Wednesday, May 19, 2010

60% of Goa's mining is below ground water table

60% of Goa's mining is going on under the ground water table according to the top official in Ministry of Environment and Forest South zone office in Bangalore Ms Sarita. She was speaking at the joint meeting in Goa International Centre, Dona Paula between Government officials, Mining companies and various groups protesting against open cast mining in Goa. The gathering was called by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to find the solutions over wide ranging controversies related to mining industry in Goa.

This industry is in the middle of intense criticisms from wide range of quarters for taking Goa toward desertification by ruining its Forests and Water sources. These allegations got confirmed yesterday when Ms Sarita disclosed publicly that the Map of Minerals and Map of Forest matches for India and it ought to be a policy decision as to diversion of forest for mining purpose.

With her disclosures the myth of sustainable mining got busted. Both mining companies as well as few government officials were advocating 'sustainable mining'.

There was lots of discussion on legality of mines as the representative of the Goa State department of Mines and Geology A.T. D'souza argued that all the mines in Goa are legal under one law or the other. Representative of Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association Glen projected that the mining industry in Goa is concerned about the illegal mining. However during discussions when he was asked to identify illegal mines in Goa by Sebastian Rodrigues and Fr. Maverick Fernandes he had no reply to offer and maintained silence. Perhaps his homework was incomplete. Later it emerged from discussion that illegal mines are those that do not posses Environmental Clearances from Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) according to case law in force.

Earlier number of points that are objectionable regarding mining industry in Goa was placed before the gathering of nearly 60 people. Carmen Miranda from London, Dr. Claude Alvares of Goa foundaation, Shankar Jog from Sancorda, Dilip Hegde from Quepem, Ramesh Gauns from Bicholim, Cheryl de Souza from Maina - Quepem, Rama Velip from Colamb, Anthony D'Silva from Ambelim, Shamsunder Naik from Advalpal, Rajendra Kerker from Keri-Sattari and Advocate Norma Alvares spoke at the meeting pin pointing various gross illegalities of mining industry in Goa.

Chief Conservator of Forests (Central), Mr. K.S Reddy took the initiative to invite the participants and acknowledged the role of Carmen Miranda and Dr.Claude Alvares in pursuing this idea of a meeting. He said in his introductory remarks that NGOs in Goa are looking at the mining industry in holistic terms rather than at individual mines. Secondly they were looking at mining industry over a longer period of time in terms of its implications and consequence for ecology.

Dr. Claude Alvares asked Mr. Reddy to take action on various violations of law recorded by the government committee headed by Goa Chief Conservator of Forest, Mr. Shashi Kumar in his visits to 54 mines. He said MoEF has granted Environmental Clearances for 130 mines in Goa and actual number of mines actually operating cross the 150 mark.

Cheryl de Souza said that various wild animals like monkeys are attacking her horticultural farm in Maina because of mining nearby has destroyed forest.

The issue of reckless driving of mining trucks also came up for discussions. 'If State cannot deal with truck drivers on roads, how will it deal with Anil Agarwal of Vedanta?' Dr. Alvares questioned.

The most number of public criticism were against department of Mines and Geology for their partisan role. 'There are whole lot of incompetent bunch of people in Department of Mines and Geology. They do not do their job. Beginning with the director Lolienkar their salaries must be withheld' Dr. Alvares remarked.

Advocate Norma Alvares who has been handling mining cases in High Court for the past 20 years said that State must have independent monitoring mechanism and not rely upon the periodic compliance reports and EIA reports prepared by mining companies alone.

Mining companies in their response had no response to any of the charges leveled against them and spoke through Glen of Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association and Sachin Tendulkar of Goa Mineral Foundation. They highlighted some of the charity works they are doing in mining belt and calling it Corporate Social responsibility. They played video of 15 minutes duration that was objected to by Carmen Miranda as not dealing with the questions raised on mining and trying to divert the issues involved. One of the scenes on the pictures is about training of youth in technical skills by Fomentos and and how these youth are absorbed in their own mining company! Another scene was about service of water supply to mining affected villages by mining companies in tankers. Their film however misses the point that it the same mining companies in the first place that are responsible for creating water crisis by digging mines below natural water table. So this videos was designed for the purpose of brainwashing and not solving any kind of problem the mining industry creates. In fact it showed some horrible pictures of mines dug across the State of Goa.

