Position of the Bolivian Climate Change Platform on Rio+20
Alternatives to the green economy from Bolivian civil society
by Guest Author < http://globaltransition2012.org/author/global-tranistion/>
Rio+20 will be the most important global summit for decades as the world
faces financial, energy, climate, ecological and food crises. Multinational
companies and developed countries want to impose the "green economy" at
Rio+20 to save the capitalist system, says the *Bolivian Climate Change
The proposed version of the green economy aims to turn nature´s functions
and cycles such as carbon capture and oxygen generation by trees into
fictitious products, referred to as "environmental services", to be bought
and sold on markets. Not only does this fail to make sense in the real
world (how do you sell air on a stock exchange?) but it is presented as Can
proponents of the green economy really expect the same financial
instruments that plunged the global economy into recession, will somehow
protect nature and at the same time reduce poverty?
*Putting a price on nature is not the solution and will only benefit big
capital, while deepening the multiple crises we are facing.*
It gets worse. The green economy could potentially violate human rights
recognised in international treaties. This includes the rights to: life,
health, water, a healthy environment, a dignified life, and the rights of
indigenous peoples to self-determination and territory. A letter by local
communities in the Amazonian region of
Acre< link to noredd.makenoise.org
that the selling of "environmental services" from the rainforest
directly limits their access to the territories they depend on to survive.
Over the last few decades the word "green" has been associated with
environmental policies and renewable energy, but it has been hijacked by
multinational companies to improve their image while they continue their
control and destruction of the environment.
Just one example is a subsidiary of mining company Goldcorp contaminating
local communities water supplies in
WWF says< link to goldcorp.com
Goldcorp is committed to responsible mining practices and... has the potential
to lead significant conservation successes.
The flawed green economy
If we want to protect the environment for future generations we cannot
accept the current version of the green economy which is based on UNEP
reports< link to www.unep.org.
This is because it continues to pursue the false idea of limitless economic
growth in a world that has limits.
The green economy is a distraction that does not resolve our dependency on
extractive industries and fossil fuels. It is simply a way of maintaing the
same capitalist model that is destroying the environment and deepening
climate change with token "green" changes and a whole new set of markets to
invest in "natural capital".
Scientists have warned us that even with current country commitments the
planet will see a 4°C
global average temperature by 2100 (
IPCC < http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/mains3-2-1.html>)
leading to hundreds of millions being displaced and made even poorer.
The mainstream vision of the green economy is based on the idea that
multinationals or countries can simply offset their emissions by investing
in "environmental services" which give them the license to continue
polluting at exactly the same levels as they are now. We reject these false
solutions such as carbon markets, nuclear energy, artificial carbon capture
and storage (CCS) and biofuels that are also proposed to be part of the
Alternatives to the Green Economy
We do not own nature; we are part of Mother Earth.
It will not be possible to find a solution to the current crisis in an
economic vision based on the ownership of nature. We do not own nature; we
are part of Mother Earth. There is an urgent need to change the paradigm of
capitalist development and to begin a transition to a new global economic
model to re-establish the balance with Mother Earth. But, alternative
visions already exist.
The vision of Living Well (Vivir Bien) and the Rights of Mother Earth is to
live in harmony with nature on the basis of complementarity and solidarity
between peoples. There needs to be an equal redistribution of wealth and
production models must be directed to meet the needs of women and men,
whilst respecting and caring for Mother Earth rather than promoting the
accumulation of wealth.
These ideas form the basis of the concrete proposals put forward by global
civil society when over 30,000 people met at the World People´s Conference
on Climate Change
< http://pwccc.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/peoples-agreement/>held in
Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2010. Proposals for other forms of
development must respect and recognise the cosmovisions (world views) of
indigenous peoples such as the right to collective territory, ancestral
knowledge and holistic management of their economies.
We need to go beyond the concepts of "environmental services" and "natural
capital". Indigenous peoples have applied alternative models for the
holistic management and use of forests, water and land for generations.
There are ways to care for the environment without buying and selling it.
