KATHMANDU DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CRISIS

Adopted in the South Asia Regional Conference on Climate Change

1-2 January 2011

 

We the representatives farmers’ organisations, political organizations and parties, civil society organizations and non-government organizations from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal having gathered at Katmandu on 1st and 2nd January 2011, with the objective of discussing multiple impacts of climate change including its impact on food sovereignty in the South Asia express our deepest concern over the vulnerability of the region to climate change, devastating impacts of climate change on lives, food sovereignty, culture of people and especially marginalized people and women, and voice our dissent in the strongest possible manner on the outcomes of ongoing UNFCCC negotiations, and lament lack of serious and effective policies and steps of our National governments to tackle this climate crisis. We also call upon UNFCCC, national governments in South Asia and other developing countries, regional Institutions like SAARC, and the civil society to lead expedited efforts to intensify the struggle for seeking pro people solutions to this crisis, based upon the principles of common but differentiated responsibility, climate equity and justice and other principles enshrined in international human rights covenants including UNFCCC, and human rights based approach to development.

We express our grave concern on climate change impacts in South Asia, that it is already having serious impacts especially on our food sovereignty. South Asia is the region of world highest number i.e., 40 % of poor population, and is also highly conflict torn region. Though the regional per capita emission of South Asia is around 0.2 to 10 tons; South Asia is the worse victim of climate impact. According to the IPCC one third of Bangladesh and all most all coastal area of India will be lost due to sea rise. Himalayan glaciers has the probability to complete meltdown, which will create severe drinking water crisis over the entire region. Due to temperature rise and climate variability there will be 35 to 40 % crop loss especially in rain fed regions. Displacement of more than 50 million people mostly farmers and poor is also predicted. Economies of the almost all the countries will be severely affected slowing down the rate of growth and equitable development in the region. 

We have already observed the impacts in recent (2010) Pakistan floods, which affected all most half of the country and 20 million people and their life and livelihood. Repeated cyclones in Bangladesh recently (cyclone Aila in 2007 and Sidr in 2009) caused loss of 4500 lives and damages amounting to $ 3 billions. We stand in solidarity to the people whose lives have been devastated in these calamities.

We have also observed challenges presented by the climate crisis to the highly stressed food sovereignty situation in the region,. Which will not only affect the region but the entire world. Bangladesh is a major importing country, while Nepal, India and Pakistan are also hardly food self sufficient. Internally in South Asia, food distribution is also unequal, commensurate to the enhancing trend of income disparity, a large (not less then 30 to 40% of the population) number of population depends upon subsidized food supply or by safety net programs. We also observed that how climate change is impacting farmers and farming in the form of rise in temperature, reduction in rainfall and number of rainy days, salinization of soil and water, reduced farm outputs and income, and decrease in production of food, fodder and feed.

We also express our strongest resentment on the inadequate and unbalanced outcomes of the UNFCCC process highly favoring the developed countries and carbon capitalism, and undermining the rights of developing countries, least developed countries and Small island nations. We strongly resist the diversion of the negotiations away from the principles enshrined in the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol in the COP 15 and COP 16, and also condemn the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreement and developing countries submitting to the capitalist and neo-liberal forces.

We call upon our South Asian leaders to take a common position in next UNFCCC, CoP 17, in view of the grave impacts of climate change in the region and demand;

  1. Genuine and serious efforts from the developed countries to prevent rise of temperature below 1.5 DC and CO2 content below 350 ppm.
  2. Enhanced emission reduction commitments from Annex 1 countries up to 25-40%, by 2020  ( on the basis on 1990 emissions)
  3. Recognition of the historical role of Annex 1 countries in bringing world to this crisis and payment of Carbon Debt of at least $ 100 billions per year.
  4. Abolition of all market based mechanisms, which is highly unjust, capitalist and force developing countries to do all mitigation efforts, while developed countries continue to pollute and further encroach atmospheric space.
  5. Transfer of green technology to developing countries without IPR provisions, so that developing countries can benefit from replication and utilization of these technologies.
  6. All climate financing should be in form grant, and which should be additional to the already committed 0.7 % of GDP as aid to the developing countries.
  7. Oppose all sort of involvement of international finance institution (IFI) i.e., World Bank and Asian Development Bank involvement in climate finance.
  8. Respect for the Rights of Mother Earth, which has been a long standing tradition in the South Asian region, and other demands in the declaration of the world peoples Conference on the Rights Of Mother earth and Climate Change held at Bolivia. 
  9. Develop a new UN protocol for the climate forced migrants as universal natural person that the developed countries have to take responsibilities of them in accepting their rights to life, shelter, livelihood in view of UNHRD.

We also urge upon our South Asian leaders,;

  1. Respect and recognize that climate change is a regional issue and develop solidarity amongs south Asian countries and they must come up common minimum regional plan in next Maldives SAARC summit, to be held in November 2011
  2. SAARC should take initiative to prepare a study on Assessing on climate impacts in the region, and should prepare Common Agriculture Perspective Plan 2020 in participatory manner looking at the road map for devising common strategy to ensure food sovereignty in the region. 
  3. Redefine the role and definition of SAARC Food Bank in view of the principles that SAARC food bank is for South Asian hungry people. 
  4. SAARC should seriously consider on constitution of promotion and preservation of South Asian Seed Bank, as preventing commercialization and coropratization of our local seeds. And as to support national level effort to promote and preservation of our seeds and also to support our community effort in this regard.
  5. As South Asian countries share common rivers and where most of the those river source is in Himalayan glaciers, SAARC leaders must come up with common water source sharing and preservation plan so it will facilitate or our life line i.e., free water for life and livelihood in South Asia.
  6. To immediately implement the declarations issued in the 16th SAARC Summit ……. 

We also call upon our national governments in our South Asian regions to take steps to strengthen our national climate resilience and adaptation capacities including;

  • To have a strategic response and action plan based on climate impact assessment done by our national scientists and including the concerns of climate victims, farmers, laborers, and social movements. The plan must be the part of national long term development plan updated regularly.
  • To have constitutional protection to the right of food sovereignty, including rights to food and employment, tillers right to lands, rights for small farmers and share croppers, forest community has rights over forest resources, fisher folk has right over of common water or fishing source, no commercialization of natural resources which will endanger community who is already protecting and whose livelihood depend upon the recycling of those natural resource).
  • Increase public investment in agriculture and strengthen agricultural infrastructure and support services and focusing on preservation and promotion of local seeds system and rights of the small holders and marginal farmers and oppose corporatization of agriculture. 

We also call upon our fellow movements, farmers and labors organizations, civil society organizations to

  • Protest and have wider solidarity against neo-liberal forces and carbon capitalism
  • To promote pro farmer and pro poor alternative action researches, especially in respect of sustainable natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. 
  • We believe it is the path to uphold the rights of our mother earth and simultaneously ensuring equity and justice in our societies.