Members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) are calling on world leaders expected to be part of the planned 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to come up with policies that are earth-friendly in order to avert the effects of climate change.
In a statement delivered at the Faith and the Future webinar, Empowering Environmental Stewardship through the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) on Thursday, October 12, SECAM members said Africa is “experiencing exacerbated climate change and biodiversity loss.”
They also welcomed Pope Francis’ October 4 Apostolic Exhortation on the Climate Crisis, Laudate Deum, saying, it “illustrates the global social issues of climate change and echoes the obvious nature of climate change impacts.”
“As Catholic communities in Africa, we ask the leaders at the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), to recognize their moral duty and commit to urgently taking ambitious action to protect our common home and the most vulnerable,” SECAM members said in their message read out by SECAM Program Manager in the Justice, Peace and Development Commission, Simson Mwale.
They emphasized the need for world leaders at the November 30 – December 12 meeting to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to “ensure that they listen to the plight of the earth and of the most vulnerable by phasing out fossil fuels, endorsing and adopting the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
SECAM members also called upon COP28 participants to “tackle both climate change and biodiversity loss” and come up with policies that protect Africans and the rights of indigenous people on the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent.
“We need to protect Africa and the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular, must be uplifted, as they are the best guardians of our common home,” Catholic Bishops in Africa said during the webinar that Laudato Si' Movement - Africa organized.
They added, “Economic policies must prioritize efforts to accelerate emission reductions through just transition processes and operationalize the loss and damage fund ensuring that they are aligned with the bold goal to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.”
Citing Pope Francis in Laudate Deum, SECAM members emphasized the need for good political decisions in altering the effects of the climate crisis.
“The most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level,” Catholic Bishops in Africa said.