PEN-kongressen vedtar resolusjon om klimaendringer og miljøaktivister

Resolusjon om klima og miljøaktivisme
Foreslått av Norsk PEN, støttet av PEN Eritrea og PEN Estonia

Forsamlingen av delegater på PEN Internationals 84. internasjonale kongress i Pune, India, 25. – 29. september 2018, uttaler:

Klimaendringene utgjør alvorlige trusler mot fremtidige generasjoner hvis stemmer ennå ikke er hørt. De risikerer å arve en ubeboelig planet. Ifølge FN har de tre siste årene vært de varmeste som er registrert. Økte forekomster av ekstremvær som påvirker millioner av mennesker gir oss et sterkt forvarsel om en truende og pågående global oppvarming[1]. Mens Paris-avtalen fra 2015 er blitt betraktet som et skritt fremover, gjør den ikke nok for å holde global oppvarming mellom 1.5 og 2 grader, noe som er en forutsetning for å opprettholde livsgrunnlaget i de mest utsatte landene[2].

Arter som er nødvendige for at vi skal overleve trues i økende grad med utryddelse. Samtidig møter klima- og miljøaktivister over hele verden, fra Filippinene til Brasil, fra DR Kongo til Peru og USA, trusler og forfølgelse fra statlige og ikke-statlige aktører når de fredelig gir uttrykk for sine bekymringer, og protesterer mot politikk og handlinger som kan bidra til en ytterligere forverring av klima og miljø[3]. For eksempel:

  • I USA trues journalister og filmskapere som dokumenterte at aktivister krevde nedleggelse av oljesandrørledninger i 2016, med rettsforfølgelse og fengselsstraffer. Dette er en trussel mot presse- og kunstnerisk frihet[4].
  • I Vietnam ble uavhengig journalist og blogger Nguyen Van Hoa dømt til syv år i fengsel for å skrive om et kjemisk utslipp på Taiwan i 2016[5]; I april ble Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (også kjent under pseudonymet Mother Mushroom) dømt til 10 års fengsel for å skrive om den samme miljøkatastrofen[6].
  • I India ble tre medlemmer av en familie drept i mai 2017 da de forsøkte å hindre utvinning av sand fra en elvebredde ved landsbyen deres i Jatpura[7].
  • I Peru ble seks bønder drept av en kriminell gjeng som ønsket å tilrane seg deres landområde for å produsere palmeolje.

Stadig flere personer som tar til orde for og forsvarer sine landområder blir drept verden rundt. Ifølge Guardian ble 197 forsvarere av miljøet drept i 2017 og 66 er blitt drept så langt i 2018 (pr. 30. juli 2018). De fleste drap forekommer i fjerntliggende skogsområder, spesielt i Latin-Amerika. Slik dette utvikler seg vil ca. fire miljøvernere bli drept hver uke i år[8].

Forsamlingen av delegerte fra PEN International oppfordrer ledere i alle land:

  • Til å iverksette tiltak for å beskytte ytrings- og forsamlingsfrihet og andre menneskerettigheter som gjør det mulig for aktivister å engasjere seg i klima- og miljøspørsmål og dermed bidra til at alle kan snakke fritt og fredelig gi uttrykk for sin motstand uten å møte trusler, forfølgelse og vold;
  • Til å respektere og beskytte ytringsfriheten og tilgang til informasjon for journalister og forfattere som dokumenterer trusler mot miljø og klima verden over, slik at de kan utføre sitt viktige arbeid med å informere offentligheten uten å bli utsatt for vold, trusler, utilbørlige begrensninger og sensur.

