STREAM 1, FINLAND 2023
World Convention in Finland 2023
Injustice in a World of Uncertainty
Stream 1: Climate Change, Insecurity and Danger
(A hybrid stream of in-person, online and pre-recorded presentations)
#1: Decolonisation as Disaster Resilience in Kashmir
Author(s): Omer Aijazi, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Abstract: I interrogate the knotting of Empire and disaster in Kashmir, a disputed territory, currently claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan. Drawing on ethnographic research, planning reports, and my experiences as a humanitarian in the region, I show how technologies of disaster management prop colonial occupation. Communities in Kashmir remain highly susceptible to environmental catastrophes or are unable to recover from them, not simply because of poor planning or careless humanitarian intervention, as commonly insisted, but because of the ongoing occupation that structures these domains. I argue that disaster resilience can only be achieved if the structures of occupation are dismantled. And that the concepts and categories put forth by disaster studies must be refreshed in line with local calls for self-determination and freedom. Or, how might foregrounding decolonization, rather than disaster management, help re-envision Kashmir’s futurities amidst environmental decline and ruin?
#2: Surviving Climate Change on a Very Low Income: Economic Justice for the MAPA
Author(s): Laura Bannister, Campaign Director of World Basic Income, UK
Abstract: Although climate change is ‘the biggest threat that modern humans have ever faced,’ we are not all in it together. If you are among the half of the world’s people that have a very low income you are likely to suffer far more than the rest. Your livelihood, especially if it comes from farming, is likely to be much more precarious and sensitive to climate shocks. Your housing is likely to be less resilient to extreme heat, hurricanes and flooding. Your migration options, thanks to a hostile international border regime, are likely to be hazardous and limited.
Despite these challenges, and growing climate justice demands from Black and Indigenous climate movements, economic justice and income security are rarely considered in mainstream climate policy. This session examines why these crucial issues are so often left out and explores the potential of a new big idea - a global carbon cap and dividend - to plug the gap.
#3: Local Governments and Climate Change
Author(s): P.P.Balan, Consultant, Ministry of Panchayt Raj, Government of India, India
Abstract: Local Governments in India are playing a prominent role to tackle many of the causes and effects of climate change. Being closer to the people, local governments have the opportunities to catalyse and sustain the behavioural change at individual and community levels necessary for building a more resilient community. Given their proximity to the community local governments have the advantage of responding faster and more effectively to local climate events than institutions and organisations at higher levels of the governance structures. Generally, it is observed that climate change can only be addressed at higher level through national or international policy making and large scale financial investments in implementation and enforcement. While global commitment and co-operation are paramount, sustained local actions initiated and coordinated by local governments are necessary for successfully addressing climate issues.
In India, many of the local governments have come forward with action plans to protect the communities from the threat of climate change. The case of one rural local body needs special mention as it stands ahead in its myriad activities and has become a role model for others to emulate. It is the Meenamgadi Gram Panchayat of Kerala with its focused attention on Carbon Neutral. This rural local government followed an integrated systematic approach considering local risks, vulnerabilities and there by securing maximum benefits for the local community. Of course, Meenamgadi’s success story is replicated all over India where there are three million local governments joining hands to create a resilient community.
As financial support is meagre from the national government, local governments go for no cost to low-cost activities, and they are not in a position to undertake bigger projects which involves financial commitment. At the national level there is dearth of funds. No doubt developing countries require “substantive enhancement” in climate finance beyond the floor commitment of $100 billion a year to meet their ambitious goals and rich countries need to lead the mobilisation of resources, India has trust at the ongoing UN climate submit COP-27 in Egypt.
Rich countries, however, have failed to deliver this finance. Developing countries, including India,are pushing with pace to agree to new global climate finance target; also known as the collective quantified goal on climate finance (NCQG) – which they say should be in trillions of dollars given that the cost of addressing and adapting to climate change have grown substantially. Indeed, India has clearly stated that to meet climate action the national determined contribution (NDC) requires financial, technological and capacity building support from the developed countries.
#4: Politics of Forest Rights in India: Un/Re-Doing Historical Injustice to Forest-
Author(s): Amir Sohel and Prof. Farhat Naz, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (IITJ), Rajasthan, India.
