“A gathering under the trees to discuss community problems is very familiar in rural areas of Africa,” said Samantha Bailey, African Coordinator for the international climate campaign 350.org.”It’s great to see this old tradition and new spirit of Occupy movements come together here in Durban. Since our politicians are failing to lead, now it’s up to the people to show the way forward.”
Occupy Movement Comes to COP17 in Durban
DURBAN — This morning, the international “Occupy” movement arrived at the UN Climate Talks in Durban. As deliberations began inside the formal negotiating halls, dozens of people gathered across the street for the first COP17 “General Assembly.”
The majority of these everyday citizens — from students to farmers to entrepreneurs — are not allowed inside the UN negotiations, which are taking place in a convention center surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by hundreds of police.
“I was inside the UN negotiations for many years,” said Pablo Solon, the former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, told the crowd gathered at the General Assembly. “And I can tell you, this, right here, is what needs to be happening around the world.”
At the gathering this morning, many shared the concern that the UN negotiations, known as the COP, has become a “Conference of Polluters” and that negotiators no longer represent the interests of the people. They hope that the general assembly, which they labeled a “Conference of People,” can become a more effective COP than the corrupted UN process.
During the first General Assembly, groups talked enthusiastically about climate problems and responses at the local level, how climate struggles are connected with struggles for economic justice, gender equality, indigenous people’s rights and many others, how the deliberations happening in the official COP space are cut off from the complexity and heart of climate justice, and how indigenous people have wisdom of living in balance with the natural world that we have much to learn from.
The Conference of People assemblies are open to all citizens to attend Monday to Friday at 1:00pm at “Speakers Corner” on the intersections of Bram Fischer and Walnut Streets, across the way from the Hilton Hotel/ICC.Updated information (including rain plans) will be broadcast on this site as well as www.occupycop17.org
Picture Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69167123@N04/
#cop17act [for direct action stuff]