The People`s Agreement of Cochabamba: A Vision for Sustainable Development

In April 2010, over 35,000 representatives from civil society organizations, indigenous groups, and social movements gathered in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba for the World People`s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. This historic conference was organized in response to the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Summit to produce a meaningful agreement to address climate change. The conference produced a document known as the People`s Agreement of Cochabamba, which outlines a vision for sustainable development that prioritizes the needs and rights of marginalized communities and indigenous peoples.

The People`s Agreement of Cochabamba recognizes that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also a social and economic issue that disproportionately affects the world`s poorest and most vulnerable populations. The agreement calls for a paradigm shift away from the current model of unsustainable development based on the exploitation of natural resources and the commodification of life towards a model that puts people and the planet at the center of development.

One of the key principles of the People`s Agreement of Cochabamba is the concept of «living well,» which is based on the Andean indigenous concept of «suma qamaña.» This principle emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with nature and respecting the rights of Mother Earth. It calls for a holistic approach to development that recognizes the interdependence of all living beings and the need for a balance between human needs and the needs of the planet.

The People`s Agreement of Cochabamba also calls for the recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and their knowledge systems. It recognizes that indigenous peoples have a unique understanding of the environment and a deep connection to the land that can provide valuable insights into sustainable development practices. The agreement calls for the participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes that affect their lives and the environment.

The People`s Agreement of Cochabamba also calls for the establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal to hold accountable those responsible for climate change and its impacts on vulnerable communities. It recognizes that developed countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and calls for them to provide financial and technological support to developing countries to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change and transition to sustainable development pathways.

The People`s Agreement of Cochabamba is a visionary document that provides a roadmap for a just and sustainable future for all. Its principles and recommendations are more relevant now than ever as the world faces the urgent challenge of climate change and its impacts on people and the planet. It is a reminder that real solutions to climate change must prioritize the needs and rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and that sustainable development can only be achieved through a holistic and inclusive approach that respects the interdependence of all living beings.