Final declaration Social Climate Summit
Final declaration Social Climate Summit
The world has woken in face of the climate emergency
We’re now much stronger than we have ever been
Social Climate Summit
The Social Climate Summit (SCS) has been an essential forum for the social response to the COP25. From the moment we were handed the undesired challenge to set up this space in record time, our commitment has been to act as a loudspeaker for the demands of communities in the Global South, particularly social movements in Latin American and Chile, whose voices certain elements wanted to silence. Despite the logistical and human challenge of organising this Summit in such a short time, we have tried to ensure good coordination with the numerous Chilean social spaces that were already in action, particularly the Indigenous Minga, the Peoples’ Summit and Civil Society for Climate Action (SCAC). These spaces’ activities continued in Chile, but the presence of their delegations and their messages at the SCS was fundamental. From the start of this Summit, aspects such as the denunciation of extractivism, human rights’ violations, demands concerning social justice and indigenous peoples have been at the forefront. The challenge of setting up the necessary physical and human space to host the SCS has been met in a very tight time frame (our thanks to Madrid Complutense University and UGT for their contributions). We have channelled more than 370 requests for activities, structured around different thematic axes: planetary limits, the economic and financial system, social justice, political systems, democracy and human rights, intersectionality and real solutions. More than 15,000 people and 300 organisations, networks, groups and social movements from every continent have gathered at the SCS during these days to talk, exchange ideas and make proposals about ecofeminism, migration, neocolonialism, indigenism, employment, agroecology, energy, transitions, democracy and regenerative culture, to mention just a few. In contrast to the disappointing debates at the official negotiations, which revolved around carbon markets and offsets, the SCS has taken on the responsibility of opening up a space for debate to a much richer and more diverse discussion about real solutions. Above all, the SCS has served to continue weaving together the social and community network that will make us stronger for the ecological, social and climate crisis scenario we are facing.
Each day, during the plenary meetings—in some case with over 1000 participants— we have heard from dozens of companions from a wide diversity of communities, who have shared their struggles and their front-line efforts while facing up to extractivist aggressions and climate impacts. Sharing these two weeks with indigenous peoples has been one of the most constructive, enriching and moving experiences at the SCS. As they explain in their letter delivered to the COP25 Chair, indigenous peoples are the «guardians of life in the most biodiverse territories of the planet«, who are striving for «‘buen vivir’, life itself, nature and humanity, regardless of whether they are indigenous or not”. These indigenous peoples and nations —who defend their territory from multinational corporations, extractive industries and the commodification of the planet— have made it clear to all that the Earth is essential for the sustenance of all human and non-human beings, and that the balance between the material and the spiritual is key. From their perception of Mother Earth as a living being and their traditional knowledge, they have provided very valuable insights into the necessary ecological transition. We join these peoples and nations in denouncing the role of multinationals, particularly Spanish corporations. We demand an end to their criminalisation and persecution for protecting ecosystems, and declare Mother Earth as a living being subject to law. We demand fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, out of the hands of colonial extractivists.
If there is one thing that we have learnt from indigenous peoples, is that colonialism is ongoing, not only in the hands of large corporations, but also in the way we think and act. Over the last two weeks, we have made mistakes due to ideas which, despite our goodwill, do not question the power of white people in sufficient depth. These mistakes have caused pain. We apologise for this, and want to learn from them. The path to decolonisation is long, but we want to walk it because, as the letter presented by the Indigenous Minga to COP25 concludes, «it is time to unite all efforts around the world and put aside our differences.”
We also want to highlight the persecution suffered most particularly by women and the Mapuche people, whose repression has been a historic practice exercised by every government to date. We therefore support their struggle, and demand an end to their repression and the release of their political prisoners. Likewise, we support all peoples in their struggle to defend their lands. We pay tribute to those who have been assassinated while exercising this right. It has been an honour to receive Laura Zúñiga Cáceres, daughter of Berta Cáceres, murdered by the Honduras government for defending her land.
