Highlights of Day 6 at COP21
• After huge public pressure, Canada advocates to keep the rights of indigenous peoples and a just transition in the COP21 draft agreement. But they’re still not bringing real long-term ambition to the table
• The CYD joins in the People’s Climate Summit!
What’s the latest with the Paris Agreement negotiations?
On Saturday, the official first draft of the Paris Agreement was approved, meaning it will be passed to country’s ministers to debate next week. This is the text that has been in preparation and hot dissent all week, and as we move into week 2 most of it is still in brackets [meaning it is still a point of contention up for debate].
Canada’s contributions to the document so far have been a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde situation. On the Dr. Jekyll side, Canada has ceded to grassroots to advocate for the inclusion of human rights, indigenous rights, and reference to a just transition in the operative (binding) section of the text.
We need our government to fight for these things because other countries, including Saudi Arabia, want to cut out these words. They would go in the preamble instead, making them an optional rather than binding part of the Paris Agreement. We joined global youth in a protest demanding that human rights remain a core, binding part of the treaty.
On the Mr. Hyde side of things, we’ve also been watching closely as Canada has argued against including the rights of occupied peoples in the text, failed to bring clear long-term commitments to the table, and watering down how legally binding the agreement will be. As much as we’re excited that Justin Trudeau is not Stephen Harper, we can’t afford to hold illusions that the new Canadian government is even close to being in line with the demands of Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, and youth.
As they debate the language of this agreement, world leaders have kept all of the elements critical to a [just, ambitious and binding] agreement in brackets, and none of us, let alone the most affected, can afford that.
The latest from our government
At yesterday’s daily briefing with Canadian negotiators, we kept the heat on our government about the huge gap between Canada’s fossil fuel subsidy spending and our climate finance commitments. We are also pleased to report that, when we sat down again with the Environment and Climate Change Minister’s staff, the meeting involved far more actual listening and far less mansplaining.
And finally, look! Minister McKenna must be following our news coverage, because she just publicly committed to meeting with us upon her return to Paris:
The People’s Climate Summit
As world leaders bicker about the future of our entire planet, a parallel People’s Climate Summit is held to generate meaningful solutions. Ben attended a workshop by environmental justice organizers at the Our Power Coalition. He heard stories about challenging urban planning departments in San Francisco to a layout of the environmental justice framework of action pathways listed here:
1. End the bad (e.g. divest now)
2. Build the new (agro-ecology)
3. Organize to change the rules (environmental rights)
4. Organize to move resources (reinvesting in frontline communities)
5. Organize to change the story (Fijian Island warriors reframing that “we are not drowning, we are fighting”)
6. Build a movement of movements (cross movement organizing)
Katie attended the third International Tribunal on the Rights of Mother Nature. The tribunal featured internationally renowned lawyers and leaders who heard emblematic environmental violations from experts, frontline and Indigenous people from around the world. Godwin Ojo, who the CYD has worked with in the past, brought forward a case against Shell who have perpetrated grave human rights violations. Ojo said Shell’s actions are ecocide, genocide and state oppression. He fired people up leading a mic check “keep oil in the soil, keep coal in the hole, keep tar sands in the sand”.
Eriel Deranger followed Ojo. She is from Treaty 8 Terriroty, and was bringing a case forward against every international corporation in the world, which all have a stake in Canada’s tar sands. She showed photos of stripped lands and deformed fish, all Indigenous Rights and treaty violations, sending a hush over the crowd.
• CBC News: “Canada’s youth call out Justin Trudeau before the world’s cameras” featuring Aleah Loney, Atiya Jaffar and Erica Violet Lee.
– The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21
PS. The negotiations will be heating up this coming week, as government leaders fly back in to Paris to finalize the agreement. If you don’t want to miss any of the action, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.