RP activists bring fight for climate justice in Bangkok

RP activists bring fight for climate justice in Bangkok
by Vince Cinches in Bangkok, Thailand and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila, Philippines.

About thirty Filipino activists from the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) joined thousands of international participants in the on-going intersessional meeting of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) in Bangkok, Thailand from September 28 to October 9, 2009.

In a statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times, Philippine Climate Watch Alliance spokesperson Meggie Nolasco said the 30-Filipino contingent will push for a more binding global climate policy, by putting in place the voices of the poor who are the most vulnerable and have no capacity to respond to climate change. We will unite with other developing nations to make our demands heard in the UN meeting, Bangkok streets and worldwide web until ultimately they are addressed.

The UNFCCC is tasked to come up with an international agreement to address climate change as the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012.

While Third World countries are demanding a mandatory, immediate and significant reduction in carbon emission and billions of funding support from the international community, the climate change talks are dominated by powerful nations, headed by the United States, Japan and European Union, who are also the main polluters of greenhouse gases.

In a separate statement furnished by Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the group’s coordinator Clemente Bautista said they will lobby and demand to the ANNEX I countries particularly the United States to immediately and drastically cut their carbon emissions which is the major source of global warming. ANNEX I countries should also be the primary responsible and accountable in providing climate funding for the mitigation and adaptation efforts of poor countries.

ANNEX I countries are mostly composed of industrialized countries which are the biggest polluter and historically responsible for global warming. Ironically, it is the developing nations who will bear the brunt of climate change.

“In the middle of the climate negotiation are the issue of justice and accountability. The poor countries like the Philippines are not responsible for the causes of global warming but we are the most affected and threatened by its effects and impacts,” explained Mr. Bautista.

According to the Fourth Assessment Report of United Nations – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Philippines will be among the many countries in South East Asia to be greatly affected by the changing climate.

“The recent devastation wrought by typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces demonstrates how vulnerable and ill-prepared poor countries like us in dealing climate disasters. This proves how important it is for climate change be addressed both at the national and international level,” said Nolasco.

“We cannot afford another state of calamity, we cannot afford another typhoon Ondoy killing more Filipinos. The grassroots sectors and civil-society organizations need to be involved in the process of crafting international agreement that will genuinely address the issues of climate change. It will only be through the unity and solidarity of the G77 countries that their demands for accountability, responsibility and justice on the issue of global warming will be met,” ended Nolasco.

PCWA have partnered with other Asian organizations in holding exhibits, trainings, forums, and creative peaceful actions to deliver their message of climate justice while some of their members will attend the UNFCCC mini-session.

In Manila, Pamalakaya Vice chair for Luzon Salvador France said a resolution urging the Philippine government to stop all destrcutive projects in Manila Bay has been prepared by his group, and it will be emailed to Bangkok for signature signing.

France said, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap is part of the 30 Filipino activist contingent that will campaign for climate justice and gross reduction of carbon emissions of developed countries before the intersessional conference of the UN.

France said Hicap will also lead the Philippine delegation in sending boneless fish species to the representatives of the UN on climate change conference to dramatize the plight of the grassroots sectors affected by corporate plunder and exploitation of resources in South East Asia.

Among the member organization of PCWA and Kalikasan PNE that will participate in the climate change events in Bangkok, Thailand are various non-government and sectoral organizations such as Center for Environmental Concerns, the science group AGHAM , the Amioan peasant women federation, the protestant group National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the church-based NGO Peace for Life, the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, the Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center , the Katutubong Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP), Agham Youth sector, the umbrella group Defend Patrimony Alliance and last but not the least- the highly vocal fisherfolk group Pamalakaya.

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