World Social Forum Opens | An Urgent Need and Unique Opportunity to Revisit Article 6 of WSF Charter

Unique Opportunity to Influence Global Climate Change Policy in the Aftermath of Cop15 Failure

Joan Russow – Global Compliance Research Project
Cory Morningstar – Canadians for Action on Climate Change

In January 25th to 30th, 2001, the first World Social Forum (WSF) drafted a Charter. In 2010, the tenth Anniversary of the World Social Forum is taking place from January 25th–29th, 2010 in Porto Alegre Brazil. In the Charter, the participants agreed in Article 6 of the Charter:
“….The participants in the Forum shall not be called on to take decisions as a body, whether by vote or acclamation, on declarations or proposals for action that would commit all, or the majority, of them and that propose to be taken as establishing positions of the Forum as a body. It thus does not constitute a locus of power to be disputed by the participants in its meetings, nor does it intend to constitute the only option for interrelation and action by the organizations and movements that participate in it.”

Is this provision preventing the WSF from playing a powerful advocate role?

The WSF is a globally respected forum. The WSF voice needs to be present and prominent in international conferences, summits, etc. otherwise, compromising international NGOs will undermine any strong resolve that the WSF forum has “to oppose neoliberalism and domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and [WSF] is committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Humankind and between it and the Earth.” (Article 1)

For example, at COP15 in Copenhagen, there were many NGOs in and out of the conference hall, and undoubtedly many organizations that have been attending WSF over the years. Yet the principal voice that was heard was TckTckTck which had questionable association, through the same branding, with public relations firms HAVAS and EURO RSCG, and with the PR firms corporate clients such as EDF, and GDF Suez (nuclear), and such as Adventis and Novartis (Biotech firms involved with Genetic engineering and biofuels).

It was clear at COP 15, that it was the developing states that were leading the way, and the most prominent NGOs often advocated less than the developing states were advancing. While maintaining its decision to not be partisan, the WSF, at the 2009 Forum, could have voted on a strong statement that would have supported the solutions that need to be made to address the global urgency. This Declaration could have been used to support the developing states that were willing to be bold. Now, in 2010, there is the opportunity, to set up a mechanism to pass a declaration which would include, as a minimum, the following:

We affirm that
The UNFCCC is ratified by 194 countries – representing near universal membership – it therefore commands near universal support and its legitimacy is unquestioned. The UNFCCC stated: “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere must be at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. This level equates to a target of below 1°C, which is the point at which global systems on land, water and air will be so affected as to create vicious feedback cycles and destabilize many ecosystems and human societies.

and that
Because of the global urgency, there must be the political will to strive to contain the rise in temperature to less than 1°C above pre-industrial levels, and the parts per million to 300 ppm. Strict time frames must be imposed, so that overall global emissions will begin to be reversed as of 2010. There must be a global target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2015, 50% below by 2020, 75% by 2030, 85% by 2040 and 100% below by 2050, while adhering to the precautionary principle, and differentiated responsibility principle [the emission debt owed
by Developed countries to developing countries has to be seriously addressed] as well as the rights of future generations.

and developed country parties agree to acknowledge their emissions debt to developing countries, to cancel their existing debt of developing countries, to implement the long-standing obligation of .7% of GDP for overseas development, to ensure new funding for climate change reparation. In addition, developed country parties will reallocate military expenses.

This declaration would be seen as a global consensus of solidarity for the upcoming Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights to be held in Bolivia, from April 19 to April 22. This declaration would also be considered an essential and critically needed affirmation of support for subsequent COP16 Conference to be held in Mexico City.


~ by Cory Morningstar on January 25, 2010.

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