Image

Archive for United Nations

UN Harmony With Nature Celebrates International Mother Earth Day April 21 2017

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HARMONY WITH NATURE IN COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY

THEME: EARTH JURISPRUDENCE

21 April 2017, United Nations HQ

Event: Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature in commemoration of International Mother Earth Day

For Programme click: Harmony with Nature Programme 10April2017

Theme: Earth Jurisprudence

Date: Friday, 21 April 2017

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City

Objective   –  For more information click: UN Harmony with Nature Concept Note 10April2017

The Dialogue will examine the key characteristics of, and implementation strategies for, an Earth-centred paradigm. It will advance the importance of the inclusion and application of Earth jurisprudence principles in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Panelists will draw from the recommendations of the experts’ report from the 2016 virtual dialogue, showcase how Earth jurisprudence is currently being applied across different disciplines, and offer new Earth jurisprudence implementation strategies consistent with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Dialogue will explore how Earth-centred governance policies could ensure sustainable development patterns consistent with Earth jurisprudence principles.

Questions

  1. How can Earth jurisprudence help us to better implement the Sustainable Development Goals?
  2. What promising approaches and actions should be implemented, replicated or scaled-up to advance an Earth-centred approach to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals?
  3. How would a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature help guide implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals?

! SECURITY NOTE | PLEASE REVIEW CAREFULLY !

Guests without a valid UN Grounds Pass

To obtain a special event ticket, send an e-mail to Ms. Ariane Benrey at: hwndialogue2017@gmail.com indicating your first and last name as it appears on your valid government-issued ID. Your request should be received no later than Monday 17 April, noon.

Plan to arrive at the DC1 Building/One UN Plaza (located at the corner of 1st Avenue and 44th Street) between 8:30 and 9:45 am on Friday 21 April – to pick up your special event ticket to attend the Dialogue. Please pick up your special event ticket no later than 9:45 am. Colleagues will be holding signs with the name of the event. Kindly keep your special event ticket with you at all times.

  • Please carry a valid government-issued ID with you.
  • Please bear in mind that the passes are name-specific and non-transferable.
  • You will then go through a security screening similar to the airport. Please do not carry anything with you that you would not take through airport security.
  • Note that if you leave the UN grounds, you will need to be security screened again.
  • If for any reason you are not able to arrive to the UN premises before 9:45 am, please contact the focal point, Ms. Giovanna Maselli at (786) 901- 0070. She will kindly assist you with your event ticket.

Guests with a valid UN Grounds Pass

You do not need a special event ticket to access the Dialogue.

Broadcast: Live and on-demand webcast coverage to be available on the UN Web TV website at:

http://webtv.un.org

She is alive ~ Recognize Rights of Mother Earth

Sign our petition at http://petition.rightsofmotherearth.com

She’s our mother …
She’s worth loving …
She’s worth protecting …
She’s worth defending …

You can make a difference.  Take action now and be 1 of a million standing for the UN and all nations to recognize Rights of Nature ~ Rights of Mother Earth.

She is alive is being re-released with thanks to Vivek Chauhan, SanctuaryAsia, Greenpeace, and Timescapes for rights to use this video.

Earth law update – April 27, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here is the latest update on Earth law developments:

  • The United Nations (UN) Harmony with Nature Programme has launched its Knowledge Network, an online platform which will host a series of inter-disciplinary dialogues between practitioners, academics and researchers about Earth Jurisprudence and how we can move away from a human-centred worldview and establish an Earth-centred relationship with the planet. As mentioned in earlier updates, this follows a report and a UN resolution last year to initiate a virtual dialogue to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals on Harmony with Nature.
  • Speaking at a meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, inviting world leaders to Habitat III (the third UN Conference on Sustainable Urban Development) to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that Habitat III ‘must seek to guarantee the right to city, to public services, to basic services, to sustainable development that respects the rights of Nature’. Highlighting that Ecuador is the only country in the world with a constitution recognising the rights of Nature, he emphasised the hope that the New Urban Agenda (the outcome document from Habitat III) reflects the Ecuadorian concept of ‘buen vivir’ or ‘living well’, an indigenous concept adopted as the country’s guiding principle for sustainable development.
  • The Rights and Resources Initiative has launched a new report analysing countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions submitted in advance of the Paris Agreement. The report finds that only 11% of countries which submitted plans made clear commitments to tenure security for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, failing to recognise that by preventing changes in land use and land cover Indigenous Peoples and local communities play a crucial role in helping to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance has issued an invitation to participate in ‘Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change’ a conference being held with the University of New South Wales, in Sydney on 16th and 17th August 2016. The conference will tease out connections between movements and ask a series of questions such as: ‘How can we reimagine work, exchange, money, care, law and our relationship with the natural world through the prism of a new economy?’.

