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A regional tax network called Southeast Asia Tax Justice Forum was formally created during the Southeast Asia Regional Tax Conference held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 27 to 28.

The Southeast Asia Tax Justice Forum hopes to develop a tax justice regional advocacy agenda, facilitate exchange of information and work together on common tax campaign issues among various organizations in the region.

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To the Secretary General of the UN, Dr. Ban Ki-moon;
To the Governments of States members of the Security Council and the MINUSTAH;
To the international community and public at large

Receive our greetings.

It is surprising and humiliating to certify that "Haiti is a threat to world peace and security", as the UN Security Council does, year after year, in order to ratify the presence there of a military-police mission said to be for the purposes of stabilization: the MINUSTAH.

It is a statement that hides the impunity of the major powers and the hypocrisy that allows them to intervene militarily, politically, and economically in Haiti, drawing as well on the services of others.

The real threat is that intervention itself, a laboratory as well for new forms of domination and popular control.

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image012A technological revolution will have to be completed in the next 30 to 40 years in order to overcome poverty and avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, this was the message of Manuel "Butch" Montes during the Philippine launching of the World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation on August 1, 2011 at the National College of Public Administration, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Organized by Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Action for Economic Reforms (AER), the book launching provided Mr. Montes the opportunity to present the key messages of the report.

Mr. Montes pointed out that over the past two centuries, exponential population growth and enormous improvements in human welfare have come at the lasting cost of degradation of our natural environment. He said business as usual is not an option and that there is an urgent need to find new development pathways to end poverty and avert the catastrophic impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

Addressing the more than a hundred individuals who attended the book launching, Mr. Montes stressed that a major technological overhaul as far-reaching as that of the first industrial revolution is the only way to promote economic progress that can lift millions out of poverty while ensuring environmental limits are not exceeded.

He said many of the technologies needed for a green economy are already available. The main challenge is how to further improve and adapt these technologies to local needs, so they can be diffused widely.

He explained that because the old, dirty technologies are still cheaper in most instances than green technologies, governments will have to play a leading role in making the transition. He said innovation policies for sustainable development should be an integral part of national development strategies.

He added that besides reshaping national development efforts, a sustained increase and reform in international cooperation and finance is also needed.

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image014More than a hundred individuals from various organizations agreed on a campaign pushing for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by Annex 1 countries as well as demands concerning climate finance during the Climate Campaign Conference organized by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and the Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD) held at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), University of the Philippines, Diliman on August 1, 2011.

In workshops that discussed action plans for the campaign for climate justice and reparations for climate debt, participants affirmed the proposed campaign plan presented by JSAPMDD Regional Coordinator Lidy Nacpil involving a two-track approach. The first track involves issues on GHG emissions while the second focuses on climate finance.

For the emissions track, participants agreed to contribute to a coordinated effort among many climate justice groups to prevent the U.S. and its Annex 1 allies to put in place an individual pledging system as a replacement to an internationally binding agreement on targets for the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. There was also a consensus to push for more ambitious targets in GHG emission cuts by Annex 1 countries and to plug loopholes and correct the flaws of the Kyoto Protocol that allow for carbon trading and offsets.

For the climate finance track, participants were united in advancing demands on the nature, sources, purpose and use of climate finance. In particular, the participants agreed that climate finance should be from public sources and not in the form loans and that money should be spent on adaptation measures and not just mitigation. There was also an agreement to campaign for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) not to have any role in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and climate finance.

During the workshop, the participants outlined specific actions to further substantiate the proposed campaign plans. There was a recognition that a massive information drive needs to be undertaken to mobilize sectors for protest actions, especially during the Week of Action on November 13 to 19, 2011. It was also pointed out that emission cuts must be made through domestic measures and that governments and multi-national corporations must grant reparations to affected communities.

Prior to the workshop discussions, JSAPMDD Regional Coordinator Lidy Nacpil gave a presentation entitled "The Struggle for Climate Justice and Reparations for Climate Debt". Lidy explained the domino effects of climate change, pointing out that there is a short window of time to undertake drastic changes in human activities to prevent "catastrophic" climate change. She also discussed science of climate change, stressing that the problem is not GHG emissions per se but excessive emissions that go beyond the earth's capacity to absorb GHGs. She further tackled the history and political economy of the issue, noting that climate change has systemic roots and that the history of sharp increase in GHG emissions coincides with the emergence and growth of capitalism while the most rapid increase occurred in the last forty years.

