Roster of experts available for interviews with journalists
This was my first day at COP16. Being here itself is an exercise in high faith after COP15's exercise in disaster. Not that this one will be any different, but its interesting to be here anyway. My earliest surprises are the manner in which the discussions about mitigation and adaptation happen outside any ideology - as if it didnt matter and outside any contextual appreciation of the historical racial and gendered political ecology which gave rise to a seemingly disconnection between rural poor communities and their environment. This mostly given rise to, especially in Southern African settler colonies where land alienation and the conversion of once thriving rural people's economies into dependent labour reserves. This history is important to appreciate and make the building block for any attempt to bring the rural land and communities into bearing when thinking about solutions.
So there were the usual suspects - empowered women - mostly white and from the north talking on behalf of largely black communities of rural poor women with the odd token blacks giving some balance and credibility to some very wild assertion. They invoked science and research - as an important requirement for adaptation and mitigation. As if science and research meant the same thing for them as it would to my mother in the village of Chigodora in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, or to Ma Vezi, my granny-in-law in the rural arid mountaneous village of Ndwedwe some 50 km out of Durban where COP17 will be held. Indeginous people and their knowledge are never mentioned and when they do, it is simply to patronise and give some lip service. So the world's problem's will be solved by use of half of the world's brains and half of the world's ideas. Anyway, we now already know that the world refers to largely white, male, Europeans and Americans and their cousins through the global capital system. While this system operates on an openly racialised liberal platform, the responses are expected to be ideologically neutral as well as racial and gender silent - well, GOOD LUCk!
The other group decided on REDD and REDD+ mechanism with the most wierd presentation coming from a Tanzanian NGO which while presenting evidence that shows clearly that communities are rejecting REDD, still passed a message of optimism and hope about this mechanism.
The bottom line is - REDD, REDD+, CDM and any other fake solutions, are top down systems designed at the international level, pushed down to "resource poor" countries to prevail over their local communities. As long as the global division of labour in trying to respond to climate change - proceed on this basis, this whole summit is a useless waste of time. When the world becomes serious - it will let solutions be designed at the local level, the inform national strategies from which international responses can emerge.
Rural communities who have lived with forest resources for centuries - understand that their relationship with the environment is one of fish and water. Outside the water they cannot live long. They do not need incentives to maintain these resources. What has to be addressed are the historical and persistent forces that separate the poor peole from the resources, a system that make rural production efforts operate outside terrains of accumulation - wherefore they are subjected to survivalism and thus raising the need to gobble the very little resources for which there is increasing competition, as the rest of their land and natural resources are parcelled out by MNCs with the support of their governments.
To give an example - as long as the Norwegian (Fake Samaritans) Foreign Ministry continues to use REDD financing to influence policy in Tanzania towards building its carbon empire and its Finance Ministry continues to support Green Resources LtD - a private MNC from that country to mount grassland converting and local livelihood displacing CDM projects among the poor communities in Southern Tanzania (see Timberwatch report - www.timberwatch.org) these process will represent nothing much more than new forms of under-development financing.
African regimes have to think more creative - which will be a first - and stop thinking that everything from the West will help Africa. The decades of development financing and donor aid should have hammered the lesson home, but evidently this is not so.
When can we have an African climate dialogue - without business, without donor funding agencies - just African governments and communities - talking about climate change and impacts as a family before we invite neighbours to weigh down on us. Africa - has historically been very polite, very welcoming and accepting of others and their views - which is why we are in the SH#T. We need to have a level of African determinism. Post-USSR and post-Communist China tookk some time to sort themselves internally - decide what they wanted and which direction would benefit them most. Africa has never had this family moment. But, again this is part of the problem. What is Africa beyond the geographical boundaries? Until such a time Africa is a political, economic and cultural unit - we will continued to be pulled in all sorts of direction by these post-colonial, global capitalist imperial forces using their historical and cultural links to Africa - whether Anglo-(Saxo)phone, Francophone, Lusophone, and the new Norwegian jonny-come-lately carbon imperialism and chinese resourse grab ...
Afrika Arise - you have nothing to lose - but your chains ...
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