Recognizing the Rights of Nature and the Living Forest

By Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network International

During COP21 U.N. climate negotiations and actions by the climate justice movement in Paris, two truly transformational ideas were presented that challenge dominant destructive paradigms and instead offer deep systemic change. Today, we invite you to READ and SHARE this article by WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, sharing the ‘revolutionary and evolutionary’ concepts of Rights of Nature and Kawsak Sacha, ‘the Living Forest’.

Sarayaku Indigenous opening

It is critical to note that the land of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who provide the vision of Kawsak Sacha, was signed away last week to Chinese companies for oil extraction. The Kichwa people have nurtured and successfully protected the forest from oil drilling for decades, but this new threat is dire. As we embrace and learn from their critical proposals, we MUST stand up and take effective action in support of the Kichwa, Sapara and all others resisting extraction in the Amazon. WECAN will soon be traveling to Ecuador for solidarity actions.

“The message our Living Forest proposal delivers is aimed at the entire world with the goal of reaching the hearts and minds of human beings everywhere, encouraging us all to reflect on the close relation between Human Rights and the Rights of Nature.”‎ —From Kawsak Sacha, The Living Forest: An Indigenous Proposal for Confronting Climate Change, presented by the Amazonian Kichwa People of Sarayaku, Ecuador

Read Osprey Orielle Lake’s compelling article: Recognizing the Rights of Nature and the Living Forest in EcoWatch now.

Osprey Orielle Lake is the founder and executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and co-chair of International Advocacy for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. Follow on Twitter @WECAN_INTL.

Two Good Days When Crimes Against Nature Were Exposed

By Nnimmo Bassey

For two days in the Maison des Metallos, Paris, experts, victims, prosecutors and judges presented or listened to cases of crimes against Mother Earth and at the end judgements were passed. There were solemn spiritual moments, moments of awe at the rapacious destructive capacities of humanity and many moments of tears as these destructions, including murders, were painted in words and pictures.

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal held parallel to the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties where historical and current climate atrocities or real solutions are loath to be mentioned, not even in square brackets.from NnimmoThe Tribunal derives its authority from the peoples of the world as the children of the Earth. The basic framework comes from the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth (UDRME) that was adopted at the Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April 2010 after the spectacular failure of COP15 in Copenhagen. At the commencement of the sitting of the Tribunal on 4 December 2015, the presiding judge, Cormac Cullinan, led other judges to vote and formally adopt the Convention and Statutes of the tribunal. These guide the running of the Tribunal and underscore the solemn duty of sitting as judges on the cases of infringements against Mothrer Earth.

This was the third session of the Tribunal, having sat first in Quito, Ecuador in January 2014 and then in Lima, Peru in December of the same year. The Tribunal was hosted by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature in conjunction with NatureRights, End Ecocide on Earth and Attac France with Natalia Greene heading the secretariat.

As I sat on the panel of judges along with Tom Goldtooth (USA), Alberto Acosta (Ecuador), Osprey Orielle (USA), Terisa Turna (Canada), Felicio Pontes (Brazil), Damien Short (UK), Attosa Soltani (USA), Ruth Nyambura (Kenya), Christophe Bonneuil (France), Philippe Desbrosses (France) and Dominique Bourg (Switzerland) we were repeatedly reminded that all beings on Earth are our relatives and that what we do to anyone of the children of the Earth we do to ourselves. The preamble of the UDRME states that “We are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny.”

It also came through that the crimes against Mother Earth are often wilfully committed because some people and the transnational corporations see nature as capital and Mother Earth as a dead organism. In a proposed case against cruel treatment of animals we saw shocking video of a wounded bull being butchered alive with hundreds of people gleefully watching.

The prosecutors, Ramiro Avila and Linda Sheehan led the witnesses in bringing out deep systemic alternatives to environmental protection and seeking to show that it must be acknowledged that ecosystems have the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles and that these ought to have legal standing in a court of law. The line-up of witnesses helped to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and oppressed communities had the space to share their unique concerns, knowledge and solutions about land, water, air and culture with the global community.

The presentations by experts and victims showed that climate change violates Articles 2 Sub sections a-j of the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth, especially the right to life and to exist; the right to be respected and “the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions.”

Witnesses underscored the fact that although climate change is caused mostly by human activities, it is inaccurate to place that blame and the burden for action on all humans. In his presentation, Pablo Solon stressed that 10% of the richest individuals in the world contribute 49 per cent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 90 companies contribute over 60 per cent of all GHG emissions. The top corporate polluters include Chevron, ExxonMobil (USA), Saudi Aramco (Saudi), BP (UK), Gazprom (Russia) and Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands).

