Shortly before the world climate conference (COP27) in Egypt, our round trip guests from Central America made climate demands as part of a speakers tour and exchanged ideas with other activists. They also visited the village of Lützerath, which is threatened by lignite mining.
Luis González, Marlen Corea and another NGO representative, who has to remain anonymous for security reasons, were on a climate tour: from Brussels via Lützerath to Münster, Berlin, Prague and Budapest - they talked to activists and politicians everywhere. The Speakers Tour ran from October 22nd to November 6th, was mainly led by CIR volunteer Sina Trölenberg, and is part of the Game On campaign for climate justice.
“We notice climate change most strongly in the form of natural phenomena. The consequences and impacts of climate change are droughts, floods, hurricanes, global warming, to name only a few. In addition, these consequences are forcing more people to migrate”, says Marlen Corea, environmental coordinator of the indigenous Lenca community in Honduras. Marlen is sitting at a table in a glass office in Brussels. His interlocutors are two members of the European Parliament: Mikuláš Peksa and Markéta Gregorová, MEPs from the Czech Republic, representing the Green Party/European Free Alliance of the European Parliament. The Czech Republic currently holds the EU Council Presidency.
One of our climate ambassadors from the Game-On campaign is also sitting at the table: Veronika Králová from the Czech Republic. Among other things, MEPs are asking for recommendations on what the EU can do with regard to the impact of the climate crisis on Central America and in particular the indigenous population there.
If not now then when?
Marlen Corea and the other two Central American guests traveled across the Atlantic to give the politicians their perspective. They will travel even further, because the politicians* from the European Parliament are not the only ones they talk to: "We already experienced two extreme weather events, Eta and Iota in 2020," says Luis González, climate rights activist from the CIR partner organization UNES from El Salvador during a conversation with the member of the Bundestag for the Green Party, Maria Klein-Schmeink, in Münster. "Yet, there is no mechanism by which countries of the Global South are compensated for damage and losses caused by climate change."
In November 2022, the World Climate Conference (COP27) took place in Egypt. It is also crucial for the future of the people in Honduras and El Salvador that fair, binding decisions are finally made and implemented on the issues of climate finance and damage and losses. "We are the ones who tend and protect our nature the most, but we are also the ones who feel the effects and consequences of climate change the most," says Marlen Corea. “Developed countries must immediately assume their responsibilities for the climate change-related damage and losses inflicted on the most vulnerable countries. International policies and agreements must be implemented now and green finance must reach the people where it is needed. If we don't do it now, who will do it and when?”, sounds Marlen's plea. Something must happen at the COP, and Luis adds: "Please spread our message".
From activist to activist
The round trip guests also spoke to activists, for example, during their visit in Lützerath. The village is threatened by lignite mining and has become a symbol of the German climate movement for the 1.5 degree limit. The pit edge is less than 100 meters from the town limits. The local activists are holding the fort and want to prevent a demolition to be carried out by the energy company RWE. Luis González was shocked by the extent of the destruction of the landscape: "When I look at pictures like this, I think of Latin America, not of Europe."
During a panel discussion, he and Marlen Corea make it clear how important it is to fight mining because it limits our ability to counteract the climate crisis. Here, too, the guests from Central America emphasize the responsibility of the Global North to compensate for losses and damage in the Global South due to the high greenhouse gas emissions.
Activists and the Central Americans also talk about what the European climate movement can do for the Central American movement. It was important for the speakers to make these threats visible to environmental defenders and to strengthen their networks. The statement is the following: Even if the decades of struggles in the Global South differ from the comparatively young climate movement in Europe, every environmental problem should be met with resistance and organized fight - no matter where.
"We need food, not hamburgers"
Another stop of the Speakers Tour was our "Conference for a world economy we want to live in". Luis González gave a lecture there on "Global Perspectives on Socio-Ecological Transformation". "The solutions already exist, but our governments don't want to implement them," is his thesis. “It is important to make it clear what we actually need. We need food - not a hamburger. We need clothes - not branded clothes. Sustainability is the alternative to the crisis. And the solutions come from below.” As an example, he cites gold mining in El Salvador, where communities, among other things, put up organized resistance in 2017 because the water supply was threatened.
Journey through Europe
From Münster we went to Berlin, where the speakers attended events with Latin Americans and those interested in Latin America. The topic was climate justice and what it meant for Central America, Germany and their mutual relationships. There was also a meeting with the Federal Foreign Office to discuss the topics of climate financing and the role of the participation of civil society, with the aim of ensuring that funds reach those who need them.
In Prague, a Game On partner organization held a climate justice breakfast with journalists and a round table for activists. In Budapest, our speakers visited a climate art exhibition, among other things. In between there was time for sightseeing, and we got approval and nods every time we showed our new video.
Since our speakers just missed the G7 meeting in Münster, Lisa Kirtz, CIR officer for climate justice, loudly announced her demands at a climate demo in front of 1,500 participants, and received a lot of applause.
Original article in German: https://www.ci-romero.de/cop27-klimaforderungen-mittelamerika/
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