un negotiations

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In 2015, I did a series of cartoons about the 21st climate summit in Paris (COP21) when over 200 nations convened to negotiate a global climate treaty. Today, we’ll learn if the agreement that was negotiated will be honored based on the whim of one administration. 

CITIES MOST VULNERABLE TO SEA-LEVEL RISE

When UN climate negotiators meet for summit talks this month, there will be a new figure on the table: 3C. Until now, global efforts such as the Paris climate agreement have tried to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels. However, with latest projections pointing to an increase of 3.2C by 2100, these goals seem to be slipping out of reach.

One of the biggest resulting threats to cities around the world is sea-level rise, caused by the expansion of water at higher temperatures and melting ice sheets on the north and south poles. Scientists at the non-profit organisation Climate Central estimate that 275 million people worldwide live in areas that will eventually be flooded at 3C of global warming.

The regional impact of these changes is highly uneven, with four out of five people affected living in Asia. Here are some the most vulnerable global cities in terms of the number of residents like to be flooded:

  • Shanghai, China:  17.5 million people to be flooded
  • Osaka, Japan: 5.2 million people affected

  • Alexandria, Egypt: 3 million people to be flooded

  • Miami, US:  2.7 million people to be flooded

  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:  1.8 million people to be flooded

Source:  The Guardian (3 November 2017)

Corbyn demands Government acts to end suffering of the Yemeni people

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has today (Monday) written to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding her Government acts to end the conflict in Yemen.

The letter follows repeated reports from the United Nations (UN) and other agencies about the scale of the “devastation and destruction in Yemen”, with millions of Yemenis at risk of death as aid cannot be delivered.

Jeremy Corbyn argues that the “UK has a crucial role to play” and calls for the UK to end support for the Saudi-led coalition’s conduct in this war. He urges the Government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and call for an immediate ceasefire through the UN to enable the negotiation of a long-term political peace.

Text of the letter

Dear Prime Minister

In light of continuing reports from the United Nations and others of the devastation and destruction in Yemen, I am writing to express deep concern about your Government’s role in supporting the Saudi-led coalition in prolonging and escalating the humanitarian crisis and impress on the need for you to call for an immediate ceasefire.

At least 10,000 people have been killed since the conflict started in 2014 and 7 million people are in extreme hunger. Food shortages and the cholera outbreak are a direct result of the continuing blockade of Yemen by the US and UK backed Saudi-led coalition.

The Red Cross has confirmed that the cities of Taiz, Saads and Hodeidah have now run out of clean water and sanitation due to the deadly blockade putting 1 million people at risk of death by famine and waterborne diseases.

The head of the World Food Program too warned today that millions of Yemenis are at risk of death as aid deliveries cannot get to those in need.

This weekend’s warnings from multiple UN agencies starkly state the urgent need to lift the Saudi blockade, in order to stop this already catastrophic humanitarian crisis becoming one of the worst combinations of famine and disease since the 1980s, with millions of innocent people, especially children, at risk of death.

The UK has a crucial role to play in that decision, given the Government’s strong support for all Saudi military action to date, its continued authorisation of arms sales for use in the conflict, and its year-long failure to bring forward a UN resolution aimed at halting the conflict.

In August, former International Development Secretary Priti Patel, announced her department was launching ‘a new offensive’ against Yemen’s man-made cholera outbreak. For many, this incoherence in foreign and development policy is beyond belief. It cannot be aid packages from the UK one day, and missiles the next. With this in mind, I urge your Government to suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, pending the outcome of an independent, international UN-led investigation of potential violations of international humanitarian law from both sides of the conflict.

Given your Government’s role as ‘pen holder’ for drafting a fresh UN resolution intended to secure a ceasefire in Yemen, and enabling both the negotiation of a long-term political peace, why has there been a delay in calling for a ceasefire process?