Evidence were adduced to show that the trio of governments/politicians, transnational corporations and the UNFCCC are complicit in the climate crimes as they work together to ensure that real solutions are avoided, binding commitments to cut emission are set aside in preference for voluntary or intended actions. In addition, the tribunal rejected the claims that destructive actions were taken on the basis of the necessity of development or that when emissions began to happen, and grew, the polluters did not know or anticipate the outcomes, are unacceptable.

The case was established that at play is the logic of capital and power and that the major corporations who have caused the problems are the sponsors of the COPs and have hijacked the system.

The fact that the extreme forms of extraction promoted by humans are crimes against Mother Earth came through very forcefully when the case of hydraulic fracturing or fracking was taken. Fracking was presented as a RAPE of the Earth and is one of the worst threats against the planet. Facts adduced in this case include that it sets stage for disaster each frack uses up to 2-8 million gallons of fresh water and that one well may be fracked up to 18 times. The process involves the use of up to 750 chemicals many of which, including benzene and formaldehyde are toxic. Billions of gallons of “frack fluid” and 60 per cent of chemicals used remain or are stored underground while the remainder are stored in open air pits. The Tribunal received evidence of radioactive wastes, toxic waters being left everywhere fracking takes place: in farms, schools, neighbourhoods as well as offshore. Witnesses and experts also insisted that fracking is guaranteed to pollute ground water. Testimonies of health impacts, deaths, rapes and other social disruptions dropped a pall of grieve over the venue of the meeting.

In the case against the Belo Monte and Tapajas mega dams in Brazil, the Tribunal was informed that 60-70 dams were being planned to be built over the next 20 years. Belo Monte alone will destroy 5000km2 of the forest and related biodiversity. The social impacts were described as ecological and cultural genocide against the indigenous communities.

Speaking forcefully about his lifelong work defending the Amazon forest, Cacique Raoni Kayapo told the Tribunal, “We all need nature to survive and it is fundamental that we protect her. Governments should hear the indigenous people who are in the frontlines of defending nature.” Looking piercingly at the panel of judges and then at the audience he intoned, “My struggle is for you, for all of us and for the future of humanity and for the future of our children.”

Other highlights of the sessions include the presentations that demanded that fossil fuels should be left under the ground in line with the findings of science requiring that this be done if we are to avoid catastrophic temperature rise. Oilwatch International presented the case for the creation of Annex Zero (0) nations, sub-nations and territories that have already taken steps or are in the process of doing so, of keeping fossil fuels under the ground. This was presented as real climate action and points at the pathway to a safe world. Examples were given of sites of such initiatives in all the continents of the world. Another highlight was the case for the recognition of ecocide in international criminal law.

The Tribunal accepted new cases including those that will try crimes against animals, the depletion of marine life, the Rosia Montana Mines in Romania, the extreme damage of the environment of the Niger Delta by the polluting acts of Shell and the crimes tied to the extraction of tar sands in Canada.

These were two days of plain talks and truth. They were days in which the raw injuries inflicted on Mother Earth and her children were laid bare. They were days of pain as well as of joy. Tears flowed freely from all sections of the hall. Indignation did not give birth to paralysis but to a resolve to stand up for Mother Earth.

In spite of the pains, the aches and the cries of Mother Earth that her children displayed, the words of Cases Camp Horinek kept echoing that the days of the Tribunal were indeed good days.

Nnimmo BasseyNnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is director of an ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and Coordinator of Oilwatch International. Bassey has authored books on the environment, architecture and poetry. He was chair of Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012) and Executive Director of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action (1993-2013). He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Noble Prize.” In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award. In 2014 he received Nigeria’s national honour as Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in recognition of his environmental activism. His book, To Cook a Continent – Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa (Pambazuka Press, 2012) has been translated in Portuguese and Finnish (2014).

A blue and just future is possible

Maude Barlow’s keynote speech from the International Conference on Water, Megacities and Global Change, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, December 1, 2015

Maude Barlow opening UNESCO Water, Megacities and Global Change

In early December, the world turned its attention to climate talks in Paris.  At their international headquarters in Paris, UNESCO convened the Water, Megacities and Global Change  conference to the address the critical threats to water from climate change, especially in the world’s megacities. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and international water expert was a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony on December 1.

“How do we start to talk about the crisis of water and megacities?” Maude asks. “With a critical examination of these and other policies that favour global markets over the lives of people and the health of ecosystems. And by confronting the tyranny of the 1% with the creation of a just global economy.

We can start with a new water ethic. Rather than seeing water as a resource for profit, we need to understand that it is the essential element in all living ecosystems. All policies and practices must be planned with the preservation of water at their core. Not only do we have to reject the market model for our water future, we must put ourselves at the service of undoing what we have done to the natural world and hope it is not too late.

