Climate change is a ‘structural sin’, say African bishops and demand action from world leaders
The Africa Climate Dialogues is an initiative bringing together Church and civil society actors as well as allies, including communities and religious leaders from across the African continent and European organisations.
From July to September, five sessions of the African Climate Dialogues were held. These were: False Climate Solutions and the Congo Basin; Food systems, agriculture and adaptation; Finance; Loss and Damage and Adaptation; and climate-induced migration and displacement.
Each of these sessions saw a diverse list of stakeholders and experts come together to discuss and reflect on their experience, with a particular focus on the moral and spiritual dimensions of the climate crisis and the actions needed at COP27.
Participants were invited to respond to expert presentations, engage with each other and contribute to a shared outcome.
The communiqué, which SECAM and members of the African Climate Dialogues launched on October 17, was the culmination of what had been discussed during these sessions.
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On false climate solutions and the Congo Basin, participants in the Africa Climate Dialogues have, among other proposals, highlighted the need to transform Africa’s fossil fuel-based energy system into one powered by renewable energy sources. to deliver energy in a fair and equitable way for people and promote energy sovereignty, and protect the rights of communities and ecosystems while they are at it.
Participants also stressed the need to promote peace and regional integration in Africa, particularly in the Congo Basin, by protecting ecosystems, regenerating the Lake Chad Basin, respecting human rights, establishing and enforcing binding regulations and the rule of law, and raising public awareness of the impacts of climate change.
They further expressed the need to establish and restore community management of natural resources such as forests, rangelands and fishing grounds, and to shift to new sources of energy that are locally produced, cheap, accessible and benefiting local and indigenous communities in Africa.
On food systems, agriculture and adaptation, members of the African Climate Dialogues have deemed it necessary to make agroecology a key theme of COP27.
Among a set of key questions on climate finance, participants argue that the North “must pay” the ecological debt it owes the South.
They further highlight the need to provide new, accessible, adequate, predictable and additional climate finance from public sources that meets the needs of local people and communities.
Faith-based entities and civil organizations also point to the need to provide a loss and damage financing facility at COP27 funded through sanctions imposed on private and public sector polluters based on well-defined measures, including from public sources.
“Religious leaders, including the Holy See, senior Church leaders and Bishops from Africa, should speak out for civil society on the issue of loss and damage at COP27,” they said. said the participants in the dialogues.
SECAM and members of the African Climate Dialogues have also, during their sessions, discussed the issue of climate-induced migration and displacement and highlighted the strong interconnection between climate, migration, conflict and food security. . This situation, they said, requires urgent awareness, comprehensive policies, a better link between humanitarian and sustainable development assistance, and adequate funding.