By: Maria Alejandra Escalante, Graham Thurston Hallett, and Clémence Hutin (Young Friends of the Earth Europe)
We Stand Together – members of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Clémence, Graham and Maria
Our official expulsion from the United Nations Convention on Climate Change at COP19 has been confirmed: after a week of waiting, Christiana Figueres decided to respond to the various letters sent from the Philippine delegation, The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice statement with 64 signatures from NGOs around the World (listed below), the Youth constituency, Friends of the Earth International, Earth in Brackets, College of the Atlantic, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and an appeal made by the Bolivian delegation on behalf of the G77, all requesting a reversal in her decision. Figueres, Executive Secretariat of this multilateral, and supposedly inclusive and democratic space, responded saying that our actions violated the “orderly conduct” of the Convention, and threatened the “peaceful and respectful environment” of its halls.
An act of solidarity with a delegate who is urgently pleading the international community to react and stop the people of his country from dying, is nothing but an act of sympathy and compassion, a human reaction to the suffering of others. If this is not allowed within the UNFCCC space, if to be human is denied and drastically punished, then perhaps it is not the space which it claims to be.
It is clear that order and process are held to the highest regard. Even after encouraging the youth to get angry at the current degraded state of world politics, the Executive Secretary blindly used procedure without consideration of the real motives and drives of our act of solidarity. The Secretariat’s fear of another Copenhagen has lead to diminished civil society participation, paralleled by the rise of the corporate capture of the process.
If the intention of banning our voice was to keep the negotiating space a safe one, we must say that our actions were not threatening anyone; we were peacefully expressing the question that lingers in everyone’s minds: ‘How Many More?’ How many more lives must perish for governments and negotiators to act by drastically lowering their carbon emissions, providing finance and the means of implementation to the Global South to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and establishing a loss and damage mechanism? How many more lives until they care? So far, the developed countries at COP19 are telling us that thousands of Filipino lives are not enough. We did not threaten your ‘safe space,’ Madam Executive Secretary, instead we became extremely aware of the arbitrary use of your power.
If the intention of banning our voice was to keep the youth repressed in a corner, afraid of punishment, afraid of raising up to the pathetic job from developed countries, we must say that the effect was exactly the opposite. Connections between youth groups are becoming stronger because we are understanding that the monster of climate change and the ineffectiveness that the UNFCCC currently represents can only be defeated by our union. A union that celebrates diversity in its methodology but comes together in one single clamor: We Demand Climate Justice Now! The repression of our voices has not been the first incident of the kind, many have happened in previous years, but our de-badging is giving us all an explicit reason to rise up and challenge your power. Be sure to know that we will continue growing from our roots, increasing our resilience as a movement, moving forward with our goal.
The repression of our voice has also strengthened the synergy between youth groups and Global South NGOs, as well as the connection with developing countries, especially the Philippines and Bolivia. The G77, like us, have proposed clear demands to developed governments and red lines for these negotiations, once again they are being crossed. Together, we demand a strong mechanism on Loss and Damage, an explicit use of the CBDR principle in accepting a science and equity based carbon budget with drastic emissions cuts, and strict and real financing for adaptation. The G77 is standing together this time. We stand with them.
De-badging three youth activists from the climate talks through an arbitrary application of the “operational guidelines” to measure an act of solidarity has been just a building block towards an alliance between social movements, youth groups and developing country delegations. We all demand climate justice now. We stand together here at Warsaw, and we stand together outside of the negotiations halls, where the fight for climate justice and equity will continue.
Signatories to the Philippine Climate Justice Movement Statement include:
21st Century Issues
All Nepal Peasants Federation
Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture
Alyansa Tigil Mina Philippines
Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA ) – Pilipinas
Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India
Bharat Jan Vigyanm Jatha (India People’s Science Campaign)
Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
Campaign for Climate Justice Network
Center for Earth Jurisprudence
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO, South Sudan
Ecological Society of the Philippines
Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)
EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity) India
FDC Women’s Committee
Focus on the Global South
Food & Water Europe
Food & Water Watch, USA
Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica)
Freedom from Debt Coalition
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Global Call to Action against Poverty Philippines
Indian Social Action Forum
Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program
International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR)
Isis International Manila
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement in Debt and Development
Kerala Swathanthra Malsyathozhilay Federation
KRuHA – People’s Coalition for the Right to Water
Migrant Forum Asia
Miriam P.E.A.C.E. Philippines
Nadi Ghati Morcha India
National Coastal Womens Movement
Online Knowledge Society
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Pakistan Kissan Rabia Committee
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Partido ng Manggagawa Philippines
Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement
Rural Reconstruction Nepal
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication
South Asian Dialogues on Ecolgical Democracy (SADED)
Third World Network
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), India
WASH-Net Sierra Leone
World Development Movement
World March of Women – Pilipinas (WMW)
Youth Partnership for Peace and Development