Ramesh Gauns pointed that all the mines in Goa are in violations of terms and conditions of the Environmental Clearance. Most common violations are in gradients and height of mining dumps.

Rama Velip expressed grave concerns that mining has rapidly destroying human as well animal habitat together. He gave example of his village of Colomba, Sanguem that has total area of 1929 hectares of land of which over 1500 hectares are under 23 mining leases of which 4 are in operation currently making life of villagers miserable with drying of water sources and silting of paddy fields.

Sirgao mines and NEERI report on them confirming that mines has caused decisive damage to agriculture and ground water also dominated the discussion. Ministry official disclosed that this report has been placed before high level appraisal committee of the Union government.

Anthony D'silva of Ambelim, Salcete informed that he found silt in his tank that stores tap water originating in Selaulim Dam. He said that the silt is due to mining. He advocated ban on mining in Goa.

Norma Alvares suggested the formation of independent fund by charging mining companies for the purpose of reclamation of mines in Goa.

Shamsunder Naik, Advalpal narrated the instances when he was offered bribes of lacks of rupees by mining companies to stop him from being critical of mining industry. He said he refused it all. Further Naik narrated the instance of the floods that caused his village to get flooded on June 6, 2009 because of mining activities by number of companies including Sesa Goa.

Meeting ended with Mr. K.S. Reddy instructing the mining companies to pull up their socks. Number of Mining companies representatives were present at this meeting but all of them remained quite taking copious notes to share with their respective superiors. Mr. Reddy also said that Goa mining companies must move towards sustainable mining. This is vision that protesting groups does not share and would like to witness mining industry be closed down in Goa soon and used lands reclaimed. More damage spared. Taste to metals - cars etc needs to be changed in order not to put any more pressure on planet that is badly hurt and needs time to heal. Water is precious, Forest in precious, it is too much to sacrifice this. It is equal to scarifying life whose sustainable is water. Mining is possible in only one condition - with zero use of machinery. It will ensure that mines do not go deeper than ground water.

Sebastian Rorigues

‘Miners are arrogant... we are feeling hopeless’

Mining silt is damaging rice fields, water sources are drying up.
Villagers in Sanguem are a worried lot

Joaquim Fernandes | tnn

Sanguem, May 19, 2010: The fertile rice fields spread across 200 hectares in
Collme-Xethod in Collamb village of Sanguem taluka have sustained
generations of farmers. But now farmers say that silt flowing down
from the mines in the hills above are spoiling their fields. Mining is
also drying up the natural springs that once nurtured their fields.

“Zaitem xeth paddan assam. Udok nam tor baath kami, poll chod (Much of
the paddy has been spoilt. If there is no water, the grain is less,
the chaff is more),” says Rama Velip from Collamb-Rivona. Agriculture
is the mainstay for this 45-year-old and his four brothers and their
family of 17.

The Collme-Xethod stretch of fields is located at the foot of Gulkhond
Dongor, where mining is now on. From the base of Gulkhond Dongor, two
springs used to nurture the fields. While the one on the eastern side,
called Gollimoll, has already dried up, the other one on the west,
called Gogro (cascade), is gradually drying up, its torrent now
reduced to a trickle.

Rama insists that over 90% of the people in Collamb depend on
agriculture. “It is the best profession because all year long your get
free food. If not anything, there is at least rice congee to eat. But
the main thing is water. Without water, you can't sow. In the last
seven-eight years, water is reducing,” he says.

A narrow storm water drain separates the house of 60-year-old Pandhari
Mahadev Velip and the fields of Collme-Xethod. “Water used to flow in
this drain even in May because of the abundance of the Gogro spring.
Now this nullah is already dry in March,” says Pandhari.

