Thursday, December 12, 2019

UNFCCC closes the door literally on civil society demanding climate justice at COP25

Multiple civil society organisations including indigenous and environmental groups co-ordinated a protest outside the main Plenary - Baker Room this afternoon, to protest the lack of action during this COP on multiple fronts, and the continuing attack on the space the civil society. The intention was to protest peacefully for 30 minutes outside Plenary Baker.

The protest was noisy, with chanting and singing. A few banners and small paper and cardboard signs. Security cordoned off the front of the plenary. It was a bit of a crush. and some people sat down. After5 about 20 miniues security pushed people to a rollerdoor to the outside, and then cordoned the door for several minutes before closing it. Locking all those people outside, many without their coats or bags, in the Madrid winter weather.

After some time these people, locked out of the facility walked around to the front of the venue.

UNFCCC are preventing any press or observers into the conference venue, even if they were not involved in the protest. People let out on press and observer passes are likely to be prevented entry for the rest of today. They are threatening to debadge the people locked outside (although how they will do this, to separate them from other people is anyone's guess)

During the first week the Climate Action network were continually denied entry to hand out their newsletter, ECO within the venue, and even hassled when handing it out outside the venue.

Fossil of the Day was prevented from being held on the first day of COP due to 'security reason' and the same reason was put firward on the Tuesday of week two with CAN forced to push the issue strongly to ensure the Fossil of the Day awards event was allowed to occurr. This event has been held for 20 years without any incident.

Reducing civil society space deflects energy from attention on negotiations to defending our voice in the COP. Civil society doesn't have the advertising revenue of the corporates with their corporate promotions and advertising, and our voices compete for attention with the business leaders, especially from Fossil Fuel interests, that attend the COP and mix with delegations and ministers.

NGO action outside main plenary #cop25. Impromptu action outside plenary where UN Sec Gen speaking. People are calling for action, the conference tag is #timeforaction, but security want to shut down calls for climate justice and ambition from civil society.

Part One:

Part Two:

Statement by Civil Society Organisations

Joint CSO Statement from COP25 —
UNFCCC de-badges civil society engaged in peaceful protest, removing access to all Observers, in unprecedented crackdown on dissent.

Millions of people took to the streets this year to demand climate action. Led by our youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, workers and climate justice movements, all of civil society made our voices heard like never before and awakened the world to the climate emergency.

Now our voices are being silenced. Hundreds of us demonstrated inside the halls of COP25 today in Madrid — not to block progress, but to drive it forward. Our motto was, “Step up, pay up.” It was a message to the rich industrialized countries who refuse to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and human rights law to provide finance to support communities suffering from increasingly severe disasters. It was a message to the corporate polluters, who roam these halls attempting to profit from the world’s suffering with their false solutions to climate change rather than making a transition away from a fossil fuel economy and paying for the damage they’ve done.

Instead of kicking out these polluters, the UNFCCC 25th Conferences of the Parties (COP25) kicked out the people. Instead of listening to our voices, they attempted to silence us. We were pushed, bullied, and touched without our consent. We were driven out of the negotiating halls, told that we can take our action outside as they raised an enormous metal door and herded us out. We weren’t advised to the intentions of the UN security to take our badges. We stood out in the cold, many without our jackets and coats as we later watched the enormous metal door lock us out in the cold. An Indigenous woman was not allowed to go back inside to feed her baby.

This has never happened before in 25 years of negotiations. Yet, there could be no better symbol of this crisis we face. People around the world are crying out for justice, and fighting oppression, while those in power attempt to shut us out. They pay us lip service, thanking us for our action, but when the time comes to act, they slam the door in our face while providing a platform to polluters. The UN and countries want to recognize the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples but chose not to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is a pattern that takes place around the world, from Chile to the halls of COP25, to every place where local communities and Indigenous Peoples are fighting for their rights and their future.

We will not back down. We demand full access for civil society, the people of the world, to these negotiations and all international processes. We demand that our voices be heard.

The people united will never be defeated!


Nathan Thanki (Climate Justice Now!)
Tasneem Essop (CAN International)
Bert de Wel (International Trade Union Confederation)
Bridget Burns (Women & Gender Constituency)
Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network / Advisory Member of the Indigena Minga-Madrid)

Civil Society Organisations (alphabetical) – only names of organisations
Amnesty International
Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt & Development
CCFD-Terre Solidaire
Climate Action Network South Asia
Climate Reality Project
Corporate Accountability
Ecologistas en Acciรณn
Friends of the Earth Bulgaria
Friends of the Earth International
Greenpeace International
Indigenous Environment Network
Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense
La Ruta del Clima
Oil Change International
Union of Concerned Scientists

Discussions were held between constituencies and the UNFCCC during the night. A negotiated settlement was worked out for all those that participated in the action and ended up on the outside to be let back in to the rest of the conference. Those people who were physically debadged will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Read the statement.

Source: Press release December 11.

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