[1] Reuters, ‘Last three years hottest on record, severe weather hits 2018: U.N.’, 22 March 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-un/last-three-years-hottest-on-record-severe-weather-hits-2018-u-n-idUSKBN1GY01D.
[2] The Independent, ‘COP21: Paris deal far too weak to prevent devastating climate change, academics, warn’, 8 January 2016, https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cop21-paris-deal-far-too-weak-to-prevent-devastating-climate-change-academics-warn-a6803096.html.
[3] Reuters, ‘Trump threat fires up U.S. climate activists, draws in more’, 11 November 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-environmentalists-idUSKBN1362EU.
[4] The Guardian, ‘Anti-pipeline activists and film-makers face prison, raising fears for free press’, 30 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/30/anti-pipeline-activists-and-film-makers-face-prison-raising-fears-for-free-press.[5] Mongabay, ‘Citizen journalist jailed 7 years for reporting environmental disaster in Vietnam’, 1 December 2017, https://news.mongabay.com/2017/12/citizen-journalist-jailed-7-years-for-reporting-environmental-disaster-in-vietnam/
[6] PEN International, ‘Take action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’, 30 October 2017, http://pen-international.org/news/take-action-for-nguyen-ngoc-nhu-quynh
[7] The Guardian, ‘Villagers pay tragic price as Indian building boom drives demand for sand’, 30 December 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/30/india-sand-mining-conflict-deaths-building-boom-environmental-damage
[8] The Guardian, ‘The defenders: 66 environmental defenders have been killed so far in 2018 while protecting their community’s land or natural resources’, 17 July 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2018/feb/27/the-defenders-recording-the-deaths-of-environmental-defenders-around-the-world.

PEN Congress in Pune, India approves a resolution on climate change and environmental activism

RESOLUTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM

Proposed by Norwegian PEN, seconded by PEN Eritrea and Estonian PEN

 Approved by the Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 84th World Congress in Pune, India 25 – 29 September 2018

Climate change poses serious threats to future generations whose voices are not yet heard. They risk inheriting an uninhabitable planet. According to the UN, the last three years have been the hottest on record with increased incidents of extreme weather affecting millions of people, which strongly foreshadows the threatening process of continued global warming.[1] While the 2015 Paris Agreement[2] has been deemed a step forward, it does not do enough to keep global warming between 1,5 and 2 degrees centigrade, which is a prerequisite for preserving livelihoods in the most vulnerable countries.[3]

Species necessary for survival are increasingly threatened by extinction. Meanwhile, climate and environmental activists all over the world, from the Philippines to Brazil, from DR Congo to Peru and the U.S.A. face threats and persecution from state and non-state actors when they peacefully voice their concerns and protest policies and actions that risk a further deterioration of the climate and environment. [4] For instance:

  • In the U.S.A., journalists and film makers who documented the work of the activists who demanded the shut-down of oil sand pipelines in 2016 are facing criminal charges and risk hefty prison sentences, which threatens press and artistic freedom.[5]
  • In Vietnam, independent journalist and blogger Nguyen Van Hoa was sentenced to seven years in prison on 27 November, for his coverage of the 2016 Formosa chemical spill;[6] in April, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (also known under her pen name Mother Mushroom) was sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing about the same environmental disaster, among other things.[7]
  • In India, three members of one family were murdered last May as they tried to prevent the extraction of sand from a riverbank by their village of Jatpura.[8]
  • In Peru, six farmers were killed by a criminal gang who wanted to grab their land for palm oil production.

All over the world, an increasing number of those who raise their voices and act in defence of their habitat, are killed. According to the Guardian, 197 defenders of the environment were killed in 2017[9] and 66 have been killed so far in 2018 (at the time of writing, 30 July 2018). Most killings occur in remote forest areas, particularly in Latin-America. At the current rate, approximately four environmentalists might be killed every week this year.[10]

The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International calls on the leaders of all states:

  • to take measures to protect the rights to freedom of expression and of association and other human rights that enable activists to raise their voices and engage with climate/environment issues, and to contribute to an atmosphere in which they can speak and peacefully express their dissent and protest freely, without facing threats, persecution and violence;
  • to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and to access to information of journalists and writers engaged with documenting threats against global environment and climate, so that they can pursue their vital role in informing the public debate on these matters, unhampered by violence, threats, undue restrictions and censorship.

[1] Reuters, ‘Last three years hottest on record, severe weather hits 2018: U.N.’, 22 March 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-un/last-three-years-hottest-on-record-severe-weather-hits-2018-u-n-idUSKBN1GY01D.

[2] The Paris Agreement, https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.

[3] The Independent, ‘COP21: Paris deal far too weak to prevent devastating climate change, academics, warn’, 8 January 2016, https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cop21-paris-deal-far-too-weak-to-prevent-devastating-climate-change-academics-warn-a6803096.html.

[4] Reuters, ‘Trump threat fires up U.S. climate activists, draws in more’, 11 November 2016, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-environmentalists-idUSKBN1362EU.

[5] The Guardian, ‘Anti-pipeline activists and film-makers face prison, raising fears for free press’, 30 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/30/anti-pipeline-activists-and-film-makers-face-prison-raising-fears-for-free-press.

