October 1, 2023

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(a) Fair and green changes? – DW – 07/17/2023

“On the New Agenda European union In Latin America and the Caribbean, social cohesion is mentioned once, inequality four times, human rights ten times, investment 35 times, and trade 37 times,” explains Hernán Sanz from Oxfam to DW. “The continent needs not just infrastructure and cables, but freedom, rights, Democracy, environmental protection, gender equality are needed. We wanted to balance the scales,” he adds.

At the Bi-Regional Summit (EU-CELAC) bringing together heads of state and government from 60 countries, has made a major effort to be at the forefront of civil society. The news comes at a time when European companies are promoting the green transition and ensuring that they supply the European economy with vital raw materials and renewable energy.

Before copper, now lithium

“Communities in Chile are running out of water because of all the liquids needed for extraction Lithium”, warns Andrea Sato from the Sol de Chile Foundation at the Just Transitions Forum.

Due to decades of bad experiences, European certifications to ensure sustainability in the activities of their organizations do not enjoy much goodwill among civil society organizations, and now, Green washing.

With closed public spaces?

On the other hand, comes from a Guatemala Its democratic future is very much under threat, and civil space has been reduced for years – the persecution of social movements and freedom of expression – said Jorge Santos, from the Defense Unit of the Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala (Udefagua). DW: “I don’t know if Latin America really needs green investment right now. It needs to further strengthen its democracy. Otherwise, Europe invests in corrupt countries that violate human rights. Only then is the democracy pillar guaranteed, and it should discuss investment and trade exchanges.

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Protest in front of the Guatemalan embassy in Brussels. (16.07.2023).Photo: Mirra Panchan/DW

Investments at critical times

Sonia Kapan, who represents women of indigenous peoples, told DW that she feels little is being reflected in their demands: “They talk to us about fair changes and gender policies. But they don’t reach us. My population continues to be huge. The poor and femicide and forced motherhood are on the rise. .” All civil society actors contacted by DW were disappointed that their issues were not addressed at formal summits.

However, a day after the EU-CELAC business summit announced 45 billion euros to invest in the Global Gateway initiative, Gloria García from Oxfam, warns: “Latin America is very sensitive. Time, and these investments can worsen democracy, we must not go down that path. to protect.

as? Civil society forums agree: for the new relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean to be truly a “reboot”, a multi-stakeholder mechanism (including civil society organizations) with clear monitoring indicators is needed as a first step towards agreements, investments. and relations between the two regions.