EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, said the Forum was to be viewed as a model for “living together” and was an extension of the decades-long struggle of indigenous peoples for equality and justice. It was also appropriate that the Forum focus on climate change and the role of indigenous peoples in tackling that problem, since indigenous peoples were human beings with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else.
He noted that the indigenous movement had successfully organized itself to defend access to land and basic services, in the face of attacks and threats of extermination. That fight should continue for as long as needed. In the meantime, the Forum, along with similar bodies, could put forward alternative economic models to ensure the survival of indigenous peoples as they continued their quest.
In the context of finding solutions to environmental issues, including climate change, he said indigenous peoples had the moral authority to participate in those discussions, having lived closely with Mother Earth and defended it for ages. Indigenous peoples in
He said indigenous peoples wanted to express “how to live well” within their vision of Mother Earth, which was the source of life. Living well was not possible under the current capitalist system, which sought to turn Mother Earth into a capitalist good. The conclusion had been reached in many circles that the authorities of many places were to be blamed for encouraging climactic factors that caused harm to peoples, which had brought floods and global warming. A conversation must be held with other communities on establishing a new model for living. World leaders must encourage more contact with indigenous peoples.
He offered a series of “ten commandments” that he thought should underpin the new model, beginning with
First: a call to end the capitalist system. The capitalist system was inhuman and encouraged unbridled economic development. The exploitation of human beings and pillaging of natural resources must end, as should wars aimed at securing access to those resources. Also, the world should end the plundering of fossil fuels; excessive consumption of goods; the accumulation of waste; as well as the egoism, regionalism and thirst for earning where the pursuit of luxury was taking place at the expense of human beings. Countries of the south were heaped with external debt, when it was the ecological debt that needed paying.
Second, the world should denounce war, which brought advantage to a small few, he said. In that vein, it was time to end occupation under the pretext of “combating drugs”, such as in
Third, there should be a world without imperialism, he said, where no country was dependent upon or subordinate to another. States must look for complementarity rather than engage in unfair competition with each other. Member States of the United Nations should consider the asymmetry that exists among nations and seek a way to lessen deep economic differences. Moving along those lines, he said the Security Council — with its lifelong members holding veto rights — should be democratized.
Fourth, he said access to water should be treated as a human right, and policies allowing the privatization of water should be banned. Indigenous peoples had a long experience of mobilizing themselves to uphold the right to water. He proposed that they put forth the idea of forming an international convention on water to guarantee it as a human right and to protect against its appropriation by a select few.
Fifth, he said the world should promote clean and eco-friendly energies, as well as end the wasteful use of energy. He said it was understood that fossil fuels were nearing depletion, yet those who promoted biofuels in their place were making “a serious mistake”. It was not right to set aside land not for the benefit of human beings, but so that a small few could operate luxurious vehicles. It was also because of biofuels that the price of rice and bread has risen; and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were now warning that such policies must be prevented. The world should explore more sustainable forms of alternative energy, such as geothermal, solar, wind and hydro-electric power.
Sixth, he said there should be more respect for Mother Earth, and the indigenous movement must bring its influence to bear in fostering that attitude. The world must stop thinking of Mother Earth in the capitalist sense — which was that of a raw material to be traded. For who could privatize or hire out his mother?
Seventh, he stressed the importance of gaining access to basic services for all. Services such as education and transport should not be the preserve of private trade.
Eighth, he urged the consumption of only what was necessary and what was produced locally. There was a need to end consumerism, waste and luxury. It was an irony that millions of dollars were being spent to combat obesity in one half of the globe, while the other was dying of hunger. He said the impending food crisis would necessarily bring an end to the free market, where countries suffering hunger were being made to export their food. There was a similar case with oil, where the priority lay in selling it abroad, rather than domestically.
Ninth, he said it was important to promote unity and diversity of economies, and that the indigenous movement should put forth a call for unity and diversity in the spirit of multilateralism.
Tenth, the world should live under the tenet of “trying to live well”, he said, but not at the expense of others.
He said the best way forward lay in social movements, such as the indigenous people’s movement, which would not fall silent until it had brought about change. He ended by greeting fellow South Americans in the room, acknowledging their role in the fight. In
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ 10 commandments to save the planet, life and humanity:
1-Acabar con el sistema capitalista
1-Stopping the capitalist system
2-Renunciar a las guerras
3-Un mundo sin imperialismo ni colonialismo
3-A world without imperialism or colonialism
4-Derecho al agua
4-Right to water
5-Desarrollo de energías limpias
5-Development of clean energies
6-Respeto a la madre tierra
6-Respect for Mother Earth
7-Basic services as human rights
8-Combatir las desigualdades
9-Promover la diversidad de culturas y economías
9-Promoting diversity of cultures and economies
10-Vivir bien, no vivir mejor a costa
10-Living well, not living better at the expense of others