As if the drying up of the natural springs was not enough, mining silt
has washed into the fields, damaging the crops of many farmers. Motesh
(Mathew) Antao is one of them.

Motesh's is the first field on the northern side of Collme-Xethod and
therefore closest to the mines. A crude wall of boulders now separates
his field from the red mining rejects of Gulkhond Dongor. Motesh's
nearly-one-acre field used to yield him 50 sacks of paddy. With a lot
of chaff this year, he is not sure of the yield. “Sanguem has the
maximum number of springs in Goa. If mining is allowed to destroy
those water sources, agriculture will die and will also kill us
eventually,” says Motesh.

Ironic that although Motesh criticizes mining, he ekes out a living as
a driver on a mining truck. “I don't like this job. Someday I hope to
buy my own taxi,” he says.

Asked why he does not avail of loans that are so easy now, he says
banks will not lend him money as there are seven police cases against
him. These cases had been foisted on him, Rama Velip and many others
by mining companies, he alleges.

Motesh continues, “The police harass us. They arrest us, make us sign
papers and slap cases on us. Then we have to make repeated trips to
courts. Their intention is to harass us into silence and eventually
into submission.”

Milagrina, Motesh's mother says, “The companies create divisions among
the villagers. Now there is lot of enmity among people. Earlier, we
used to collect firewood from the forest and our cattle used to graze
there. Now they don't allow us. We have sold all our cattle, save

If there are doubts about farmers' claims regarding the blight of
mining in Goa, the state government-appointed monitoring committee's
findings should put that to rest. The monitoring committee, headed by
the chief conservator of forests, has found violations in 54 of the
110 operational mining leases in Goa. Many of the 54 are in Sanguem .

Goa Foundation has obtained details of the violations in each lease
under the Right to Information Act. Said Claude Alvares of Goa
Foundation, “These violations were found only in the leases that the
committee visited. There are many other leases. We will make a
presentation to the ministry of environment and forests. If they don't
act within one month, then we will act.”

Alvares said most were forest violations. But a look at the monitoring
committe's reports showed that each lease had committed on an average
about five violations. These included not obtaining consent under
water act or air act, leases being adjacent to wildlife sanctuaries,
lack of clearances from environment, wildlife or standing committee
and, more importantly, “dumping done outside lease area”.

It is from these dumps that the silt runs into agricultural fields.
Sources in the agriculture department, on condition of anonymity,
admitted mining has affected farming in Sanguem. But they also say
that Sanguem is just beginning to feel the pinch whereas villages like
Cavrem-Pirla in neighbouring Quepem have already been badly hit.

Agriculture department sources said that during the last one year,
there have been about seven public hearings in Sanguem for new mines.
“About 90% of the people opposed the mines. Earlier, people used to
keep quiet for money. Now they want to preserve their land and do
agriculture,” sources said.

Mining and its accompanying ills dominate the Sanguem landscape. In
Shivsorem, 67-year-old Prabhakar Butto Gaonkar grows coconut, cashew,
arecanut, sugarcane and rice in his own fields. But a mining lease has
been issued for the area and the company is offering Gaonkar Rs 10
lakh for the land. The mine has started but the mining dumps have not
reached near Gaonkar's fields yet.

Gaonkar is quoting a steep price for his fields in order to dissuade
the company from buying. The mining company has not agreed yet.
Gaonkar's young daughter-in-law gets sentimental about the land: “The
field is all we have. If we sell the field, where will we go with our
small children?”

The cluster of houses around Gaonkar's house is nestled between two
operational mining leases. The water level in the well opposite
Gaonkar's house is precariously low. The village women nearby are sure
the well will go dry by April.

The women are angry that mining dust has ruined their agriculture.
After much fighting by Shivsorem residents, one mining company paid
the families Rs 10,000 per year as compensation. Another company paid

Says Premavati Gaonkar, “Our sugarcane cultivation suffered because
our well dried up. What can we do with the land if there is no water?
The miners are arrogant and don't listen to anyone. The village
panchayat is not helping us. Last year, we agitated quite a lot. This
year, we are feeling hopeless.”

