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4 de octubre de 2012 | | | | |

Victims as Leaders

Movements Get Ready for International Conference on “Climate Change, Territories and Social Movements” in El Salvador

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The International Conference “Climate Change, Territories and Social Movements” will take place on November 5 and 6 in El Salvador. The event has been long awaited by the calling organizations, but the main participants will be the communities that resist the extractive model and the climate crisis.

“In every place in Mesoamerica there is resistance to the extractive model. The victims and the affected should lead this process”, said Jose Acosta, coordinator of the event and member of CESTA – Friends of the Earth El Salvador. The conference will gather 500 people of five continents.

Acosta said that after a year of hard work they are now finishing all the preparations for the event. The process not only implied the logistic aspects, but also the political aspect both at a regional and national level, which included the consultation with other networks of the region such as Jubilee South and the Mesoamerican Movement of Resistance to the Extractive Model (M4), Oil Watch, GAIA and Red Manglar.

The conference will be focused on the people affected and the communities. The aim is to strengthen the exchange and mutual knowledge of the leadership processes so that they can build sovereignty and develop survival practices.

Human rights violations and concentration of natural goods (land, water, forests) will be the topics of some of the panels. There will be presentations by activists of non governmental organizations and researchers, as well as testimonies provided by the people affected.

Besides the 400 people from Mesoamerica, members of Friends of the Earth International will also participate in the conference, who will be in El Salvador for the Biennial General Meeting.

The meeting will also be the chance to define strategies and workplans and to move towards organizing the social, political movement began in 2008, which includes community leaders and people affected by climate change and megaprojects, said Acosta.

There is a strong link between the struggle and the contents being prepared for the Conference: one of them is the building of a Movement of Victims and People Affected by Climate Change and Megaprojects (MOVIAC).

The territorial mobilization towards the conference has taken over a year and workshops are being organized in different parts of El Salvador with the people affected by climate change, mining, hydroelectric dams, in order to include their problems and demands in the Conference’s agenda.

The process has reached other countries in the region such as Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. It has implied joint work since the contents and objectives were discussed by most of the participating networks.

Acosta claims that they have worked hard in strengthening the basic conditions like the right place to accommodate over 500 participants, as well as the coordination of spaces of the University of El Salvador, which will host the event.

“We are satisfied, we have lots of expectations although it has been hard work. We are happy that the event will take place and that there is consensus around the strategies of struggle” said Jose Acosta. The conference will also be a chance to meet old friends “this friendship between peoples is strengthened”.

Interview by Josefina Ramírez. Communications CESTA, Friends of the Earth El Salvador.

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