Numsa International Seminar on Climate Change

On the morning of the 4th December numbers trickled to the Numsa KZN Regional office for the International seminar on Climate Change.

The previous night Numsa Research and Development members went to bed early in the anticipation of this hallmark event.

So, there was bit of concern when it appeared that attendees for the Seminar were few, however by mid-morning things changed as the international delegates filled the conference to capacity.

Dinga Sikwebu the Numsa National Education Officer was in high spirits when the seminar kicked-off successfully.

Cosatu President, Sdumo Dlamini also graced the conference and made input when resolutions were adopted by the house.

Pablo Solon the Bolivian former government minister casually dressed in white shorts and T-shirt gave a resounding speech on climate change and raised key points that need consideration ,such as ‘mother nature rights’ and ‘climate change inequality’ thus giving political impetus to the climate change debate.

In his closing remarks he stated that we are approaching the climate change tipping point and nations delays to act, ‘further climate damage and any future interventions will not reverse the damage caused’.

That was poignant point for both sides of the divide in the climate change debate.

The towering giant of WFTU, Comrade Mavrikos speech on the Eurozone crisis brought to home the damage inflicted by crisis-prone capitalism system on the Global society.

The workers always bear the brunt of the capitalist system failures. At the end of his speech, Comrade Mavrikos handed a gift to the Numsa President, comrade Cedric Gina.

The gift was an olive tree painting which symbolises friend and solidarity in Greek culture.

Dale Wen who is originally from China but based in Germany presented the ‘USA/ China Paradox’ in her speech that dealt with ‘Protectionist climate change strategies and the threat to working class internationalists’.

According to her, USA has outsourced its manufacturing to China that increasingly exploits workers. The outsourcing results to job losses in the USA.

Workers are pitted are pitted against each, with USA workers claiming that ‘Chinese have stolen their jobs’. According to Dale Wen the ‘restructuring of the economy is the cause of these problems’.

During the round table discussions high profile international organisations and activists made valuable contributions.

Nimmo Bassey from Oil Watch stated that ‘Fossil fuel organisations distorted national economies and infiltrated governments in developing countries’ he went on to say that ‘Corporate social responsibility initiatives are misleading because workers in fuel sector have no better working conditions than other’.

Mzwandile Makwayiba the Nehawu president tackled the climate change from public sector perspective mentioning the ‘undermining of health sector by polluting industries’ and thus leading to ‘overburden of the state institution and resultant service delivery challenges’.

According to Dinga Sikwebu ‘The Numsa International seminar was a resounding success and its resolution will be taken to the central committee of Numsa and will form part of the policy conference’.

Impact of the REDD Devil on Indigenous Populations. The requirement for developed nations to reduce CO2 emissions in order to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets and mitigate against climate change has resulted in market based solutions such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

In the implementation of REDD projects, a developed country sponsors a project in a developing country to preserve forests, thus offsetting its obligation to reduce emissions at home.

The REDD opponents view these schemes as a false solution to climate change and have negative consequences for communities in the developing countries who had indigenous systems in protection of their forests.

In a Jubilee South organised event at the UKZN People Space on 6th December, an Indigenous Peoples Rights activist stated that ‘REDD has contributed to dislocation of indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands, thus leading to loss of livelihoods’.

It was further mentioned that Indigenous wisdom, spiritual life and knowledge systems were lost in the REDD project areas when people were forcefully removed from the forests.

For example in Central Kalimantan Indonesia when Indigenous populations were removed from the forest, river systems that were managed using traditional ways were degraded.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which has introduced carbon offsets programmes cannot rely on market solutions in order to mitigate against climate change.

REDD looks well-meaning and beneficial to developing countries but the Devil is in the detail.


Numsa News No 1, April 2012

Word Tags

Climate change
Numsa National Education Officer
‘Mother nature rights’
‘climate change inequality
Corporate social responsibility
UN framework Convention on climate change (UNFCC)
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation