Civil Society Rallies for Climate Justice at Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week
The Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW 2023) was held in Panama City from October 23 to 27 and took place amid major demonstrations by local organizations and social movements calling for the repeal of the mining contract enacted into law and for a nation-wide ban on mining in Panama.
LACCW 2023 is part of the lead-up to COP28 to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This COP has been significantly questioned due to the scandalous influence exerted by ADNOC, the state oil company, in its coordination. Climate weeks are supposed to address climate solutions, but the Panama meeting addressed, yet again, issues that do not contribute to tackling the problem and instead will contribute to worsening the climate crisis.
Those in attendance at LACCW 2023 focused on false solutions, as is often the case in climate negotiations. The topics addressed included carbon pricing, improving voluntary markets, so-called carbon emissions removals (which can include geoengineering such as carbon capture and storage or CCS), the advance of minerals in the energy transition, the increasing popularity of hydrogen energy, the inevitable Nature-Based Solutions, private funds, the digitalization of the planet, and a whole lot of issues relating to the “blue economy.”
As usual, transnational conservation corporations such as IUCN and WWF had a significant presence, and there was a clear interest in aligning climate and biodiversity agendas, likely through the consolidation of markets for carbon offsets with those for biodiversity loss.
With this discouraging context at the official level, a number of climate justice organizations from the region gathered to reflect on the proposed false solutions for global warming and on how to promote real solutions from the grassroots. The Climate Justice Gathering was organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Platform for Climate Justice, the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice and the Panamanian organization Voces Ecológicas-COVEC.
At this gathering, participants mapped the false solutions in the region, and examined the national and regional contexts. Significantly, representatives of the Kuna, Ngobe and Embera Indigenous communities of Panama spoke about the challenges they face in their regions due to the advance of extractivism, and about their resistance to REDD+ projects that threaten their territories.
At the time of drafting this summary for Climate Week, demonstrations continue in the streets of Panama. Their opposition to mining expansion is also a solid step to curb climate change. Instead of being met with repression, their contribution should be recognized, in contrast to the inaction in the LACCW 2023 meeting rooms.
Written By: Ivonne Yánez, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
Translated By: Olimpia Boido