Academics, researchers and practitioners are calling for more justice and democratization of environmental agenda and preparing next parallel events to COP25 in Chile

Gloria Baigorrotegui

July 3, 2019 | Reviews

Thanks to the most important environmental conference in the world, the COP25 that will held in Chile at the beginning of next December, varied laws, visions, plans and environmental programs that rested on the desks, folders and offices of the administration are appearing during this year. All of these are quickly, named, referred and questioned in the public scene. One is the reform of the Environmental Impact Assessment System, which has been re-entered for processing by the government and with great urgency.

Faced with this rhythm that has been promoted by the government authority, a group of more than 140 academics and researchers, have reacted in few more than one day to show their dissatisfaction reflected in a public statement. On this it is demanded to democratize more than expedite the approval of investment projects by approving their environmental impacts. Part of this statement shows the ins and outs of the exercises of the technification of the environment and the depoliticization of its decisions through these international accountability systems.

Although the Environmental Impact Assesment Systems have been emerged as responses to the citizen's concern for environmental degradation (Jasanoff, 1996, Formby, 1990), their current proposal of civil society inclusion is mainly thought in educational terms, where it is assumed that citizenship requires access to free courses on public participation. Given this, the declaration recognizes that:

Another aspect is the interrelation of these systems with the ownership of this knowledge, and in the generation and preservation of science and technology (Barandiarán, 2018) for the maintenance of commons.

Likewise, the impacts can’t be the touchstone to solve from project to project the destiny of the territories. An upstream institutional entanglement is required to value not only the impacts, but the risks, uncertainties and indeterminations that the challenges of climate change entail.

There are ethical-political aspects invoked each time that countries renounce their international agreements on climate change, ignoring criteria of justice and reparation, as in the case of Chilean exit from the Escazú agreement. This is an interesting point to consider which is left outside the environmental agreements of the countries of the Global South.

Just as the atmospheric policies were represented in the COPs thanks to the varied air conditioning machines, in the COP-25 Chilean security policies will accompany what has been called the COP-blue-citizen. With it appears the blue zone (more typical of the COP) and the green zone, announced as the “open to the public” zone. There, in turn, would be placed strict security measures, and high prices for the lease of squaremeters for any NGO or Foundation that want to present.

With all the above, the COP appears as a site of restricted access and where the possibilities of making visible groups and networks located proliferate from the alternative. The Citizens' Network for Climate Change (Sociedad Civil por el Cambio Climático (SAC) in Spanish) has been created the parallel COP-25 Summit, la Cumbre Alternativa de los Pueblos y el Foro Social are preparing their agendas too.

Finally, we would like to invite you to visit us in December and to share the parallel and alternative events to COP25. If it is possible to extend your stay another month, even better, due to in January it’s time for the 7th annual meeting of Chilean CTS community. We plan that many discussions on researches on alterities and changing worlds will be developed.

I grate a lot Francisco Fontecilla for the English version of Public Statement, available at the bottom of the text here

Published: 07/03/2019