Times of India, 19 May 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kalinga Nagar: Police Forces Return, Demoliton Drive Restarts

More Deaths due to Lack of Medical Care

Chandia Fears Another Attack

The mourning for the cold blooded murder of Lakhman Jamuda is yet to be over. The officers guilty of secretly disposing his dead body and making his nephew Lalmohan Jamuda sign papers at gunpoint are yet to be punished. Despite being party to such heinous crimes, the Collector and SP of Jajpur have restarted their atrocious activities today. Sources say yesterday they had a meeting in Bhubaneswar with Bijay Patnaik, Principal Secy to CM Orissa (He is the same person who returned from a week long meeting with POSCO in Korea the day Police attacked Balitutha) and today security forces have arrived at Gobarghati to carry out demolition of houses of displaced people. Villagers of Chandia are tense as there are chances of the Police then heading towards their village located close to Gobarghati village. Its not been even a whole week since police lathi charged at women and children and shot dead Lakshman Jamuda at Chandia village on 12 May '10. Meanwhile more people died of untreated diseases. One of them, Mechcha Hanaka aged 45, had been secretly admitted in a hospital in Cuttack by activists but succumbed to TB and renal failure last night. The other is an elderly lady from Gadapur and I am yet to receive proper information about her. It seems every week will be a repeat of the last week in Kalinga Nagar. And its not some God who is writing this destiny of the people but I.A.S./I.P.S. officers like Bijay Patnaik, Priyabrata Patnaik (MD, IDCO), DMs & SPs who seem to be the authors of enforcing mass repression in Odisha. It is obvious who dictates them.

Please listen to the testimonies of villagers of Chandia here -


Monday, May 17, 2010

POSCO: An open letter to the Prime Minister

For the details of the letter on Hardnewsmedia please click here.

Around 40 people from village groups arrested in Porvorim

According to the just received information around 40 people from various village groups are arrested are taken into Porvorim police station. They had gone to meet the Chief Minister regarding the regional plan and other issue including stopping of illegal mining and ban on new mining licensed. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat reportedly refused to meet up the villagers. Police team was stationed and police officer - name yet to be confirmed - slapped one female protester - name yet to be confirmed.

Various people from all over Goa are sent messages to come towards Porvorim Police Station by the protesters. More details are awaited.

Please call up Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat urgently and question him. His office phone numbers are 2419841, 2411049. His official residence numbers are 2224170, 2224995. His Marga residence phone number is 2730432. Fax number include 2419846, 2223648. You can also speak to him at his mobile 9822129339.

The final list of the demands to be submitted to Chief minister are not yet known. But it is roughly as listed in the following links:

Sebastian Rodrigues



We, the peoples and nations of Earth:

considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;

gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;

recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;

convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;

affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;

conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;

proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.

Article 1. Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth is a living being.

(2) Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.

(3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.

(4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.

(5) Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.

(6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.

(7) The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.

Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:

(a) the right to life and to exist;

(b) the right to be respected;

(c) the right to continue their vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

(d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;

(e) the right to water as a source of life;

(f) the right to clean air;

(g) the right to integral health;

(h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

(i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;

(j) the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;

(2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.

(3) Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.

Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth

(1) Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.

(2) Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:

(a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;

(d) ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;

(e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;

(f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;

(g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;

(h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;

(i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;

(j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

(k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;

(l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.

Article 4. Definitions

(1) The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.

(2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.

Agreement at World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.
If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people.The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.
We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:

• harmony and balance among all and with all things;

• complementarity, solidarity, and equality;

• collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;

• people in harmony with nature;

• recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;

• elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;

• peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;

The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, in which it’s recorded that:

• The right to live and to exist;

• The right to be respected;

• The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;

• The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;

• The right to water as the source of life;

• The right to clean air;

• The right to comprehensive health;

• The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;

• The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;

• The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.

