Voices from the Global South at the COP21

Several of Development and Peace’s partners have been present at the COP21 in Paris to remind negotiators of those in the Global South who are living the impacts of climate change now. One of the key points that was negotiated at the climate conference is a fund to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries in adapting and mitigating climate change. This fund is meant to be formed of contributions from wealthy countries who have benefited the most from the economic model that has created climate change – their wealth coming from the very industries, such as the extractives, that contribute the most to carbon emissions, and whose impacts are being lived now by developing countries, especially by the poorest and most vulnerable groups. This green climate fund was one of the most contentious points of the negotiations, with wealthy nations begrudgingly taking responsibility for the damage they have done.

Development and Peace’s partners travelled from Brazil, Peru, Nigeria, the Philippines and Honduras to give voice to the threats faced by the communities they represent. It is a question of the very survival of their peple. While many followed the negotiations from inside Le Bourget, most were present to participate in the multiple social movement events happening on the fringes, placing greater faith in the capacity of people to mobilize and to show solidarity rather than in those behind closed doors negotiating.

Joseph Purugganan, co-ordinator of Development and Peace partner Focus on the Global South in the Philippines, was part of events held in the Climate Action Zone, where a wide range of issues were discussed such as how food sovereignty is a way to address climate change and women in Africa mobilizing against mining. Our partners ensured that even if the marginalized do not have a voice within the negotiations, their struggles would be brought to Paris and shared with others so future action can take place.

Here are Joseph’s thoughts on the negotiations.