*The following projects that destroy Mother Earth must be stopped:*
- *opencast mining,*
- *large scale dams (so called "clean energy"),*
- * oil and gas exploitation in ecologically sensitive zones, and*
- *the road through the TIPNIS national park in Bolivia.*
The green economy in Bolivia
As Bolivian civil society we know that the green economy is not the
solution and will resist it being imposed in our country. The Bolivian
Climate Change Platform < http://www.cambioclimatico.org.bo/> demands that
the Bolivian government is not complicit with this new strategy of
capitalism and does not sign the Rio+20 agreement because the green economy
will violate rights enshrined in the Bolivian Constitution including among
others: the essential right to water, self-determination of indigenous
peoples and sovereignty.
As well as a discourse in defence of Mother Earth the Bolivian government
should implement specific policies to begin a gradual transition to a new
So in the run up to Rio+20 and beyond, we call upon social movements and
international civil society to build alliances to resist the the mainstream
ideas of the green economy in the next few years. Instead, we should work
together to build a new development model to achieve the goal of Living
Well (Vivir Bien) in harmony with Mother Earth.
** The complete text of the Bolivian Climate Change Platform position on
Rio+20 can be found at this
* http://www.cambioclimatico.org.bo/derechosmt/052012/100512_2.pdf). *The
Platform is a civil society network with representatives from the two main
indigenous movements who represent 36 indigenous nations, water movements,
small-scale farming associations and key NGOs from across Bolivia. Website:
Position of the Bolivian Climate Change Platform on Rio+20 and the Green
At the next United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development,
"Rio+20", to be held in
Rio de Janeiro in June, the governments of 193 countries will meet to sign
a new global agreement to
guide future development policies. We note the following:
Twenty years after the 1992 "Earth Summit"
, where countries committed to implement Sustainable
Development to eradicate poverty and care for the environment, the results
are disheartening; wealth
continues to be concentrated in the hands of a small sector of society and
the deterioration of the
environment becomes ever more alarming.
The world is facing a crisis of the dominant development model in which the
global economic system
based on the accumulation of capital has broken the balance with Mother
Earth. This is taking us to a
dangerous point where the damage will be irreversible, with disastrous
The current situation in the climate change negotiations is discouraging.
Current commitments by
governments to reduce greenhouse gases are insufficient. Scientists have
warned us that even with
these commitments the planet would suffer a 4°C increase in global average
temperature. This would
mean many regions would suffer unpredictable extreme events with
incalculable costs. Hundreds of
millions of people would be affected - displaced and made even poorer.
In the context of the financial, energy, climate, environmental and food
crises the United Nations
seeks to impose a new strategy to save the capitalist system using
the "Green Economy" to open up
new frontiers for business by turning all natural resources, and nature´s
functions and cycles into
commodities. This will further deepen the social, economic and
The proposals of the "Green Economy" expressed in the "Zero Draft" are not a
n answer to the current
environmental and climate crisis. Putting a price on nature is not the
solution and will only benefit big
"Green Economy" will violate human rights recognised in international
treaties including the
rights to: life, health, water, a healthy environment, a dignified life,
sustainable livelihoods, property,
housing, development, culture and traditional knowledge, as well as the
rights of native indigenous
peoples to self-determination and territory.
Following a comprehensive participatory analysis of this dramatic situation
The Rio+20 Summit and the Green Economy
1) We reject the transformation of Mother Earth and the functions of nature
through the Green Economy. We reject speculation based on new fictitious
called "environmental services" and "natural capital".
2) We reject the attempt to save the capitalist system by imposing the
3) We condemn the Green Economy because it continues to pursue the false
idea of limitless
economic growth. Infinite growth is not possible in a world that has limits.
4) We reject the imposition of the Green Economy and the structural
adjustments needed to
implement it. Even its partial implementation will damage the natural
5) We condemn the harmful effects that the Green Economy will have on the
the rights of indigenous peoples by exacerbating the impacts of the
extractive model of
mining, oil, gas and agro-export.
