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Tens of people mobilized on Thursday outside the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, to ask for the World Bank to stay out of the international climate fund.
The action was called by international network Jubilee South, environmental federation Friends of the Earth International and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance. The demonstrators exposed the US, the UK and Japan for wanting to let transnational corporations and the financial sector access to funding from the Green Climate Fund.
Over 160 civil society organizations of 39 countries expressed their rejection to this in an open letter published yesterday.
The Green Climate Fund was created at the COP 16, held last year in Cancun, Mexico. This year negotiations began for its composition and control. “It is becoming a window” in favor of transnational corporations, Lucia Ortiz from NAT-Friends of the Earth Brazil, told Real World Radio. “What is at stake today in the negotiations is the opening up of more spaces, more financing for transnational corporations that caused climate change in the first place”.
She said the Green Climate Fund “was put under the control of the World Bank”. She said Friends of the Earth International has always demanded that the fund would not be controlled by the World Bank, but that it should be managed within the United Nations framework and made up by public money additional to the already existing aid for development. Ortiz says the Green Climate Fund has to ensure “sovereignty to the countries that receive these resources so that they can decide how to spend them, either in adaptation, mitigation or the protection of communities living in a sustainable way”.
The Brazilian activist regretted that “we have already seen 20 years of COPs and every time we take a step backwards” in a process she described as “financing of nature”. “The World Bank and the international finance sector are looking for capital from the commodification of common goods”.
Lucia talked about the upcoming United Nations conference on Sustainable Development to be held in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro Brazil dubbed as Rio+20 because 20 years ago the first UN Conference on Environment and Development was held in the same city.
“The big issue about this conference is green capitalism”, said Lucia.
Brazil is willing to involve “in processes for the creation of legal architecture to legitimize green capitalism. Our country has never had so many environmental bills, which are a race for the commodification
of nature to make capitalism look green in this new phase, which actually means the appropriation of goods”, she continued.
Brazilian social movements are faced with the challenge of blocking this attempt to commodify nature, of resisting to ensure community rights.
Meanwhile, Lucia also highlighted that “we are working on popular education and on mobilizing people” so that they resist this new phase of appropriation. She reclaimed “solidary economy, agrarian reform and agroecology” which she considered are “peoples’ solutions”. She said “our challenge is to mobilize different groups and building resistance to the real paradigm, which is actually green capitalism disguised as sustainable development”.
Watch video (in Portuguese)