Whilst the immediate priority should be humanitarian assistance to Yemen, it is time the Government takes immediate steps to play its part in ending the suffering of the Yemeni people, ends its support of the Saudi coalition’s conduct in the war and take appropriate action to bring the conflict to a peaceful, negotiated resolution.

Given the public interest in these issues, I will be making this letter public.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Corbyn

Ralph Johnson Bunche, diplomat and political scientist, was the first African American and person of color to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for mediation in Palestine in 1950. He was born August 7, 1903 in Detroit, Michigan to a barber, Fred Bunche, and a musician, Olive Agnes. Bunche was valedictorian in 1927 at UCLA and earned his doctorate in political science at Harvard. Bunche was an active supporter of the civil rights movement. He participated in the March on Washington, as pictured in 1963, and fought for racial equality.

He was particularly important to the creation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights as the United Nations document “Ralph Bunche, Visionary for Peace” says, “He championed the principle of equal rights for everyone, regardless of race and creed. He believed in the essential goodness of all people, and that no problem in human relations is insoluble.” 

In 1947, he was asked to help a UN special committee to negotiate a settlement between Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Bunche was able to negotiate armistices in 1949. He was honored by the NAACP, and received more than 30 honorary degrees along with a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Open Letter to the Government of Canada

Le français suit

To the Government of Canada: 

We are the Canadian Youth Delegation, supported by more than sixty environmental non-profits, labour groups, and youth organizations. We are youth from across Canada who are attending the upcoming UN international climate change negotiations (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. As we prepare for our participation at the negotiations, we realize how important it is for us to introduce ourselves and tell you that we refuse to tolerate the inaction of the Canadian Government when it comes to climate change. We intend to hold you accountable for the decisions you make at COP 20.  

We have grown up in a world threatened by the impacts of a changing climate. For our entire lives, world leaders have been aware of the irreversible damage that humans are inflicting on our planet, but have done almost nothing to reverse it. You, the Government of Canada, have made it clear that you are more interested in the profit and power you gain from a fossil fuel based economy than you are in ensuring a sustainable and livable planet for generations to come. Since assuming power you have:

- withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 and continually blocked progress at international climate negotiations;
- refused to put meaningful effort into supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts;
- lowered and reneged on emissions reductions commitments and zealously lobbied other governments to do the same;
- pushed back relentlessly on the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) and silenced the young people who protested its failure in October 2009 by dragging them from the House of Commons, where you laughed at them for demanding collective and ambitious climate action and policy;
- championed an omnibus bill in 2012 that stripped federal environmental protections and muzzled climate scientists;
- systematically audited and threatened organizations that aim to shed light on the disgraceful actions of the government;
- and denied the treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in this country. 

We, the Canadian Youth Delegation, stand alongside the millions of young people worldwide who refuse to inherit a planet in crisis. We stand beside Indigenous peoples, front-line communities, people of colour and low income populations who are living the frightening realities and injustices of climate change, and who will continue to be disproportionately impacted in the absence of sufficient action. 

From coast to coast to coast First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, industry workers, new immigrants, parents, farmers, fishers, unions, students and many more are demanding climate justice. Yet the Government of Canada continues to lead us down a highway of unfettered expansion of the tar sands, paired with unwieldy trade agreements, and a complete lack of respect for Indigenous land and treaty rights. We reject the notion that the environment and the economy are mutually exclusive or pitted against each other. There is no price tag on forests, rivers, wetlands, air, culture, communities, or our lives and livelihoods.  We know that it is not for lack of technological advancement, public opinion, or financial resources that we have not stopped climate change in its tracks; the culprit is lack of political will. Along with action on climate change, we demand that the Government of Canada honour the treaties and land rights of Indigenous people in this country.

