Cochabamba: First impressions from Ana Agostino

Short report on the 'People's World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth', held in Cochabamba, and on the contribution of the GCAP Feminist Task Force (FTF) called 'Women's Tribunals on Climate Change'. 

by Ana Agostino

Yesterday was the opening session of the People's World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth here in Cochabamba. We arrived Monday night and Tuesday morning we went directly to the place for registration and we found a very long queue. The fact is that the number of participants is much higher than expected. They are talking about 20,000 participants from all over the world, though of course the majority of participants are from Bolivia and Latin America. We arrived at the stadium just on time for Evo Morales' speech during the opening ceremony, in a packed and very colourful stadium. The self organized activities and the panel started in the afternoon.

There are many activities and all of them registered a high number of participants. Besides that, there is the work of the 17 working groups that started working online several weeks ago and met face to face these days. Today the conclusions of all these groups will be presented. There is an 18th group, outside the programme, formed to look at the environmental problems in Bolivia itself. There have been some difficulties with this group as it has not been allowed to operate as one of the groups of the conference.

Let me tell you now about our activities, which went very well and were also very well attended. As GCAP, yesterday we presented two activities. The first one was our activity as Feminist Task Force (FTF) called 'Women's Tribunals on Climate Change'. The activity from GCAP was called 'Launching of the coalition of communities affected by climate change'. We started our FTF activity with the video prepared by Rosa which summarizes the seven tribunals, and I put together a power point with the main problems identified at these seven tribunals, why they affect women in a differentiated way, and which are the solutions suggested. After that Anita Nayar from DAWN made an overall presentation of the structural causes of climate change from a feminist perspective. The last presentation was made by Gabriela Segura Cárdenas, from GCAP Mexico, who talked about the experience of the tribunal in Mexico with special emphasis on the situation of women. Fiounala Cregan, from the GCAP Secretariat, was the facilitator.

A very interesting debate followed. Participants shared several testimonies which reinforce our view on the link between gender and climate change, and they also highlighted the importance of our event, especially as the issue of gender is almost absent from the conference. A Bolivian TV station interviewed me as they were very interested in the topic, precisely because it did not have much coverage in the conference. The launching of the climatic communities was also well attended and there were testimonies from Chile, Peru and Bolivia. The conference closes tomorrow and I will try to share with you the main conclusions.

Read the final statement of the conference (English version)

Ana Agostino is a member of the Editorial Board of Development and is co-ordinating, together with the Academy of Educational Development (AED), the journal issue 53.4 'Education for Transformation'. Ana works for the International Council for Adult Education, a Uruguay-based global network of adult learners and educators who promote the use of adult learning as a tool for informed participation of people and sustainable development. She is also a member of the GCAP Global Council and the facilitator for the Feminist Task Force (FTF).