(AFP) LA PAZ — An alternative “people’s conference” on climate change in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba in April will seek to advance an international global warming referendum, organizers said Tuesday.
“The only thing that can save mankind from a [climate] tragedy is the exercise of global democracy,” said Bolivia’s United Nations Ambassador Pablo Solon, a key organizer of the summit.
A priority of the meeting would be discussing the possibility of a global referendum “with the goal of reaching two billion people,” he told reporters.
Thousands of people, mostly members of social movements and indigenous groups, are expected to attend the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights on April 20-22.
Organizers say it is intended to “give a voice to the people” on climate change after the perceived failure of the U.N.-sponsored Copenhagen summit on the same issue.
Solon said he expected participants from 94 countries and representatives from 70 governments to attend, without giving further details.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, who in January issued an open invitation to the conference to governments, scientists, and social movements, has said a number of South American presidents would also attend.
But the outlines of the conference remain vague, and it is so far shaping up to be something between an environmental forum and a political rally. It is expected to tackle many of the themes Morales raised at the Copenhagen summit last year, including creating a “climate court of justice” and the need to “change the system of capitalist consumerism” — proposals that could be included in the suggested global vote.
Solon said the summit’s conclusions would be delivered to the next U.N.-sponsored meeting on climate change, currently scheduled for December in Mexico.