BOLIVIA: MOTHER EARTH AND THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH IN RIO+ 20 DEBATE

By René Orellana Halkyer, Bolivia governmental delegation, UN

The Bolivian delegation has been working hard for several months in the inclusion of the Mother Earth thematic in the G77+China text. A first version, that we can call the zero version of the G77+China, was a document of this group that came to light in November 2011. This version did not include all the key aspects of the Bolivian proposal or that of ALBA, many of them emerging from the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth held in Cochabamba (Bolivia); but over the months, as part of a process of proposition and cooperation with all countries of the G77 + China we were able to include several strategic issues in the construction process of a document that changes the worlds view of nature and development.

It is important to note that the negotiations have not concluded and there are no rigid rules that would impede to include further texts. Thus, Bolivia continues to introduce texts as the process carries on as we approach June 2012, month of the Rio+20 conference. It is also important to express that is essential to maintain the unity of the G77 + China to achieve greater impact, an alliance that is central to Bolivia and to developing countries.

Topics already included in the document of G77 + China

Among the many relevant paragraphs included in the G77 + China text we find it pertinent to exemplify the relevance of: the human right to water; harmony with nature; the holistic approach; food security as a goal in this historical period; recognition of the role of indigenous peoples in seed conservation, agro-biodiversity and the environment, as well as respect and strengthening of their rights; recognition of the high vulnerability of the mountains to climate change and the fact that these are home to indigenous peoples, threatening their survival; a deep reform of the global financial architecture; transformation of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; recognition and respect of the existence of different models, visions, policies and tools, as defined by the sovereignty of each country; recognition that economic growth strategies that are market-based are insufficient and do not guarantee or ensure equitable economic growth and do not solve the problems of poverty, health, education, employment; in short.

G77 + China includes in its proposal texts on Mother Earth

With respect to Mother Earth, from mid-April 2012, Bolivia, with the allied countries of the ALBA, have managed to position the topic having got the approval of a proposal by the G77 + China recognizing that the most important challenges towards sustainable development are poverty eradication, achieving the right to development, promoting a life in harmony with nature, and taking into account the need for a more holistic approach to sustainable development.

On the other hand, the document reaffirms the need to promote sustainable integrated management of natural resources and ecosystems that ensure economic growth while allowing ecosystem restoration, regeneration and adaptation of the same. In this context, the concept of Mother Earth reaffirms the conception of our planet and nature to the countries that ratify this text, demonstrating a deeper sense of interdependence between humans, other species of life and the planet we all inhabit.

Moreover, the G77 + China proposition establishes that we are aware that the Earth and its ecosystems are our home and we are convinced that in order to strike a fair balance between the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.

Finally, the document establishes that natural cycles of the Earth that produce life on the planet should be safeguarded. Development should occur in the context of the regeneration cycles of the earth.
These texts (listed in paragraph 71bis as well as those proposed by Bolivia) were presented at the plenary meeting on the 25th of January by the coordination of the G77 + China as a proposal for the whole group.

Bolivia has several paragraphs on Mother Earth in the section of Harmony with Nature

In addition to the proposal of the G77 + China, Bolivia, in its national capacity, presented a proposal supported by Ecuador expressing that we are aware that Mother Earth is a living system with limited resources, and that we are concerned about the deterioration of Mother Earth today.
Given this context, the second paragraph states that we are committed, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, to take action to defend our home and source of life, and therefore, we recognize the rights of Mother Earth as an instrument for achieving Living Well and Harmony with Nature, and citing among others the following rights of Mother Earth: the right to life, right to regenerate bio-capacity, the right to continue vital cycles and processes, among them, the water cycle, the right to maintain the diversity of its components, to be free from contamination or pollution, and the right to be restored from the damage caused on to her.

Conclusion: Mother Earth figures in negotiating documents of Rio +20

In conclusion, the G77 + China have submitted a proposal that mentions the rights of Mother Earth with a formulation that highlights their importance and Bolivia has also done the same in negotiating texts.
The texts of Bolivia and the G77 + China on Mother Earth are already included in the compilation that will surely be made available on the 25th of April, 2

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