6) We condemn the false solutions to reduce greenhouse gases such as
nuclear energy, artificial
carbon capture and storage, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and
The Green Economy in Bolivia
The Green Economy in Bolivia would constitute a reversal of the gains the
Bolivian people have won
through their struggles which are enshrined in the Bolivian Constitution.
It would violate principles
and rights including the:
Essential right to water, ▪ Rejection of privatization
Self-determination ▪ Sovereignty
Right to the environment ▪ Plural economy
The principle to Live Well (Vivir Bien) in harmony with nature.
The Green Economy promotes new forms of private appropriation of nature,
financial colonization whereby a rich minority and their lackeys are the
1) We demand that the Bolivian government actively defend the interests of
the Bolivian people
using all means at its disposal to prevent the approval of the current
2) We demand that the Bolivian government is not complicit with this new
strategy of capitalism
and does not sign the Rio+20 agreement. The Bolivian government must comply
071 on the Rights of Mother Earth and articles 255 and 259 of the Bolivian
which demand a national referendum to decide on the signing of an
international treaty of this
3) We demand that in the Rio+20 negotiations the Bolivian government defend
the rights of
Mother Earth and the rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the
resolutions of the Peoples
Summit on Climate Change (Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, 2010).
4) We demand that the ALBA countries, in particular the Bolivian
government, implement the
proposals to Live Well (Vivir Bien) not just as a discourse but with
specific policies to begin
a gradual transition to overcome capitalism in all its forms.
Alternatives to the Green Economy
The model of Living Well (Vivir Bien) and the Rights of Mother Earth are an
alternative to the
predatory capitalist development model that exploits human beings and
Mother Earth. The vision of
Living Well proposes to live in harmony with Mother Earth on the basis of
solidarity between peoples according to logic distinct from that of the
market. It will not be possible
to find a solution to the current crisis in an economic vision based on the
ownership of nature. We do
not own nature; we are part of Mother Earth.
1) A new global model must be created as an alternative to the Green
Economy to re-establish
the balance with Mother Earth.
2) The economic model needs to be changed. There needs to be an equal
redistribution of wealth
and production models must be directed to meet the needs of women and men,
respecting and caring for Mother Earth rather than promoting the
accumulation of wealth.
3) Proposals for other forms of development must respect and recognise the
(world views) of indigenous peoples such as the right to collective
knowledge and holistic management of their economies.
4) We demand respect for nature´s vital cycles. Living Well (Vivir Bien) in
spirituality with Mother Earth involves the full repair and compensation
for the harm caused
by human activity and greed, and the false idea of development.
5) We demand that all projects that destroy Mother Earth be stopped. These
include: the TIPNIS
road, mega projects, opencast mining, oil and gas exploitation in
ecologically sensitive zones,
and harmful dams among others.
6) An alternative model for the holistic management and use of forests,
water, land, and other
beings and gifts of nature
must be created that goes beyond the concept of "environmental
ces" and "natural capital" as a viable alternative to the Green Economy.
This would be
funded by real financial mechanisms such as a tax on financial transactions.
7) A new global agreement on development and the environment must respect
the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries must
historical, ecological and climate debt to developing countries and their
to transfer funds without conditionality to developing countries.
1) We call on civil society in Bolivia - native indigenous peoples, rural
and urban organisations
and institutions, activist networks, young people, women, children and the
elderly with their
wisdom - to mobilize and take action to push forward a new model of
development and to
strengthen spaces for participation and debate.
2) We call on social movements and international civil society to build
alliances to resist the
imposition of the Green Economy in the next few years and to build a new
model to achieve the goal of Living Well (Vivir Bien) in harmony with
Finally, we affirm our conviction of the urgent need to change the paradigm
of development and to
begin a transition to a global economic model to achieve the aim of Living
Well (Vivir Bien) in
harmony with Mother Earth. This includes achieving the social, political,
economic and cultural
inclusion of all peoples as envisaged in the conclusions of global civil
society in the Cochabamba
People´s Agreement at the World People´s Conference on Climate Change held
Cochabamba, Bolivia in April 2010.
!NO TO THE GREEN ECONOMY, YES TO LIVING WELL!
La Paz, 17 April 2012.
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