Asia: “Regain momentum in the fight against climate change”

Burning of rice residues after
harvest in Punjab, India. (Photo:
Neil Palmer/CIAT/Flickr/CC)

At least 25 Asian and international civil society organizations are calling to “act swiftly” to avoid “the impending disaster” and to “regain our momentum and defeat the system by targeting the source” of the global environmental crisis. Some of the groups that signed the appeal are the Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (Monlar, Sri Lanka), La Via Campesina and Focus on the Global South.

The organizations called on people’s organizations, civil society and activists participate on an open meeting of social movements to discuss the building of solidarity between struggles around the world that will take place in Bangkok on August 31.

The civil society organizations’ statement reads as follows

Building solidarity and connecting our struggles to change the system

Humans and nature are under attack. The endless growth model has pushed the planet to its limits. Governments are making people pay for the excesses of banks and transnational corporations through more and more severe austerity measures.

There are now 1 billion people living in hunger. There are now climate migrants and refugees.

Already, we are witnessing a war over who controls the remaining resources on the planet – land, water, forests, and, biodiversity. As the earth becomes hotter and the system continues to implode, things will only get worse.

We need to act and act swiftly if we are to avoid this impending disaster. We need regain our momentum and defeat the system by targeting the source. We need to unify our different struggles if we want to succeed in our fight for our future.

Disastrous Climate Deals

The agreements that came out of Cancún (2010) and Durban (2011) have not only moved so far away from getting developed countries to pay for their historical responsibility, they have also moved in the opposite direction of the original goal of addressing climate change and preventing the world descending into climate chaos.

Instead, these deals have agreed to such little cuts of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) until 2020, that calculations have shown, this will lead to an increase in the global temperature from 4 to 8 degrees centigrade. Couple this with the disastrous results of Rio+20 that pushes for the “green economy” or a new way of privatizing nature and rebranding capitalism, then, you really have a future too bleak to imagine.

The impacts of climate change are real and are happening now. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate; small islands are slowly being reclaimed by oceans; natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more destructive; and the extremities of weather patterns, floods, and droughts are increasingly more difficult to predict and prepare for.

There are now climate migrants and refugees, moving to flee from the devastation. There are deaths. Both humans and animals are dying in the hundreds and thousands. There are now 350,000 humans dead because of climate change.

There is no shortage of examples around the world, to illustrate the gravity of the situation. In Southeast Asia alone, more than 1 million hectares of rice land, from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines, were inundated with floods and typhoons, wiping out more than 100,000 metric tons of rice crops.

A Worsening Global Crisis

This is also happening in the context of a global crisis, the worst since the Global Depression in the 1930′s. The multiple crises of food, jobs, livelihood, climate, biodiversity, energy, and finance, coupled with the staggering numbers of worsening poverty, inequality, hunger and environmental destruction all stand testament to the destruction that capitalism and the neoliberal policies have wrought.

The waves of financial crises that have hit the US and Europe, will soon hit Asia. Globalization has made it possible to spread the ills of neoliberalism faster.

But the people are paying dearly for this failed neoliberal project – the numbers are staggering – of people unemployed, living in poverty, living in hunger, landless, and with no access to healthcare and other social services.

Our Moment, Our Future

The climate talks are coming to Bangkok this August 2012 and we can use this moment to reimagine our struggles and connect them in order to not only fight against the system but to begin to change the system.

Because our struggles against climate change, land grabbing, financial speculation, free trade and investment agreements, austerity measures, and, job and wage cuts, are all connected and if we fight together, the potential of our collective strength is staggering.

Bangkok is also an important venue to express our solidarity with the Thai social movements and activists who are being criminalized and punished for their fight against climate change.

We call on all social movements, people’s organizations, civil society and activists to come to Bangkok to join us in actions, activities and most importantly for a discussion on August 31, 2012, Friday: An open meeting of social movements to discuss the building of solidarity between struggles around the world.

How can we link and better articulate our struggles in order to confront and to discuss this proposed agenda:

1. Analyze what is happening with social struggles in the world (Spain, Greece, USA, Canada, Latin America etc.) and how we can express our solidarity and articulate our struggle.

2. What is happening in relation to climate change and the negotiations at the UN level and how social movements in Asia and around the world should address this issue.

3. Agree on a road map to build the articulation of social movements around the world (visits, solidarity statements, global action during or before Qatar COP-18, communication strategy, etc.)

4. Express our support and solidarity to farmers and activist that are being criminalized because of their struggle against climate change, in particular the case of Thailand.

We hope that this will be a step forward in our struggle to reclaim our future.

There will be other activities, press conferences, actions and mobilizations around these days organized by the Thai Working Group for Climate Justice, Jubilee South-APMDDD, La Via Campesina, Focus on the Global South and others.

For those who are interested in attending this meeting, please contact Indra Lubis and Mary Lou Malig of La Via Campesina at or at

Signed by (as of August 1):

Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Philippines
Alliance of Progressive Labor, Philippines
All Nepal’s Peasants’ Federation
Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Philippines
Asia Pacific Network on Food Sovereignty
Bangladesh Krishok Federation
Bhartiya Kisan Union, BKU, India
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Philippines
Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Indonesian Political Economy Association (AEPI)
Kilusang Mangingisda (Fisherfolk Movement-Philippines)
Koalisi Anti-Utang, Indonesia
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, India
La Via Campesina
Migrant Forum in Asia
MONLAR, Sri Lanka
Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippines
Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI)
Sintesa Foundation, Indonesia
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM)
Thai Working Group for Climate Justice, Thailand

La Via Campesina: