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RRI supports community voices on Climate Change at Central American Presidential Summit
28 May - RRI partner ACICAFOC brought together over 300 civil society representatives in a Summit held parallel to the Central American Presidential Summit on Climate Change and Environment in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Ranging from community leaders, rural forest residents, farmers and indigenous peoples to women and youth representatives, participants joined together to discuss and present their perspectives on the mitigation and adaptation measures proposed in the region.
The viewpoints shared at the summit were a culmination of activities and community meetings held throughout Central America in recent months, carried out with the support from various organizations including RRI. Governmental representatives from all seven countries heard the outcomes of these meetings presented in eight key points; a shortened version of these points are outlined here:
"1. The strategies relating to climate change should be state policies. This implies that these strategies should be: a) a product of broad social consensus; b) cross-cutting, inter-institutional and inter-ministerial; and c) count on human resources, technical capacity and sufficient public financing.
2. A powerful voice must be raised to the international stage. We are a region that could be characterized as a recipient, rather than producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) and the impact of these gases increases our exposure to extreme natural events. This should transform our States and civil society in the region into a powerful voice to demand that the countries and sectors most responsible for the generation of GHG that impact climate change, an effective commitment to modify their productive practices of consumption and that they reduce their emissions, committing to compensation for the damage that affects the poorest countries.
3. Comply with Environmental Justice. Under this framework, we demand compliance with the principle of environmental justice which establishes that we all have common yet differentiated commitments in the stabilization of GHG that affect climate change. In this sense, there should be a clear differentiation at a global, regional and national level of these responsibilities, that is translated in different financial mechanisms to reduce the vulnerability of the poorest people.
4. Adaptation: Central Axis to the Regional Strategy on Climate Change. The majority of the population of Central America and the Caribbean live in poverty, in high-risk conditions and in areas that are highly vulnerable to threats and climatic events that are increasingly frequent and extreme. Allocating economic resources to change this situation should be the highest priority of our governments. If the causes of poverty and inequalities are not attacked in our region, the policies of adaptation and mitigation will not be viable as has been demonstrated to date.
5. A legitimate system of knowledge and information management should be created. This implies not only the generation of more and better information, above all hydro meteorological information to reduce uncertainty, but also the rescuing of traditional knowledge, the wisdom of indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, the creation of inter-cultural spaces, the development of technical and scientific knowledge and the development of a system of mass-sharing of information and knowledge of the Central American population. The goal of this activity would be to improve the capacities of adaptation/preparation of our communities and to better protect the public and private investments in our countries.
6. We demand changes in the energy matrix. We propose a decrease in the use of fossil fuels for the generation of electric energy by 50% by 2020. The production of bio-fuels should not threaten the food sovereignty of the region.
7. Now is the time for action. Climate change is an evident reality that intensely and negatively affects the region, in particular the most vulnerable sectors of society... Civil society demands of governments less talk, more actions and allocation of new resources. It also demands a management of the different powers of the State in which climate change figures as a cross-cutting axis in making decisions about development. Society demands a greater cohesion between governments, civil society, private enterprises and an effective compliance of the policies and regulatory frameworks that can reduce the vulnerability of the region. Civil society demands a strengthening of the regional integration at all levels and sectors.
8. The spaces for participation of civil society should be strengthened in the formulation of a Central American Strategy on Climate Change. We demand the broad and institutionalized participation of civil society in the formulation, execution and evaluation of the Central American Climate Change strategy…in particular that which reflects the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our region emphasizing the participation of young people and women. As civil society we will be vigilant and act to guarantee that the climate change strategy is converted into real and palpable action."
To see the original document presented at the Central American Summit with the complete civil society statement (in Spanish) please click here.
To view the official website of the Central American Summit on Climate Change and the Environment, click here.
Posted By Andrew Davis at 4:08pm on May 28, 2008
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