On January 8, Bolivian President Evo Morales sent out an invitation to the world to join him in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from April 20-22, for the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights.
Mr. Morales was one of several leaders who refused to sign the Copenhagen climate change deal in December – arguing that the views of developing countries were largely ignored – and he proposed the Cochabamba meeting to “Give a voice to the world’s poorest people – those most affected by climate change – and to make governments more aware of their plight.”
The “grassroots alternative” meeting will have no direct bearing on the United Nations (UN) climate talks, but President Morales was very clear about the meeting’s objectives in his invitation to the “peoples of the world, social movements and Mother Earth’s defenders, scientists, academics, lawyers and governments that want to work with their citizens.” Mr. Morales wants to use this week’s talks to “Propose a world referendum to ask up to two billion people their views on how to tackle climate change,” and to “Analyze and develop an action plan to advance the establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal,” among other goals.
Last year, the UN backed a proposal by Mr Morales to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day, and on Thursday the meeting will celebrate the rights of the Andean divinity Pachamama, or Mother Earth. [BBC]