The “shared vision” seeks to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases to make effective the Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which states that “the stabilization of greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic inferences for the climate system.” Our vision is based on the principle of historical common but differentiated responsibilities, to demand the developed countries to commit with quantifiable goals of emission reduction that will allow to return the concentrations of greenhouse gases to 300 ppm, therefore the increase in the average world temperature to a maximum of one degree Celsius.

Emphasizing the need for urgent action to achieve this vision, and with the support of peoples, movements and countries, developed countries should commit to ambitious targets for reducing emissions that permit the achievement of short-term objectives, while maintaining our vision in favor of balance in the Earth’s climate system, in agreement with the ultimate objective of the Convention.

The “shared vision for long-term cooperative action” in climate change negotiations should not be reduced to defining the limit on temperature increases and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but must also incorporate in a balanced and integral manner measures regarding capacity building, production and consumption patterns, and other essential factors such as the acknowledging of the Rights of Mother Earth to establish harmony with nature.
Developed countries, as the main cause of climate change, in assuming their historical responsibility, must recognize and honor their climate debt in all of its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution to climate change. In this context, we demand that developed countries:

• Restore to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by their greenhouse gas emissions. This implies the decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of their emissions;

• Assume the costs and technology transfer needs of developing countries arising from the loss of development opportunities due to living in a restricted atmospheric space;

• Assume responsibility for the hundreds of millions of people that will be forced to migrate due to the climate change caused by these countries, and eliminate their restrictive immigration policies, offering migrants a decent life with full human rights guarantees in their countries;

• Assume adaptation debt related to the impacts of climate change on developing countries by providing the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their excessive emissions;

• Honor these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings.

We deplore attempts by countries to annul the Kyoto Protocol, which is the sole legally binding instrument specific to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.

We inform the world that, despite their obligation to reduce emissions, developed countries have increased their emissions by 11.2% in the period from 1990 to 2007.

During that same period, due to unbridled consumption, the United States of America has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 16.8%, reaching an average of 20 to 23 tons of CO2 per-person. This represents 9 times more than that of the average inhabitant of the “Third World,” and 20 times more than that of the average inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa.

We categorically reject the illegitimate “Copenhagen Accord” that allows developed countries to offer insufficient reductions in greenhouse gases based in voluntary and individual commitments, violating the environmental integrity of Mother Earth and leading us toward an increase in global temperatures of around 4°C.

The next Conference on Climate Change to be held at the end of 2010 in Mexico should approve an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under which developed countries must agree to significant domestic emissions reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

We require first of all the establishment of a goal for the group of developed countries to achieve the assignment of individual commitments for each developed country under the framework of complementary efforts among each one, maintaining in this way Kyoto Protocol as the route to emissions reductions.

The United States, as the only Annex 1 country on Earth that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, has a significant responsibility toward all peoples of the world to ratify this document and commit itself to respecting and complying with emissions reduction targets on a scale appropriate to the total size of its economy.

We the peoples have the equal right to be protected from the adverse effects of climate change and reject the notion of adaptation to climate change as understood as a resignation to impacts provoked by the historical emissions of developed countries, which themselves must adapt their modes of life and consumption in the face of this global emergency. We see it as imperative to confront the adverse effects of climate change, and consider adaptation to be a process rather than an imposition, as well as a tool that can serve to help offset those effects, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve harmony with nature under a different model for living.

It is necessary to construct an Adaptation Fund exclusively for addressing climate change as part of a financial mechanism that is managed in a sovereign, transparent, and equitable manner for all States. This Fund should assess the impacts and costs of climate change in developing countries and needs deriving from these impacts, and monitor support on the part of developed countries. It should also include a mechanism for compensation for current and future damages, loss of opportunities due to extreme and gradual climactic events, and additional costs that could present themselves if our planet surpasses ecological thresholds, such as those impacts that present obstacles to “Living Well.”