You have the opportunity to be a leader in creating a just transition to a clean energy future, but you consistently fail to rise to the challenge. By now, any excuses for delay have long expired, yet we anticipate with heavy hearts that you will continue to stall negotiations at COP 20 and promote carbon-intensive projects at home. If this is the case, we will continue to challenge the ongoing development of the single most destructive development anywhere on Earth, and we will not give up until you acknowledge and take urgent and ambitious action to demonstrate that our future is more important to you than the money in your pockets, the oil on your hands, or the power you hold. To us, our future is everything, and we will do all that we can to protect it. Let it echo through the halls and boardrooms of every legislating body and corporate headquarters in this country: we deserve better. 

Sincerely, 

The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 20  
350.org
Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) 
Canadian Federation of Students 
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
ClimateFast
Climate Justice Saskatoon
Committee for Future Generations
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Council of Canadians
Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability
Divest Dalhousie
Divest McGill 
Divest Mount Allison
Divest UVic 
Divest York
Douglas Channel Watch 
Ecology Action Centre 
Ecology North
Ecology Ottawa 
Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan
Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell 
Fossil Free Guelph
Fossil Free Kwantlen 
Fossil Free Lakehead
Fossil Free McMaster 
Fossil Free uOttawa 
Friends of the Earth Canada
Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University 
Greenpeace Canada
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative 
Keepers of the Athabasca
Leadnow.ca
Living Oceans Society
Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd.
Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network
Polaris Institute
Public Interest Alberta
Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change
rabble.ca 
RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) 
Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March
Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee 
Saskatchewan Eco-Network
Sierra Club BC
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
Starfish Canada 
Stop Energy East Halifax
Sustainable SFU 
Sustainable Trent 
Student’s Society of McGill University 
Toronto350.org 
Transition Initiative Kenora
UBCC350
UofT350.org 
UR Sustainability 
Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Wilderness Committee

International 
Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association
Australian Youth Climate Coalition 
Friends of the Earth Europe 
Generation Zero 
New Zealand Youth Delegation 
P3 Foundation 
SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development Young

———

Au gouvernement canadien:  

Nous sommes la Délégation jeunesse canadienne, soutenue par plus de soixante organismes à but non lucratif, syndicats et organisations jeunesse. Nous sommes des jeunes de partout au Canada qui seront présents à la Conférence des parties sur le climat (COP 20), à Lima du 1er au 12 décembre. Alors que nous nous préparons à participer à ces négociations, nous avons cru bon de nous présenter et de vous annoncer que nous ne tolérons pas l’inaction du gouvernement canadien en matière de changements climatiques. À COP20, nous avons l’intention de vous tenir responsable des décisions que vous avez prises au courant de la dernière décennie. 

Nous avons grandi dans un monde menacé par les impacts d’un climat en changement. Durant l’intégralité de nos vies, les leaders mondiaux ont été au courant des dommages que l’humain inflige à la planète, mais n’ont pas agi pour l’en empêcher. Vous, le gouvernement canadien, avez fait clairement comprendre que vous êtes davantage intéressé par le profit et le pouvoir que vous obtenez d’une économie basée sur les énergies fossiles que vous l’êtes par l’assurance d’un environnement sain pour les générations à venir. Depuis la prise de pouvoir de M. Harper, vous avez: 

- retiré le Canada du Protocole de Kyoto en 2012 et continuellement empêché le progrès des négociations internationales sur le climat;
- refusé d’investir quelque effort que ce soit au soutien de l’adaptation et de la mitigation des impacts des changements climatiques;
- manqué à vos obligations de réduction des émissions tout en encourageant d’autres gouvernements à suivre votre exemple;
- réprimé le projet de loi sur la responsabilité en matière de changements climatiques (C-311) et retiré la voix des jeunes manifestant leur désaccord à l’abandon de cette loi en les traînant hors de la Chambre des communes et en riant de leurs demandes d’action concrète;
- introduit et adopté le projet de loi C-45 annulant les protections environnementales fédérales tout en muselant les scientifiques;
- audité et menacé de manière systématique des organismes tentant de dénoncer les actions douteuses du gouvernement;
- renié les droits ancestraux des peuples autochtones du pays. 

