Water Justice and Climate Justice Statement

  • by: Global Water Justice Movement
  • recipient: Chair and Vice-Chair of the AWG-LCA for distribution to all state representatives during the Twelfth Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action in Bonn, June 1-11, 2010.Chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe)Vice-Chair Mr. D
This week in Bonn, the Climate meetings are preparing for COP 16 in Cancun Mexico.

The release of the Chair's text is concerning in that it not only excludes water from the body of the text, it also gives pre-eminence and legitimacy to the Copenhagen Accord.

We are asking all who sign this to join us in demanding a more open process and to ensure water in both mitigation and adaptation is not ignored.

We, the undersigned, deliver for your consideration, and the consideration of all states involved in the UNFCCC, the following statement on water justice and climate justice.


We also express, in the strongest possible terms, our concern that the fundamental issue of water justice and other results of the Cochabamba People%u2019s Accord, as presented to you by the April 26th submission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, be given the highest possible consideration during the Twelfth Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) in Bonn, June 1-June 11, 2010.


We take note, with grave concern, that your %u2018Note by the Chair%u2019, officially known as %u2018Text to facilitate negotiations among Parties%u2019, released on May 17th, 2010, acknowledges the invitation for states to make submissions but then relegates the Bolivian submission, which highlights the links between the water crisis and the climate crisis, to a miscellaneous document.


This is in direct contrast to the full integration of the Copenhagen Accord, a document which we would like to remind you, was not adopted by the delegates to COP-15, with the only agreement being to %u2018take note of%u2019 this non-binding, non-negotiated, document, and the results of which, if fully implemented, would cause serious damage to freshwater resources in many parts of the world.


We represent both people who were directly engaged in the development of water proposals in Cochabamba, where over 35,000 people from 140 countries gathered in April, 2010, as well as those who support the outcomes and the goals of water justice more broadly; we also represent the voices of social movements, affected peoples, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from around the world.


We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are presently suffering from the consequences of climate change and the impacts on water, with those as yet unborn who will suffer from our continued inaction, and with all living beings and mother earth; we therefore commit to remain vigilant in our pursuit of climate justice and water justice. We urge all delegates to view water in its totality in terms of climate change, especially recognizing the mitigating effects of water on the climate crisis.


Cochabamba Water and Climate Declaration %u2013 April 2010



We, social organizations and movements which support the global water justice movement defending water as a commons and a human right,



In Bolivia to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Cochabamba %u201CWater War%u201D and those contributing from our home countries,



Standing in solidarity with the people of Cochabamba, the first to successfully drive out a transnational corporation guilty of privatizing water and a locally pioneer of re-municipalising water under local control models;



Call upon governments participating in the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth to commit to clear and concrete actions directed to effectively address the climate crisis.



We further call upon all governments to support and promote the Cochabamba Accord, based on the outcomes of the processes during the World People%u2019s Conference on Climate Change and as a   challenge to the market-focused Copenhagen Accord. http://pwccc.wordpress.com/



We affirm that water is not only adversely affected by climate change, but also is a key agent for mitigating climate chaos. Achieving climate cooling and natural carbon sequestration depends on the integrity and health of hydrological cycles at all levels.



Current global economic policies encourage abuse of water resources and disrupt the natural water cycle. An attack has been launched against water, a fundamental element for the life of the planet. Examples include agri-businesses%u2019 promotion of water intensive and biodiversity destructive  monocultures; a globalized economic model designed for limitless growth which rests upon  unsustainable growth in water use and water contamination; industrial reliance on mines and other extractive industries that contaminate, displace, abuse and put in danger freshwater reservoirs; and privatization of water which encourages private gain over the common good. These, and other, human activities wreak havoc with the natural water cycle and contribute to climate disorder.



Hydrological cycles and ecosystems are threatened as well by false climate change solutions such as agrofuels and dams to increase energy production and consumption for rich countries and for elites in poorer countries.



The Northern Countries, under the auspices of the World Bank and regional development banks, are about to invest once again in dams and hydroelectric power plants in the Southern parts of the world, implementing these unsustainable projects to fuel growth for new CO2 emission credits.



In contrast, a global stewardship strategy of water resources and the hydrologic cycle must be a core strategy to achieve climate change mitigation and dampen some of the principal causes of global warming. The climate, in balance, is broadly dependent on water and on the hydrological cycle preservation. Water is critical in the circulation of energy, the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, and in the CO2 sequestration capacity of biomass. All of these natural processes are water dependent and are essential to ensuring climatic equilibrium.



The water dimensions of the problem have thus far been excluded from the UNFCCC, both with respect to the analysis of why the climate is changing as well as what can be done about it. Even more disturbingly, the clean development mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and the carbon credit market include serious and fundamental flaws including their inability to restore water to ecosystems and human communities without turning water into a private commodity.



For these reasons we call upon all governments, led by those who have declared themselves friends of Mother Earth, to make the following immediate commitments:



·         To democratize the UNFCCC negotiations, which must be an open process to  include less-developed country governments marginalized in the discussions, social movements and global civil society. The announced exclusion of social organizations from the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) Cancun Conference is unacceptable.



·         To introduce into the agenda of the United Nations negotiations on climate change a clear recognition that healthy hydrological cycles are critical to mitigating climate change and that to protect these cycles water must not be commodified or privatized, but rather protected as a commons and as a fundamental right for all of Mother Earth.  Beyond this the UN has failed in its broader responsibility on water and must lead debate and discourse on global water policy development which follow UN norms and processes. Currently, global water discourse is unacceptably being left in the hands of technical and corporate-controlled institutions.



·         To recognize the rights of Mother Earth and to establish mechanisms to recognize these rights in law and practice, including local laws and customs that recognize the rights of nature, but also global systems of governance and enforcement, including an International Tribunal mechanism. .



Drafted: April 22, 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia


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