We march for “Climate change equals Systems change”
The Rural Women’s Assembly and the People’s Dialogue joined the thousands of people in Marrakech on November 13, 2016 who marched through the streets of the city that was hosting COP 22. Although the march had a festive feel to it, the messages were serious.
RWA banner demanded “No to the Green Economy”, the Earth Life Africa placards called for “renewable energy and a transition from fossil fuels”. The Canadian Indigenous People’s posters called for business out of United Nations Conference on Climate Change. Some of those in the march donned polar bear outfits and carried posters asking, “What will happen to us?”
It was a march that mobilised civil society movements that had come to participate in the Green Zone of the COP22 (official civil society space) and those like the RWA and PD were mainly active in the Autonomous Space. Representatives came from many corners of our the world, putting the demands of indigenous peoples, rural communities, workers, youth, women, and others from local and international organizations in the public domain.
The colourful protest, the banners, the songs, the slogans represented an important action given that it succeeded in making the COP 22 and its significance very visible to ordinary citizens of the Kingdom of Morocco, the host of the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 22).
This public action was key in drawing attention to the urgency and necessity for climate justice especially ahead of meetings with heads of states and ministers from about 196 countries that arrived in Morocco for the high-level segment of the talks.
Reports from civil society organisations like, Friends of Earth and CIDSE who were active inside negotiations reported that the first week of COP had no ended without disagreements over how the Paris Agreement will be operationalized. Among the more heated debates inside were on developed countries’ insistence on greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and adaptation (actions to cope with the impacts of climate change) and the financing of these.
Lastly, there was also a great deal of speculation on what the USA who do given the comments of Donald Trump, the USA president elect during his campaign.
COP refers to the Conference of the Parties. These are the yearly conferences held in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention. This is the 22nd year that the conference is being held, hence COP-22. COP-22 was held in Marrakech, Morrocco, from 14th to 18th November 2016.