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Finalizing the Working Meetings: Climate crisis, energy transition and mining extractivism in Latin America

Declaration of the Regional Gathering: Climate Crisis, Energy Transition and Mining Extractivism in Latin America, September 26-28, Santiago, Chile

Kirsten Francescone Latin America Program Coordinator Kirsten Francescone works to support communities, organizations, and networks in the region struggling with mining conflicts.

Statement leading up to the COP25 in Santiago de Chile (now relocated to Madrid, Spain)

Faced with the undeniable climate crisis and the false solutions proposed by multilateral spaces which have been co-opted by the transnational business sector and supported by governments, the Regional Gathering: Climate crisis, energy transition and mining extractivism in Latin America was held from September 26 to 28 in Santiago de Chile. The meeting was organized by the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OLCA), the Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America (OCMAL) together with War on Want and Mining Watch Canada.

Considering

That national and transnational companies and governments, mainly of the industrialized North, are those truly responsible for environmental breakdown due to their extractive activities in search of capitalist accumulation and the promotion of consumerism.

That the current discourse around the climate crisis places the blame on individual responsibility, thereby distracting the attention from those most responsible.

That the peoples, communities and organizations that resist these extractive activities in defense of life, water and territories are stigmatized, repressed, criminalized and murdered.

That companies and extractivist governments are the ones who commit true criminal acts against all forms of life, violating Human Rights and the Rights of Nature.

That mining extractivism in all its phases causes ecocide and ethnocide in the different territories where it operates.  

That hidden behind the discourse of the 'energy transition' is a program of economic growth for the Global North which threatens to exponentially increase sacrifice zones under the auspices of guaranteeing the supply of minerals for so-called 'green' technologies. This will come at the cost of the exploitation of our territories and communities, all while intensifying the ecological crisis.  

That the recent panic surrounding the climate crisis in the Global North can only ever be understood in the context of the struggles present in our urban and rural communities of the Global South, who have been resisting the intersecting social and ecological crises since the inception of colonialism. This panic cannot impose false solutions or reproduce extractivism.

That the climate crisis, as part of an ecological crisis, is a condition of the capitalist world development model.

We denounce

Any attempt by mining companies to benefit from the climate crisis using deceptive initiatives such as: “Inclusive Tailings”, ‘adoption’ of environmental liabilities, Responsible Mining, Green Mining, Sustainable Mining, Ecological Mining, Clean Mining, Climate Smart Mining, Future Smart Mining, offsetting mechanisms for social and environmental damages, Green Economy and any other concept that seeks to wash its image or perpetuate impunity.

The actions of governments and corporations that dismember, divide, privatize, auction-off  and commercialize nature and our territories to turn them into resources, merchandise or environmental services.  

Visions of a transition which reproduce extractivist capitalism, including those focused on the nationalization of minerals and oil and do not guarantee structural changes.

Any appropriation of local knowledge, expertise and wisdom by mining companies and governments to encourage extractive activities. 

That extractivist companies in addition to exploiting the environment also engage in widespread corruption, eliminating trust in public institutions and the functioning of the judicial system.

That to date, the “COPs” have failed to provide real solutions to address climate injustice and inequality caused by predatory extractivism. Instead they have, under the pressure of Northern countries, made decisions in the interests of the economic model which is responsible for the ecological and climate crisis.

We recognize

That the strength to face this crisis lies with young people, women, communities and organizations, movements and territories.  

That our anti-capitalist struggle is also a decolonial, anti-patriarchal and anti-racist struggle.

That the true knowledge-keepers of territories are those who have historically inhabited them. That nature is a subject of rights and recognition of this is a global necessity.  

The self-determination of peoples to resist and say "no" to the invasion of mining companies in their territories.

We will fight

So that ecological justice emerges from the territories where the processes to protect life, water, ecosystems and Mother Earth are increasingly threatened and impacted by predatory extractivist capitalism.  

To strengthen and respect the autonomy of communities and their organizations to define solutions in the framework of justice and equity based on nature, the planet and humanity.

For the respect of the Indigenous peoples, peasants and other communities, who are the guardians of their territories.  

To cease the auctioning of mining and oil concessions in our territories.   

Alongside frontline resistance to mega-mining and processes which seek mining-bans.

To ensure that mining companies which have benefited from the looting of nature are fully liable for mine-closure processes, and that integral repair of the territory arises from collective and participatory processes led by affected communities.

So that environmental catastrophes, pollution, murders and any other violation in territories affected by mining companies are recognized for what they are: crimes. It is urgent to develop binding policies and mechanisms to confront the generalized impunity enjoyed by companies, their owners, their executives and their financial centers.

To strengthen organizations and movements that fight in defense of the territories.

Develop regional solidarity and agreements to ensure food, energy and economic sovereignty.

To defend water in all its states as a source of life.

To sow, celebrate and strengthen territories free of mining.

Signatories:

  • Asamblea en Defensa del Elki (Chile/Elqui)
  • Acción Ecológica (Ecuador/Quito)
  • Asamblea por el Agua del Guasco Alto (Chile/Huasco)
  • Belén dice NO a la minería (Chile/Arica)
  • CENSAT Agua Viva (Colombia/Bogotá)
  • Centro de Documentación e Información Bolivia (CEDIB) (Bolivia/Cochabamba)
  • Centro de Investigación sobre Inversión y Comercio (CEICOM) (El Salvador/ San Salvador)
  • Centro Ecológico Churque (Chile/Santiago/Lo Barnechea)
  • Codemaa (Chile/Atacama)
  • Comunidad Indígena Diaguita Patay Co (Chile/Huasco)
  • CooperAcción (Perú/Lima)
  • Coordinadora Penco-Lirquén (Chile/Penco-Lirquén)
  • Coordinadora por la Defensa del Río Loa y la Madre Tierra (Chile/Calama)
  • Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) (Argentina/Buenos Aires)
  • London Mining Network (Reino Unido/Londres)
  • Mega Comunal de Turismo Monte Patria y Limarí (Chile/Monte Patria - Limarí)
  • MiningWatch Canada (Canadá/Ottawa)
  • Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina (OCMAL) (Chile/Santiago)
  • Observatorio Conflictos Mineros de Zacatecas (OCMZAC) (México/Zacatecas)
  • Observatorio de Ecología Política de Venezuela (OEPV) (Venezuela/Caracas)
  • Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA) (Chile/Santiago)
  • Observatorio Plurinacional de Salares Andinos (OPSA) (Chile/Atacama)
  • Putaendo Resiste (Chile/Putaendo)
  • Red de Afectados por la Vale (Brasil/Minas Gerais, Brumadinho)
  • Red de Mujeres El Loa (Chile/Calama)
  • War on Want (Reino Unido/Londres)