April 13, 2018

Latin American civil society position on the Summit of the Americas

The letter ‘Voices of Peoples’ is signed by more than 40 entities and demands attention and urgent action by world leaders on climate change

LIMA, PERU — The 8th Summit of the Americas started this Friday in Lima and will bring together leaders from various countries to discuss issues such as democratic governance and corruption, sustainable development, international cooperation and public-private partnerships. As Latin America and the Caribbean are among the most vulnerable regions in the planet to the devastating effects of climate change, its civil society is urging governments to take concrete actions to mitigate global warming and its consequences for populations and ecosystems around the world.

In a letter that will be delivered to government officials attending the conference and to the members of the Organization of American States (OAS) and ParlAmericas, more than 40 networks, organizations and social movements from Latin America, including 350.org, demand that governments stop ignoring this situation and meet the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. One of the points highlighted in the document is the promotion of public policies for energy transition, from dirty sources such as fossil fuels to renewable energies such as wind, solar and biomass, thus contributing to the decarbonization of the economy.

“In Latin America there is a great concern from environmental organizations, social and student movements, university sectors, workers, intellectuals, religious groups and indigenous peoples about the fact that while governments are committed internationally to advance the objectives of the Paris Agreement, nationally they continue to promote highly polluting projects connected to oil, gas, fracking, coal and mining,” says Nicole Oliveira, director of 350.org Latin America.

The organizations also call on developed nations, such as Canada and the United States, to continue to cooperate with the countries of the Americas, ensuring funding for climate mitigation and adaptation actions for the region. In addition, they demand the promotion of dialogue and the broad participation of civil society in the construction of public policies, and respect for the fundamental rights of traditional communities to be part of a prior, free and informed consultation on policies and enterprises that directly impact their territories and resources. They also call for an end to the criminalization and harassment of environmental defenders.

“For the implementation of the Paris Agreement to be effective, it is important that governments ensure and promote broad participation, dialogue and consultation with various actors in civil society. It is also essential that national committees to track and monitor the compliance of their governments with the commitments made under the global accord are created,” says Osver Pollo, coordinator of the Peruvian Citizen Movement in the Face of Climate Change (MOCICC, in the acronym in Spanish).

The document recalls that, according to the World Meteorological Organization, 2017 was one of the hottest years in the planet’s history. It also flags that nowadays, despite the denial of climate change spread by powerful economic sectors, there is a broad consensus that if this trend continues, climate conditions will become increasingly extreme, irreversibly affecting biodiversity and putting humanity at risk.

“Due to global warming and its increasingly catastrophic impacts, governments around the world have signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce global emissions to stabilize and minimize rising global temperatures. However, despite the efforts and demands of several sectors, the road is still uncertain due to decisions by countries such as the United States, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which has announced its withdrawal from the global agreement in order to continue promoting fossil fuels and cutting off public resources earmarked for the global fight for climate,” says the letter.

In the context of the eradication of corruption, entities reinforce the importance of governments strengthening sanctions and improving mechanisms for accountability and transparency, particularly regarding their finance for climate actions.

The organizations also express their solidarity with the Caribbean countries, which are in the process of rebuilding after the impact of recent severe hurricanes, and with all climate refugees in all regions of the world. They finalize calling for the support from other citizens, organizations, networks and movements in the Americas to join forces to demand that governments meet their climate commitments and be vigilant throughout the process.



Nathália Clark, communications coordinator at 350.org Latin America, [email protected], +55 61 99137-1229

Romina Rivera Bravo, coordinator of the Citizen’s Movement Against Climate Change, [email protected], +519 58251990

Fabián Campos, coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, [email protected], +593 99 379 0762