Tuesday 8 December 2015

People First - Paris COP21

By Javier Fornell

I'm leaving for Paris tomorrow as part of the Manos Unidas delegation to participate in the activities organized by CIDSE on the occasion of COP21.

CIDSE is a network of which Manos Unidas is a member. It can be defined as "an interantional family of catholic development organisations that work together for social justice, to serve the poor, call on the power of global solidarity and generate transformative changes that tackle poverty and inequality. We challenge an unjust and unequal system that destroys nature. We promote alternatives for a fair and environmentally sustainable world, and we believe that every human being has the right to live in dignity."
There are those who question the reasons for Manos Unidas' presence in Paris, when our work is mainly focused on development and not particularly the environment. However, we must understand that the enviroment and nature are key elements of development and, above all, that international policies on climate change are affecting many developing countries' development aspirations often frustrated by the policies implemented by world powers, the big polluters.

This is why Manos Unidas and CIDSE will be present in Paris - to remind us that behind the issue of climate change, there are real people. Those who suffer its consequence the most are the poor and  vulnerable, our neighbors from the south, who on top of seeing their development aspirations halted, they will also suffer the cruel consequences of climate change, the effects of which we want - and must - address.

As an example, we observe how an earthquake will very unlikely have the same consequences in Nepal than in San Francisco or Japan.

This is why people are first and we will be in Paris, making a stand for what we believe in.

Read the original version in Spanish here.

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