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Paris: Financialization of Nature

Case Presenter Ivonne Yanez (Acción Ecológica, Ecuador)

Compensation mechanisms linked to biodiversity conservationGenevieve Azam (Attac France)Gloria Ushigua (Sápara, Ecuador), Sengwer Indigenous representative – video – (Kenya, Africa)
EU biodiversity offsets, WRM Report on REDD+, economic valuation of natureJutta Kill (biologist, Germany)

Judge’s Statement:

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
(Turtle Island, USA)

I feel impelled to recognize life itself.  And as we know with life and you heard the expression of our indigenous presentation this morning, “life itself and to us,” in our ceremonies when we blow the whistle, it recognizes life, movement of life, sound of life.  I’m going to do that at this time [whistle blows seven times].

This tribunal has heard the detailed and moving evidence of the experts and the witnesses on this critical topic of financialization of nature, that is rapidly becoming part of the vocabulary of the nature conservation debate. It is also a main mechanism for mitigation the climate crisis of the world. Mentioned was the false solution approach of the UN COP21, where the draft mitigation plans are linked to the free market economy by carbon trading, carbon offsets, clean development mechanisms and other market mechanisms that allow polluters to profit while the impacts of climate change and the world of our farmers, our peasants, our forest-dependent communities, and indigenous peoples worsens. The tribunal has been presented evidence that these mechanisms have given way to the financialization of nature process, which separates and quantifies the earth cycles and functions such as carbon, water, florests, fauna, and biodiversity, by turning them into units, to be sold and financial in speculative markets. This tribunal has heard from a woman, representative of the indigenous peoples of the Sapara peoples of the Amazon forest ecosystem. Her testimony demonstrated how these economic system, such as REDD, and payment for environmental services, objectifies, commodifies, and puts a monetary value on land, water, forests, and air that is contrary to indigenous cosmovision and world view. History has seen many attempts to commodify land, food, labor, forests, water, genes, and ideas such as privatization of our traditional knowledge. Financialization of nature follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the sacredness of our Mother Earth’s carbon cycling and life cycling capacity into property to be bought or sold in a global market. Through this process of creating a new commodity of nature, Mother Earth’s ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate and magnifying social inequalities in many ways. It is a violation of the sacred. Plain and simple.

The tribunal has received convincing evidence of the link of financialization of nature to the green economy, and that these combined are nothing more than the capitalism of nature. This green economy regime places a monetary price on nature and creates new derivative markets that will only increase inequality and increase the destruction of Mother Earth. We cannot put the future of nature and humanity in the hands of financial speculative mechanisms such as using the forest and agriculture as carbon offsets, called “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), and other mechanisms and other market systems of conservation and biodiversity offsets, including payment for environmental services.

Mother Earth is the source of life, which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a natural capital. The response to global warming is democracy for life, democracy for nature, democracy and respect for Mother Earth. We need action for humanity not to be a carbon colonist, not to be a carbon cowboy and brokers of biodiversity and conservation offsets who sell nature in a scheme that only privatizes all of life, Mother Earth including Father Sky.

The tribunal accepts the reports submitted, titled “Economic Evaluation of Nature: the Price to Pay for Conservation” it accepts the report to “REDD +, Stopping the Continental Grab and the REDD-ification of Africa” and the other publication “REDD: A Collection of Conflicts, Contradictions and Lies” and the publication report “Trade and Ecosystem Services, When Payment for Environmental Services Delivers a Permit to Destroy”. All the material demonstrates beyond any doubt that the link between the violation of human rights and the violation to the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth that was developed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 22, 2010, exists.

In conclusion, this tribunal accepts all the expert and witness testimonies. The Tribunal on the rights of nature has a historic and urgent task to 1) apply, adapt and evolve existing legal framework, definitions, and jurisprudence on crimes, perpetrators, criminal charges, criminals, accomplices, and accessaries, identify all the perpetrators, including accomplices and accessaries of these crimes, present charges, and put them on trial — specifically on the case of financialization of nature, and REDD. The tribunal recognizes that REDD is emerging as a new form of violation of Article 1 Mother Earth and Article 2, Inherent Rights of Mother Earth, and of almost every right of Mother Earth and nature enshrined in this Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth, as well as a threat to the cultural survival of the indigenous peoples and potentially genocidal and a new form of territorial expropriation and colonialism. That the health of Mother Earth is holistic and that a wound inflicted on Mother Earth cannot be compensated, it must be healed at source. That the next session of the Rights of Nature International Tribunal continue to receive evidence on the violation of the rights of nature by financialization of nature and payment for environmental services and REDD regimes with the goal of present criminal charges against the perpetrators of global warming, the fevers of Mother Earth, and put them on trial. Present criminal charges against the off-setters of emissions and put them on trial as accomplices of the perpetrators of global warming. Present charges against companies, states, entities, including the United Nations, international financial institutions, non governmental organizations, funders, and individuals that offset these emissions.

Lastly, in the future, this tribunal should evaluate presenting criminal charges against the United Nations and States for singing the Paris Accord 2015, because it may constitute a crime against humanity, Mother Earth, and Father Sky, since it will not cut emissions at source, but rather promote offsets with the variety of ecosystems in the form of these financialization of nature regimes, nuclear power, and other false solutions. Thank you.

For more visit:  Paris International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Also visit:  Paris Judges’ Statements.

And: Judges biographies

Tribunal Video Credits:  A special thank you to Panasonic; 2nd Side Adventures, LLC; Diana Weynand, Producer, Supervising Editor; Clément Guerra, Camera; Sophie Guerra, Sound; and Editors: Sean Lea, Sachie Masuda, and Rebecca Ryden.