La Délégation jeunesse canadienne se tient debout avec les millions de jeunes à travers le monde qui refusent d’hériter d’une planète en crise. Nous nous tenons debout avec les Autochtones, les communautés au front des impacts climatiques, les personnes de couleur et les populations à revenu modique qui vivent quotidiennement les réalités et les injustices climatiques, et qui continueront de les vivre de manière disproportionnée si vous maintenez vos positions et restez dans l’inaction. 

À l’échelle du pays, des Premières Nations, Inuit, Métis, travailleuses et travailleurs, parents, fermières et fermiers, pêcheurs et pêcheuses, syndiqué(e)s, étudiantes et étudiants ainsi que des milliers d’autres personnes demandent la justice pour le climat. Pourtant, le gouvernement canadien maintient ses positions d’industrialisation débridée, d’exploitation de nos ressources naturelles et d’accords d’échange peu fructueux, sans se soucier des impacts sur le territoire ou des droits des Autochtones. Nous rejetons la notion selon laquelle l’environnement et l’économie sont exclusifs ou en opposition. Nos forêts, nos rivières, les milieux humides, l’air, notre culture, nos communautés, nos vies et nos moyens de subsistance n’ont pas de prix. Ce ne sont pourtant pas le manque d’avancées technologiques, l’opinion publique ou le manque de ressources financières qui nous empêchent de contrer les changements climatiques : le manque de volonté politique est le vrai coupable. En plus de l’action concrète sur les changements climatiques, nous exigeons que le gouvernement du Canada respecte les traités et les droits des Autochtones. 

Vous avez la chance de devenir des leaders pour un futur propre, mais vous échouez constamment à relever ce défi. Aujourd’hui, le délai pour fournir des excuses a expiré depuis fort longtemps, pourtant nous anticipons avec tristesse que vous continuerez de retarder les négociations à COP 20 et de promouvoir des projets d’extraction sur la scène nationale. Si c’est le cas, nous continuerons de défier le développement des sables bitumineux, soit le projet d’exploitation le plus destructeur au monde. Nous ne cesserons pas jusqu’à ce que vous reconnaissiez que notre futur vaut plus que l’argent dans vos poches, le pétrole sur vos mains ou le pouvoir que vous détenez. Nous exigeons des actions en ce sens. Pour nous, le futur est tout ce que nous possédons et nous ferons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir pour le protéger. Que notre message résonne à travers les chambres d’assemblées et les sièges sociaux du pays: nous méritons mieux.

Sincèrement,

La Délégation jeunesse canadienne à COP 20
350.org
Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) 
Canadian Federation of Students 
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
ClimateFast
Climate Justice Saskatoon
Committee for Future Generations
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Council of Canadians
Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability
Divest Dalhousie
Divest McGill 
Divest Mount Allison
Divest UVic 
Divest York
Douglas Channel Watch 
Ecology Action Centre
Ecology North
Ecology Ottawa 
Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan
Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell 
Fossil Free Guelph
Fossil Free Kwantlen 
Fossil Free Lakehead
Fossil Free McMaster 
Fossil Free uOttawa 
Friends of the Earth Canada
Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University 
Greenpeace Canada
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative 
Keepers of the Athabasca
Leadnow.ca
Living Oceans Society
Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd.
Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network
Polaris Institute
Public Interest Alberta
Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change
rabble.ca
RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) 
Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March
Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee 
Saskatchewan Eco-Network
Sierra Club BC
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
Starfish Canada 
Stop Energy East Halifax
Sustainable SFU 
Sustainable Trent 
Student’s Society of McGill University 
Toronto350.org 
Transition Initiative Kenora
UBCC350
UofT350.org 
UR Sustainability 
Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Wilderness Committee

Organisations internationales
Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Generation Zero
New Zealand Youth Delegation 
P3 Foundation
SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development
Young Friends of the Earth Europe