Our gaze has not moved away from the recent mobilisations in Chile, where people are out on the streets every day, struggling for change. We have denounced human rights violations by Piñera’s government, which is murdering, disappearing, injuring, torturing and raping. These are the visible manifestations of the neoliberal system’s crisis, which has not only made the public health system precarious, plundered the pension system and indebted large sectors of the population (students especially), but has also been implementing a predatory extractive policy for many decades. As the climate crisis becomes increasingly obvious in Chile —through processes such as desertification, aquifer depletion and rising sea level, threatening the possibilities of life in these territories— these demands have become part of the struggles for social justice. For this reason, the SCS has, at all times, aimed to highlight this connection between the social and ecological crisis as manifestations of the same problem: an economic model that is threatening life itself.
The plenary assemblies have also followed the official COP25 negotiations, the climate struggle of the youth movements, the launch of the Latin American manifesto for climate by SCAC/FIMA, the final declaration of the Peoples’ Summit, the struggles human rights defenders, the criminalisation of protest and the struggles of activists against fossil fuels and megaprojects, ecofeminisms and alternatives for a desirable future. Cultural dissemination has also been a central feature, in the form of exhibitions, art workshops, performances, poetry readings and live music.
Our vision of COP25
We, defenders of climate justice, scientists, young people, women, indigenous people, subsistence farmers, activists from organisations and social movements from all over the world, have gathered at the Social Climate Summit and demonstrated in huge numbers in Madrid to sound the alarm once again, with one voice: the COP25 negotiations are leading us towards more global warming, with catastrophic consequences. It is up to us to articulate the responses to the climate emergency. We cannot expect anything from the majority of States whose commitments should be greatly increased.
People’s lives and our planet are in danger. The countries of the Global North have built up an historic debt. They must respond by providing the funds needed to resolve the ecological and social emergency in most parts of the planet. It is unacceptable to go on questioning human rights safeguards in the climate struggle. It would be unforgivable if mechanisms such as carbon markets and clean development mechanisms were to continue being the source of enormous social and environmental violations.
This summit has once again ignored the need to drive the world’s major polluters out of these summits. Moreover, its allowed sponsorship to turn the space into a showcase where the very same corporations responsible for climate degradation have been greenwashed, gaining privileged access to politicians and negotiators.
While the massive mobilisations over recent months have been mentioned at the plenary sessions, demands for real measures have been ignored. More than 300 people have been expelled from the official summit —climate justice advocates, scientists, young people, women, indigenous leaders, representatives of organisations from all over the world— united in a peaceful protest at the official summit to sound the alarm with one voice: the COP25 negotiations are dangerously biased.
In 2015, countries agreed to the weak process known as the Paris Agreement. As the scientific community is making perfectly clear, this global agreement is incapable of keeping global temperature increases well below 2°C (preferably 1.5°C). COP25 could water down this modest goal even further. By delaying the presentation of new commitments, effective tackling of the climate emergency will be delayed for years, which will have catastrophic consequences.
With barely 10 years left to deal with the climate emergency, mechanisms like more carbon trading markets and clean development mechanisms are being proposed, while already being the source of numerous violations of human and environmental rights. Allowing big oil, civil aviation, shipping, mining and electric corporations to go on influencing the path towards the decarbonisation of the economy is simply unacceptable. Only correct planning that succeeds in transforming the predatory capitalist system into a system matched to the planet, with life as its central focus, will be able to halt the climate emergency.
In these final hours of COP25, we reaffirm our commitment to articulate real solutions to the environmental and social emergency. Our capacity to mobilise, organise and understand each other is what can save us from the ecological and social emergency that we are experiencing. We have learnt from each other, built bonds of solidarity and fuelled our desire to fight. We are leaving much stronger than we were when we arrived. We will keep up pressure on politicians in defence of the common good. We will continue to take to the streets to halt the climate emergency. From Santiago to Madrid, we will articulate solidarity networks with the communities who are fighting for justice around the world. In the face of neoliberal policies, sacrificed zones and the madness of continued fuel extraction, we call for peaceful but firm and ongoing resistance. At last the world has woken in face of the climate emergency.