Beginning today April 19th, over 15,000 people from around the world along with representatives of 70 governments, mainly from Least Developed Countries will meet in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
According to a press statement issued on Sunday, the meeting will be an unprecedented event bringing countries affected by climate change together with experts and activists working to find solutions.
“The main point of the conference is to convince developed countries to make and meet commitments to reduce emissions, and we have observed that this will not happen without pressure from civil society,” says Bolivia’s UN Ambassador Pablo Solón.
In Cochabamba “those who are already suffering from global warming will have the chance to speak out,” Solón adds.
Bolivia is facing a rapid loss of its glaciers due to global temperature change, while small island states such as Comoros will be in attendance to discuss rising sea levels.
The Conference was convened by Bolivian President Evo Morales after the latest UN climate talks in Copenhagen, which ended with the non-binding and much criticized Copenhagen Accord.
The Bolivian effort to recharge negotiations has earned the support of top environmental, development and human rights organizations from around the world such as 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Action Aid and Via Campesina.
Delegations will attend from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Germany, France, Russia, China, and Mexico have confirmed.
In an op-ed, Bill McKibben of 350.org wrote: “Thank heaven… for the nations like Bolivia willing to work alongside civil society (instead of lock normal people out of the hall, as the UN did in Copenhagen).”
President Morales will speak at an opening plenary of the Conference on Tuesday, April 20, and events will continue through to Thursday April 22. Conference proceedings will center around 17 working groups covering issues such as structural causes of climate change, climate refugees and Kyoto Protocol.