US President Biden invites Colombia, Mexico, Canada and other countries to a Leaders Summit on Climate, April 22-23

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

On March 27, a White House statement announced: “President Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate he will host on April 22 and 23.”

The statement adds: “The Summit will reconvene the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP.”

It also notes: “The President also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy.”

Those invited to the meeting include Colombian president Iván Duque Márquez and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will also participate along with the leaders of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

This meeting will take place in the lead up to the United Nations COP26 climate summit on November 1-12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Global Witness has documented: “On average, four defenders have been killed every week since December 2015 – the month the Paris Climate agreement was signed, amid hopes of a new era of climate progress. Countless more are silenced by violent attacks, arrests, death threats, sexual violence or lawsuits.”

Global Witness further notes: “Between 2015 and 2019 over a third of all fatal attacks have targeted indigenous people – even though indigenous communities make up only 5% of the world’s population.”

Front Line Defenders recently documented that 177 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2020 and that 19 were killed in Mexico.

Overall, that report highlights: “69% of those killed worked on land, environmental or indigenous peoples’ rights. 26% [were] working specifically on Indigenous peoples’ rights.”

Given this reality, particularly in Latin America, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed this resolution that affirms: “Human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.”

And yet it has been a challenge to have human rights fully acknowledged at UN COP climate summit talks and at present language referencing human rights is only in the preamble rather than the operative provisions of the Paris Agreement.

We call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to acknowledge on April 22 the crucial role of environmental human rights defenders and amplify the UN Resolution on their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Similarly, PBI-USA recently called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to: “[Elevate] the need for protection of environmental and land defenders, and ensuring justice for attacks against them, as a core part of the Biden Administration’s overall climate strategy, including in its engagement at the UN Climate Change Conference [this November in Glasgow].”

Those interested can watch to see if this happens. The White House statement notes: “The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.”

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