women and provides space for these groups to bring about their issues under the Women’s Tent and the Peace Village, two of their gathering spaces. The Civil Society Summit, on the other hand, recognizes the same problems, and gathers almost 200 organisations that work in Chile for Climate Action with the intention of getting together to discuss issues and solutions to the Climate Crisis that affects the country, the region, and the world. Organisers of this summit are currently working on a Latinamerican Manifesto for Climate Action and are intending to bring the voices of those who lost the possibility of being represented when COP25 was moved from Santiago to Madrid.
Civil unrest in Chile caused president Sebastian Piñera to cancel COP25 Chile, which he had taken over when Brazil decided to turn it down. His decision was made unilaterally, without prior consultation to the Chilean civil society, or the UNFCCC, which shows his approach to governance and is part of the reason for the civil unrest still taking place in Chile - if you have no idea what’s going down here check out some of my previous posts. With all these summits taking place in parallel, there is much to be said about the power of organised civil society, and the resilience of groups to work despite and against a government that is actively trying to step on them. In conversation with some of the organisers and staff working on these summits I have learnt that after the civil explosion in october and the further cancellation of COP25 their working teams shrank little. In addition, many of the organisations from abroad who had confirmed their attendance had to cancel because of their commitment to COP25. Despite this, their motto became: No hay COP, si hay cumbre! (There’s no COP, but there’s still summits!) and on December 2nd, both summits had their opening ceremonies where they made this message be heard. At the opening of the People's Summit they said: "In Chile there is no COP because they (the government) knows that the people will not remain silent anymore."
Below is the program for the Civil Society Summit, every day they will be touching upon a different theme: water, nature, energy transition, global climate march, towards a new model, women and indigenous people, human rights and environmental justice, and climate governance. I also put a few pictures from the events I have attended thus far!
Stay tuned for more!