The “Copenhagen Accord” imposed on developing countries by a few States, beyond simply offering insufficient resources, attempts as well to divide and create confrontation between peoples and to extort developing countries by placing conditions on access to adaptation and mitigation resources. We also assert as unacceptable the attempt in processes of international negotiation to classify developing countries for their vulnerability to climate change, generating disputes, inequalities and segregation among them.

The immense challenge humanity faces of stopping global warming and cooling the planet can only be achieved through a profound shift in agricultural practices toward the sustainable model of production used by indigenous and rural farming peoples, as well as other ancestral models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of agriculture and food sovereignty. This is understood as the right of peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water, and food production, thereby guaranteeing, through forms of production that are in harmony with Mother Earth and appropriate to local cultural contexts, access to sufficient, varied and nutritious foods in complementarity with Mother Earth and deepening the autonomous (participatory, communal and shared) production of every nation and people.

Climate change is now producing profound impacts on agriculture and the ways of life of indigenous peoples and farmers throughout the world, and these impacts will worsen in the future.

Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of global capitalist production and its logic of producing food for the market and not to fulfill the right to proper nutrition, is one of the principal causes of climate change. Its technological, commercial, and political approach only serves to deepen the climate change crisis and increase hunger in the world. For this reason, we reject Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, geo-engineering, nanotechnology, etc.) that only exacerbate the current crisis.

We similarly denounce the way in which the capitalist model imposes mega-infrastructure projects and invades territories with extractive projects, water privatization, and militarized territories, expelling indigenous peoples from their lands, inhibiting food sovereignty and deepening socio-environmental crisis.

We demand recognition of the right of all peoples, living beings, and Mother Earth to have access to water, and we support the proposal of the Government of Bolivia to recognize water as a Fundamental Human Right.

The definition of forests used in the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes plantations, is unacceptable. Monoculture plantations are not forests. Therefore, we require a definition for negotiation purposes that recognizes the native forests, jungles and the diverse ecosystems on Earth.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in climate change negotiations. The best strategy and action to avoid deforestation and degradation and protect native forests and jungles is to recognize and guarantee collective rights to lands and territories, especially considering that most of the forests are located within the territories of indigenous peoples and nations and other traditional communities.

We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.

Polluting countries have an obligation to carry out direct transfers of the economic and technological resources needed to pay for the restoration and maintenance of forests in favor of the peoples and indigenous ancestral organic structures. Compensation must be direct and in addition to the sources of funding promised by developed countries outside of the carbon market, and never serve as carbon offsets. We demand that countries stop actions on local forests based on market mechanisms and propose non-existent and conditional results. We call on governments to create a global program to restore native forests and jungles, managed and administered by the peoples, implementing forest seeds, fruit trees, and native flora. Governments should eliminate forest concessions and support the conservation of petroleum deposits in the ground and urgently stop the exploitation of hydrocarbons in forestlands.
We call upon States to recognize, respect and guarantee the effective implementation of international human rights standards and the rights of indigenous peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under ILO Convention 169, among other relevant instruments in the negotiations, policies and measures used to meet the challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we call upon States to give legal recognition to claims over territories, lands and natural resources to enable and strengthen our traditional ways of life and contribute effectively to solving climate change.

We demand the full and effective implementation of the right to consultation, participation and prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes, and in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change.