Lidy also explained that rich industrialized countries have the largest contribution to GHG emissions and GHG concentration in the atmosphere and that governments of rich, industrialized countries are responsible for policies that drive, reinforce and perpetuate the system. Meanwhile, people of the South suffer the impacts more intensely even though they contributed least or not at all to the problem.

To achieve science-based, just and equitable solutions, Lidy stressed the need to transform the system as well as to undertake immediate, deep, drastic and domestic cuts in GHG emissions, deal with current impacts of climate change through adaptation measures, ensure technological shifts, transfers and alternatives, and provide adequate financing. She said global agreements need to cover these issues to actively respond to the consequences of climate change.

Lidy then discussed the concept of climate debt and reparations as a starting point of the struggle for climate justice. She said that the recognition of climate debt and the right to remedial measures and reparations is central to climate justice. Climate debt is owed by those responsible for unhampered, excessive GHG emissions cumulatively using more than their fair share of atmospheric space and destroying the earth's capacity to absorb GHGs.

She then discussed the state of play in the current climate struggle. She clarified that the Kyoto Protocol (KP) is not expiring but that the 1st commitment period for the countries' respective pledges to reduce GHG emissions ends in 2012. The 2nd commitment period is supposed to start in 2013 but countries are failing to agree on targets as the US and its allies are trying to derail the KP by pushing for another approach. She then explained the pledge and review system or the bottom up approach being pushed by the US instead of the top down approach.

Lidy also touched on issues involving climate finance as she pointed out that World Bank has been appointed as interim trustee of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the design of which is currently being discussed by the Transitional Committee. She said that part of the struggle on climate change is the campaign for the World Bank not to have a role in the GCF.

Lidy then presented the proposed campaign on the climate issue, which the workshop groups used to come up with action plans to operationalize the campaign. A workshop discussion per sectoral group then ensued. After the workshop, the outputs were presented in the plenary.

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Days before the meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Tokyo, Japan last July 12 to 14, 2011, fifty-eight (58) civil society organizations and social movements from across the globe launched an email action addressed to members of the TC urging them not give the World Bank a role in the GCF.

"It was much to our dismay that the World Bank was appointed as Trustee of the Green Climate Fund for the interim period. Its role should end there. It should not be given a place in the regular structures and operations of the Fund. Our experience and knowledge of the World Bank lead us to believe it is not an institution that should be entrusted with such a Fund," stated the email action led by Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD) and posted at the www.worldbank outofclimate.org website.

The Conference of Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided last December 2010 to set up the GCF. The decision included the formation of a Transitional Committee with the task of drafting a proposed design for the GCF and submitting it for action at the next COP in Durban, South Africa in December 2011. A related decision was to name the World Bank as "trustee" of the Fund for the "interim period." The role of the Trustee and the length of interim period were not made very explicit in the decision.

"The World Bank has a long track record of aggressively promoting fossil fuel projects and other programs that exacerbate climate change and harm the environment. An institution that actively promotes the causes of global warming should not be given a role in global climate finance," part of the email action said.

Aside from the email action, members of JSAPMDD and its network also sent letters to Ambassadors of Norway, Mexico and South Africa as the three countries are the Co-Chairs of the Transitional Committee.

Similar to the email action, the letter urged the Ambassadors to relay to their governments the strong opposition to the World Bank having a role in the GCF.

The letter also stated that climate finance is needed by the people of the developing countries to enable them to deal with the impacts of climate change and pursue an alternative development pathway for equitable and sustainable societies. The letter pointed out that "it is the obligation of developed countries ("Annex 1") under the UNFCCC to provide this finance."

The email action to the TC members and the letter to the ambassadors are a response to the Climate Action Alert Number 1 signed by 58 organizations from all over the globe. The action alert urged the public to send the email action and letter to ambassadors as well as letters to the editor.