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Climate Change Is Already Here: A Letter From Kampala

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Dear Pope Francis,

Kampala is abuzz. Thank you for visiting Uganda! The presidential election season is underway and we have been busy sprucing up the city ahead of your trip here ten days ago. The city's residents have been conducting charity walks, renovating and buying commemorative rosaries from Rome. Workers are re-roofing The Martyr's Shrine, building a new arena and have put the finishing touches on an exhibition hall honouring Christian martyrs who were executed by the king in the late 1800s.

Your visit to Uganda, just before the COP21 climate negotiations started in Paris, came at a crucial time, though, both for our country and the world. You see, the dangerous impacts of climate change have already hit Uganda.

In the northern part of the country, a drought hurt farmers again this year, devastating harvests and creating food shortages. More than 600,000 people need food aid; 17 people starved to death in September alone, according to government statistics.

Then, while we were preparing for your visit, the El Nino rains arrived, upending the agricultural calendar and bringing with them an outbreak of cholera. The Ministry of Health warns that bilharzia and typhoid may not be far behind. The country is bracing for landslides; more than 100,000 Ugandas are at risk, particularly people living in slums. Here in Kampala, floods have already become an everyday occurrence.

The floods are made worse by greed and our own human actions. Construction projects -- some legal, some not -- impede the flow of water and alter the wetland systems that should provide drainage, while so-called 'investors' erect huge concrete shopping malls all over the city.

GCAP's plans for COP 21 in Paris

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GCAP presence in Paris at the COP21

GCAP will be present throughout the COP and we will offer workshops, have strategic meetings and network with other networks and new potential partners for the 2015. Different GCAP representatives will attend the COP negotiations in different capacities and be present throughout the negotiations.

International Civil Society Call to Address Inequalities and Social Justice in Climate Policy

October - November 2015

SUMMARY

Socioeconomic inequality is an integral part of the climate crisis, and must be addressed. Climate change disproportionately impacts poor and marginalized people and communities, who suffer climate impacts more severely, do not have the resources to respond or adapt, and lack the resources and influence to demand necessary changes. Climate change particularly impacts women and girls. Climate change is also a factor in the migration crisis. Climate change hurts the poor or marginalized more than the rich, compounding existing inequalities.

Inequality is a key driver of the climate crisis. Inequality lies at the root of unsustainable behaviors. Inequality makes it socially acceptable for some people to have far more than others, and ties consumption to social status, promoting over-consumption. Our economic system also drives the climate crisis, as growth, short-term incentives and profit motives systematically contradict sustainability.

Inequalities, both within and among nations, block agreements and pathways that could lead to sustainability. Within nations, socioeconomic inequalities reduce cultural diversity, depriving societies of potential models for more sustainable ways of life. Overwhelmed with problems caused by inequalities, societies cannot turn their energy towards the transition to sustainability. Between communities and nations who do not share common interests and responsibilities, agreement to address climate change is unlikely to be found. Socioeconomic inequality, by eroding trust and creating social fragmentation, blocks cooperation and joint problem-solving.

Holding Mining Companies Accountable

Contamination of food and water, forced labour, cancer and lung disease, environmental degradation, armed conflict . . . the list of human rights violations caused by the extractive industries is long and unacceptable.

The Post-2015 sustainable development agenda must transform resource extraction, the violence it causes and the development model that promotes it, writes Kathryn Tobin of the Mining Working Group at the UN (MWG), a civil society coalition working in 27 countries.

But how should a country or community determine whether a new extraction project should be allowed to go ahead?

To answer this question, the MWG has developed a Rights-Based Litmus Test for policy-makers – based on states' international obligations – which has four basic principles:

GCAP is hiring: Co-Director Wanted

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Are you an experienced activist and campaigner?

GCAP is looking for a highly committed woman to lead global campaigning and advocacy.

This is a full-time position based in Asia.

More details in this document.

The Uruguayan Experience - A Letter to Civil Society and the UN

At a time when inequality is growing across the globe, Uruguay has managed to dramatically reduce poverty and inequality over the past decade.  It now has the most equal income distribution in Latin America.

The country is also working to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio writes that the Uruguayan experience shows that "there are, indeed, viable alternatives to the classical neoliberal formulas" which can be models for the Post-2015 agenda.

Following the 2002 economic crisis, Uruguay chose not to follow the austerity path recommended by multilateral institutions and instead promoted decent work and a social safety net through

  • emergency cash transfers
  • active state participation in the economy to promote growth
  • collective bargaining that led to salary increases and
  • enforcing labour rights for rural and domestic workers.

Instead of repelling investors, Uruguay's Labour Minister told a recent global gathering of civil society activists in Montevideo that the policies boosted economic growth and coincided with a peak in foreign greenfield investment.

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