Abstract: After the Kyoto Protocol, forest-centric climate change mitigation strategies have gained momentum in the policy arena and academic discourses. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) claimed forests could play an inevitable role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement goal. The over emphasising of forests as individual entities often undermined the rights and role of marginal forest-dwelling communities. India is one of the top forest-rich countries, with more than 275 million forest-dependent people. Forest-dwelling communities in India have always been the victims of colonial and post-independent policies and Acts. This paper traces the historical injustice from colonial to post-independence with forest-dwelling communities. Also, it critically analyses the politics of forest rights in India.
Forest-dwelling communities have been living in the vicinity of forests since the dawn of civilisation. In ancient times, forests were managed through different customary laws across different parts of the country. After colonisation, the British imperial government enacted many draconian laws to maximise revenue and control over forest resources. After independence, the Government of India continued the colonial legacy. Moreover, due to the enactment of the Wildlife Conservation Act (1972), forest-dependent communities became encroachers on their ancestral land and faced mass eviction. As a result of the nationwide mass movement, Campaign for Survival & Dignity, the Government of India was compelled to enact the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in 2006, commonly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA 2006). The objectives of FRA 2006 are to un-do historical injustice and decentralise forest governance. FRA 2006 recognise several rights, including individual, community, and management rights. Although the FRA 2006 in place, still the forest department is subverting the FRA 2006 by slowing down the implementation process to rejecting the claim of forest rights even without citing any reason. In 2019, Supreme Court ordered the eviction of forest dwellers (approximately 10 million) in response to a writ petition on the constitutional validity of FRA 2006 by Wildlife First (NGO). Later, Supreme Court Stayed the eviction order. The space of forest governance becomes the tussling ground of holding power among different stakeholders. The recent climate change centric forest management strategy intervention can further centralise forest governance. There is a high possibility of re doing injustice to forest-dwelling communities. Without doing justice to the forest-dependent marginal communities, it’s unlikely to achieve climate justice broadly social justice or SDGs.
#5: Climate Change and Green Social Work: An Ecosocialist Critique
Author(s): Erick da Luz Scherf, Department of Social Studies, University of Stavanger, Norway
Abstract: Green Social Work (GSW) has emerged as a theoretical movement within the Social Work discipline to address the ‘environmental question’, by bridging the social and the ecological worlds and recognizing the intersection between ecological and socioeconomic injustices. GSW - otherwise referred to as Eco-social Work as well - denounces the consequences that environmental degradation and the exploitation of nature have on the biopsychosocial wellbeing of individuals and communities, especially those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. With the acceleration of climate change and the climate emergency, the questions posed by GSW seem to be of utmost importance for the future of the social work profession in a world of growing socio-environmental injustices. However, I would argue that, despite the essentially political character of GSW, it does not go far enough to recognize (and perhaps advocate against) the roots of climate change, which can be traced back to the nature of the global capitalist system itself and its (irrational) logic of economic self-interest, infinite accumulation of resources, and the commodification of the environment. With that said, the main goal of this conceptual research paper is to address the GSW debate through the theoretical and political lenses of ecosocialism, in order to provide a more critical and perhaps more politically engaged stance on socio-environmental questions faced by social work scholars and practitioners.
#6: Environmental Populism: The Populist Rhetoric, Faith Leaders and Religious Solution
Author(s): Akanksha Indora, Ph.D. Research Scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Abstract: Development projects and economic development ideas affect the environment. The people get affected at the marginal position (indigenous/ local) in societies and the mainstream. Likewise, in India, development projects affect marginalized communities, their sense of security, and their ability to use welfare services and resources. In times of populist politics, religions can effectively promote (or block) climate change mitigation and adaptation. The solutions to environmental problems are provided through religious sentiments and rhetoric. Populist leaders disseminate environmental values and worldviews to their people, engage in lobbying for corresponding political decisions, and implement mitigation or adaptation projects. Historically, various scholarships have suggested a “greening” of religions and developed a discourse that leads to faith traditions. Faith leaders adopt the discourse and increasingly draw on their potential and address environmental challenges. The common people are provided the religious solution to environmental problems even by the nationalist school of thought, especially in India. The faith leaders and communities became crucial agents in climate change mitigation and adaptation. In many regions of India, the rhetoric of religion, nation, and environment goes hand in hand. Religion is a tool to mobilize the mass and hence, it is assumed to play a central role in people’s worldviews and everyday lifestyles as well as in the public sphere where faith leaders often enjoy high credibility. This paper would be focusing on the empirical research conducted in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India to situate the role of faith leaders in raising the rhetoric of greening religion and an increasing grasp of environmental problems in politics.