[6] Mongabay, ‘Citizen journalist jailed 7 years for reporting environmental disaster in Vietnam’, 1 December 2017, https://news.mongabay.com/2017/12/citizen-journalist-jailed-7-years-for-reporting-environmental-disaster-in-vietnam/.

[7] PEN International, ‘Take action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’, 30 October 2017, http://pen-international.org/news/take-action-for-nguyen-ngoc-nhu-quynh.

[8] The Guardian, ‘Villagers pay tragic price as Indian building boom drives demand for sand’, 30 December 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/30/india-sand-mining-conflict-deaths-building-boom-environmental-damage.

[9] The Guardian, ‘The defenders: Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017’, 2 February 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/02/almost-four-environmental-defenders-a-week-killed-in-2017?CMP=share_btn_tw.

[10] The Guardian, ‘The defenders: 66 environmental defenders have been killed so far in 2018 while protecting their community’s land or natural resources’, 17 July 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2018/feb/27/the-defenders-recording-the-deaths-of-environmental-defenders-around-the-world.

PEN International setter klima på dagsorden

For første gang i historien vedtar PEN International en resolusjon der det fokuseres på de dramatiske endringene i verdens klima.  Initiativet kom fra Norsk PEN.

På PEN Internationals 80. verdenskongress i Bishkek, Kirgisistan, ble Norsk PENs forslag til en klimaresolusjon enstemmig vedtatt i slutten av forrige uke.  Med henvisning til PENs Charter peker teksten blant annet på det ansvaret verdens skribenter har for å advare mot alle slags farer og risikoer og retter en henstilling til alle verdens ledere om å arbeide for en bindende, global avtale for å stanse CO2-utslipp slik at den globale oppvarmingen begrenses til et nivå under det FNs klimapanel vurderer som truende.

CLIMATE CHANGE – AND THE MISSING VOICES OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 80th World Congress in
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 29 September- 2 October 2014

Recognizing the PEN charter, which states that that literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals, and recognizing that society has traditionally regarded its writers as beacons warning against all sorts of dangers and risks;

Reiterating also Article 7 of the PEN International Bled Manifesto which calls for the respect of the environment in order to create sustainable conditions for peace;

PEN International urges the global leaders to pay special attention to the risks posed by climate change. PEN also urges global leaders to pay special attention to risks posed by climate change, and also to writers and others advocating against activities harmful to the climate, who risk being oppressed by governments or corporates with vested interests.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has in 2013 and 2014 submitted  its assessment report no 5 (AR5) informing the world with increased scientific certainty that anthropogenic climate change is a major threat. Increased global warming is expected, with subsequent melting of polar ice, increased floods and other extreme weather occurrences. The AR5 Working Group II indicates that climate change will affect the livelihood of people, through decreased agricultural production, decreased freshwater resources, increased poverty levels and a variety of other consequences. Furthermore the AR5 Working Group III predicts that climate changes will lead to more inhabitable areas and increased migration. 
Whereas all science is linked to a degree of uncertainty, the IPCC consensus is now based on a higher level of certainty than previously. In addition, the precautionary principle has been unanimously adapted by most climate scientists and many politicians. Lack of serious and effective action implies that this principle is not being seriously considered. 
For the first time, the IPCC reports also discuss ethical questions connected to anthropogenic climate changes. Working Group III underlines the moral responsibility shouldered by this earth’s population to take care of the resources needed by future generations, whose interests have to be expressed and taken care of by those who live now.
Climate change is a slow process, but people in poorer regions of the world are already affected, and future generations will be more severely affected than those of their parents and grandparents. This poses special challenges to global leaders, as these generations do not yet have a chance to voice their interests. 

PEN international:
• Regards climate change as a major threat to future generations and urges communities all over the world to be concerned with these voices, yet unheard, 
– Calls for an increasingly open debate on these issues, and for protection of those who write or speak out against harmful climate change
– Urges global leaders to work for a binding global agreement to curb CO2 emissions to limit future global warming to a level below what is considered threatening by IPCC scientists.
– Expresses its wishes for the Paris Summit in 2015 to adopt such an agreement in accordance with the precautionary principle to secure livelihoods for present and future generations.

Norwegian PEN, seconded by Ethiopia PEN and Turkey PEN

Resolusjonen kan lastes ned som eget dokument her.