(A non-disruptive, non-violent protest – but effective, so of course, they are ejected.)
TURN THEIR BACKS ON CANADIAN GOVERNMENT DURING OPENING SPEECH
High Resolution Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cydcancun/Durban,
South Africa – Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation were ejected from COP17 today as Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent delivered his opening address at the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Just as Kent began his speech, six youth stood and turned away from the Minister revealing the message “Turn your back on Canada” prominently displayed on their shirts.
“Our so-called Environment Minister entered these talks by going on record that Continue reading
The Mercury, 6 December
Eye on Society column
A dirty deal coming down in Durban
By Patrick Bond
What, now, are the prospects for a climate deal by Friday?
The biggest problem is obvious: COP17 saboteurs from the US State Department joined by Canada, Russia and Japan, want to bury the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol treaty. Instead of relaxing intellectual property rules on climate technology and providing a fair flow of finance, Washington offers only a non-binding ‘pledge and review’ system.
This is unenforceable and at current pledge rates – with Washington lagging everyone – is certain to raise world temperatures to four degrees centigrade, and in Africa much higher. Estimates of the resulting deaths of Africans this century are now in excess of 150 million. As former Bolivian Ambassadar to the UN, Pablo Solon said at last week’s Wolpe Memorial Lecture, “The COP17 will be remembered as a place of premeditated genocide and ecocide.”
Within the International Convention Centre, everyone in their right mind should resist this. First, it is patently obvious, after the 1997 Kyoto negotiations where Al Gore promised US support in exchange for carbon trading, and after Hillary Clinton’s 2009 promise of a $100 billion Green Climate Fund – both reneged upon – that Washington cannot be trusted. Lead negotiators Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing should be isolated, an international climate court should be established, and preparations made for comprehensive sanctions against US goods and services. Continue reading
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been identified as the site of this year’s COP17 alternative space, known as the ‘People’s Space’, where national and international civil society will come together around the global issue of climate change.
The contract to utilise UKZN was signed on November 3, 2011, between the C17, a body mandated by over 80 South African civil society groups to coordinate civil society activities around COP17, and UKZN management, with the assistance of the university’s Centre for Society and School of Development Studies.
C17 aims to provide a space in which to strengthen the climate justice movement in South Africa, while at the same time consolidating civil society actions across the world during the two weeks of negotiations.
The establishment of a parallel space at COP negotiations each year responds to the marginalisation civil society frequently experiences at these events and the lack of progress that has been made by international governments in addressing climate change.
‘The People’s Space’ will thus serve as the space in which the people of the world can make their voices heard and where civil society can work towards creating another vision for addressing climate change by building a strong movement of like-minded activists and ordinary people from around the world.
Howard College venue just 6km from the COP
Situated just six kilometres from the official UNFCCC event at Durban’s International Conference Centre (ICC), Continue reading
This blog is a rather informal operation, as you may have gathered. But South African civil society has been busy organising itself for some time in preparation for the COP, with two primary goals: a neutral space for civil society activities of all stripes, and a mass consolidated march on Sat 3 December.
C17’s official website is c17.org.za. It includes a calendar of events outside of the official COP itself, and you can register your own non-COP activities on the calendar.
I will continue updating this site up to and throughout the COP – but please don’t expect it to be a comprehensive resource.
There doesn’t appear to be a final decision on the actual venue for the civil society space yet, so I’ll update you when that comes. However, survivors of Cancun will probably be relieved to hear that this whole COP, including civil society spaces, should be a whole lot more geographically consolidated than was COP16 in Mexico. I’m taking my bike to Durban.
There’s more about C17 below, in their own words. Faith community events are consolidated at cop17faithcommunities.org.za.
Here’s hoping we all find some true value in the next few weeks of craziness, and that Continue reading
The human rights of their fellow citizens often appear to be at the bottom of the list of priorities of many South African officials. So it’s not altogether surprising to hear that street people will be “cleared” from Durban for COP17, to places unknown. Dealing with climate breakdown is about the rights of human and other living beings, and abusing human rights to facilitate a climate change conference which should have human rights at its heart is disgraceful.
On March 25th and 26th, fifteen members of the Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) met in Durban to strategise, plan and develop its working plan for 2011. Included in the discussion was the role of C17, its functionality, and what it will undertake to do during and in the lead- up to the UNFCCC COP17. Decisions taken at the meeting and a whole lot more details from the committee are recorded in this document (PDF).
Objectives of the C17 committee
• Facilitate the development of an informed civil society that is mobilised, active and can articulate and advocate for climate justice
• Minimise climate change through education and mobilisation, using COP 17 as a catalyst
• Encourage lifestyle change, awareness and understanding of climate change in climate justice groups and broader civil society
• Develop and strengthen the environmental justice movement
C17 Actions will include:
1. Coordinate Global Day of Action (GDA) on December 3rd
2. Facilitate international engagement with GDA and climate justice summits
3. Create and facilitate a physical civil society space during COP17
4. Create and facilitate a virtual civil society space prior to COP17
5. Facilitate and organise a series of actions leading up to COP17 including advocacy, pressure and mobilisation for climate justice; and raising awareness of COP17 and climate change through media and general public outreach
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a policy brief by Aaron Atteridge analysing the domestic and international drivers that influence the way South Africa approaches climate change negotiations. It’s entitled “Multiple Identities: Behind South Africa’s Approach to Climate Diplomacy”.
Its key findings are that:
• In international climate negotiations, South Africa is widely seen as playing a “bridge-building” role between industrialised and developing countries. This is driven partly by a desire among the country’s post-apartheid leaders to promote South Africa as a responsible actor, a stable economy and a platform for foreign investment in Africa.
• President Jacob Zuma’s voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction pledge at COP15 in Copenhagen was seen domestically as the country “punching above its weight” in its contribution to global mitigation action. This reaction can be understood by Continue reading