Our current legal systems for protecting the environment are not working because they were not designed to do so. They view nature and water as our property. We need new universal laws that respect the integrity of ecosystems and allow other species than our own to fulfil their evolutionary role on Earth.”

Maude closes with stating possibilities, “Imagine a world in which water becomes nature’s gift to teach us how to live in peace with one another and dwell more lightly on this lovely planet. It is all possible. A blue and just future is possible.”

Read Maude Barlow’s complete speech (in English).

Barlow gives testimony on water at International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris

Later in the week, Maude presented as an expert witness on water at the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris.

“Displacing water from where it belongs to where we want it is a major cause of climate chaos unrecognized by many scientists and environmentalists alike. This practice is also destroying whole water systems. Over half the major rivers in China have disappeared. By destroying forests and wetlands, we destroy the lungs and kidneys of our watersheds. Since 1900, the planet has lost two thirds of its wetlands. Every minute, 36 football fields of trees are clear cut. These are crimes against the rights of nature.”

In addition to Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow serves as Executive/Board member of other earth justice organizations including the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, Food and Water Watch, International Forum on Globalization, World Future Council and Movement Rights.  In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.

 

COP Out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal

Hal Rhoades, Gaia Foundation, December 16, 2015

COP21 has had a mixed reception and the agreement reached has been criticised more for what it doesn’t say as much as for what it does. The Gaia Foundation’s latest blog COP out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal reflects on what was agreed and highlights the powerful message from the International Rights of Nature Tribunal.

Hal Rhoades discusses why, despite the hype, the climate agreement hatched by world governments in Paris won’t save us from climate catastrophe. With analysis on key areas of the agreement text and discussion of the latest climate science, he argues that people’s movements, not multilateral theatrics, represent our best hope for avoiding climate disaster.

“Perhaps because it provided this anchor, for me, the most powerful event in the civil society spaces outside COP21was the International Rights of Nature Tribunal. The Tribunal advances a new legal paradigm that draws on Indigenous knowledge and governance systems, recognising nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. It represents one critical way to revive the planetary realism we need so desperately right now and is a model that should be taken and replicated elsewhere, and soon.

There is no one solution to climate crisis, no silver bullet. Nor can any one person, or government, or group of governments articulate an entire alternative system to our current one that is at war with people and planet. Rather, the systems change we want and so desperately need will emerge from the actions of our societies’, bravest, most vibrant, resilient and determined groups, who are driven by a moral imperative that transcends current norms and augurs a better future. Ever was it thus.”

Read Gaia Foundation’s blog at COP out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

Movement Rights Blog, By Shannon Biggs and Pennie Opal Plant, December 21, 2015

If you’ve been confused by the conflicting reports of the success COP 21 negotiations, you’re not alone. On the final day of the UN climate talks, President Obama issued a statement boasting words the nation, the ministers from 196 negotiating countries and the world wanted to hear: “We met the moment.  We came together around a strong agreement the world needed.” The mainstream media quickly heralded the final agreement as The world’s Greatest Diplomatic Success”   and “Big Green” environmental groups like the Sierra Club   and Avaaz blogged that while it may not be the war, as far as the battle goes, “WE WON.”

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

photo links to Movement Rights Blog

Reports of victory (or the whiff of a qualified victory) quickly flooded the internet. Yet standing on the streets of Paris on December 12—lined with over 10,000 people carrying red tulips and unfurling giant red ribbons defying the ban on demonstrations and condemning world leaders failure to put forward a meaningful, binding agreement—we puzzled, and wondered if we were at the same summit. From the red line action on the outside, many justice activists, economists, experts, NGO participants and Indigenous leaders had a very different take on the outcome. Former Bolivian climate negotiator, Pablo Solon told Democracy Now! “The Paris Agreement Will See the Planet Burn.”

So what does the Paris Agreement say that is creating the division of opinions? 

Read the authors’ outline of what IS and what IS NOT in the Paris UNFCCC agreement at A Quick Guide to the Paris Agreement 
as well as an assessment of who is celebrating and why.

About the authors:

Shannon Biggs, Casey Camp Horinek, and Pennie Opal Plant Movement Rights co-founders Shannon Biggs and Pennie  Opal Plant were in Paris for the COP 21 climate events, and to promote grassroots alternatives to the current UN process including co-producing a report on Rights of Nature, co- hosting a beyond-capacity Rights of Nature tribunal that turned away over 1,000 people, co-leading a ceremony for the signing of an international Indigenous Women’s Treaty for Mother Earth, among many other actions, interventions and activities, very often led by our board member, Indigenous leader and Ponca elder, Casey Camp Horinek (pictured).