Friday, December 03, 2010

CJ from the USA

By Colin Rajah, reporting from Cancun, Mexico
December 3rd, 2010

For faithful readers of Migrant Diaries, we apologize for the long silence. Most of our recent postings have been deposited on NNIRR's other blog Immigrant Rights News. We'll also be transitioning to a newer, better blog in the coming months with the anticipated launch of our brand-spankin' new website in the new year. Stay tuned.

But for nostalgia's sake, this coming week we'll be posting the last few posts on Migrant Diaries before its retired. And this time, we're coming from Cancun, Mexico where the UNFCCC (United Framework Convention on Climate Change) and its Conference of the Parties (COP) is having its 16th conference, popularly known as "COP 16".

NNIRR is part of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) delegation of grassroots groups from the US participating in events in and around the COP 16. We're also a part of a larger strategic alliance of grassroots and allied organizations from North America actively engaged in organizing for Climate Justice, called the Grassroots Solutions for Climate Justice - North America or as some of us prefer to call it "CJ in the USA." Checkout the Press Release from our delegation about grassroots folks bringing climate justice solutions to Cancun.

Cop 16 runs from November 30 - December 10, 2010. Our broader delegation is engaged in an "inside-outside" strategy with trying to negotiate in key spaces within the COP as well as organizing various actions to highlight pressing issues, while engaging in the various alternative and civil society spaces outside the COP to exert strong pressure on it. (For a taste of the actions so far, checkout GJEP's Photo Essay 1 and Photo Essay 2.)

NNIRR's primary approach to COP 16 is to highlight our deepening analysis around the intersections of climate and migration, and more importantly around climate justice and migrant rights. A lot of dissonance has been surrounding the whole buzz around "climate refugees" or "environmental migrants". While these have good intentions to provide more rights for migrants impacted by climate change, they might actually seek to direct more militarization efforts against impacted communities, artificially create a hierarchy of oppressions among migrants, and misdirect attention away from the real culprit of socio-economic injustice. More on that to come.

For now, suffice to say that the first week at the COP has been an an interesting array of mixed feelings. These range from discouragement at the lack of political action within the COP especially from the primary polluting countries like the US, to excitement about the possibilities to meet and develop new allies especially those dedicated to migrant rights like the Bolivian delegation, to inspiration from other US grassroots allies who are taking creative actions such as the IEN delegation and members of our delegation who have been part of the La Via Campesina caravans.

We'll be posting more about all of these in the coming week. For now, have a look at our paper written with noted academic on migration, Stephen Castles, on Environmental Degradation, Climate Change, Migration and Development. And enjoy reading the last few postings from Migrant Diaries!

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