Environmental degradation and climate change are currently reaching critical levels, and one of the main consequences of this is domestic and international migration. According to projections, there were already about 25 million climate migrants by 1995. Current estimates are around 50 million, and projections suggest that between 200 million and 1 billion people will become displaced by situations resulting from climate change by the year 2050.
Developed countries should assume responsibility for climate migrants, welcoming them into their territories and recognizing their fundamental rights through the signing of international conventions that provide for the definition of climate migrant and require all States to abide by abide by determinations.
Establish an International Tribunal of Conscience to denounce, make visible, document, judge and punish violations of the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced persons within countries of origin, transit and destination, clearly identifying the responsibilities of States, companies and other agents.
Current funding directed toward developing countries for climate change and the proposal of the Copenhagen Accord are insignificant. In addition to Official Development Assistance and public sources, developed countries must commit to a new annual funding of at least 6% of GDP to tackle climate change in developing countries. This is viable considering that a similar amount is spent on national defense, and that 5 times more have been put forth to rescue failing banks and speculators, which raises serious questions about global priorities and political will. This funding should be direct and free of conditions, and should not interfere with the national sovereignty or self-determination of the most affected communities and groups.
In view of the inefficiency of the current mechanism, a new funding mechanism should be established at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Mexico, functioning under the authority of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and held accountable to it, with significant representation of developing countries, to ensure compliance with the funding commitments of Annex 1 countries.
It has been stated that developed countries significantly increased their emissions in the period from 1990 to 2007, despite having stated that the reduction would be substantially supported by market mechanisms.
The carbon market has become a lucrative business, commodifying our Mother Earth. It is therefore not an alternative for tackle climate change, as it loots and ravages the land, water, and even life itself.
The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that the market is incapable of regulating the financial system, which is fragile and uncertain due to speculation and the emergence of intermediary brokers. Therefore, it would be totally irresponsible to leave in their hands the care and protection of human existence and of our Mother Earth.
We consider inadmissible that current negotiations propose the creation of new mechanisms that extend and promote the carbon market, for existing mechanisms have not resolved the problem of climate change nor led to real and direct actions to reduce greenhouse gases. It is necessary to demand fulfillment of the commitments assumed by developed countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change regarding development and technology transfer, and to reject the “technology showcase” proposed by developed countries that only markets technology. It is essential to establish guidelines in order to create a multilateral and multidisciplinary mechanism for participatory control, management, and evaluation of the exchange of technologies. These technologies must be useful, clean and socially sound. Likewise, it is fundamental to establish a fund for the financing and inventory of technologies that are appropriate and free of intellectual property rights. Patents, in particular, should move from the hands of private monopolies to the public domain in order to promote accessibility and low costs.
Knowledge is universal, and should for no reason be the object of private property or private use, nor should its application in the form of technology. Developed countries have a responsibility to share their technology with developing countries, to build research centers in developing countries for the creation of technologies and innovations, and defend and promote their development and application for “living well.” The world must recover and re-learn ancestral principles and approaches from native peoples to stop the destruction of the planet, as well as promote ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to recuperate the capacity for “living well” in harmony with Mother Earth.
Considering the lack of political will on the part of developed countries to effectively comply with commitments and obligations assumed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and given the lack of a legal international organism to guard against and sanction climate and environmental crimes that violate the Rights of Mother Earth and humanity, we demand the creation of an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal that has the legal capacity to prevent, judge and penalize States, industries and people that by commission or omission contaminate and provoke climate change.
Supporting States that present claims at the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal against developed countries that fail to comply with commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol including commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.
We urge peoples to propose and promote deep reform within the United Nations, so that all member States comply with the decisions of the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal.
The future of humanity is in danger, and we cannot allow a group of leaders from developed countries to decide for all countries as they tried unsuccessfully to do at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. This decision concerns us all. Thus, it is essential to carry out a global referendum or popular consultation on climate change in which all are consulted regarding the following issues; the level of emission reductions on the part of developed countries and transnational corporations, financing to be offered by developed countries, the creation of an International Climate Justice Tribunal, the need for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the need to change the current capitalist system. The process of a global referendum or popular consultation will depend on process of preparation that ensures the successful development of the same.
In order to coordinate our international action and implement the results of this “Accord of the Peoples,” we call for the building of a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth, which should be based on the principles of complementarity and respect for the diversity of origin and visions among its members, constituting a broad and democratic space for coordination and joint worldwide actions.
To this end, we adopt the attached global plan of action so that in Mexico, the developed countries listed in Annex 1 respect the existing legal framework and reduce their greenhouse gases emissions by 50%, and that the different proposals contained in this Agreement are adopted.
Finally, we agree to undertake a Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2011 as part of this process of building the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth and reacting to the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference to be held at the end of this year in Cancun, Mexico.