Senior figures from the Catholic Church in Africa are calling for world leaders to finally agree to provide finance for Loss and Damage to help countries in the continent facing the devastating impacts of climate change at the annual UN climate conference (COP27) taking place in Egypt from 7 to 18 November 2022.
In a recently-launched paper, Responding to the Signs of the Times: A Theological Reflection on Loss and Damage, senior church figures concluded that progress on the issue should be a priority goal for the conference, and that agreement of a financial package for Loss and Damage is necessary to achieve climate goals agreed in Paris in 2015.
The new publication reflects on the issue of Loss and Damage in light of Catholic Social Teaching principles and church teachings and constitutes a theological opinion that climate finance to help communities already affected by climate change is the preferential option for the poor.
Father Leonard Chiti SJ, Provincial of the Jesuit Southern Africa province in the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) said: “We are now in the era of Loss and Damage. All over the world, climate impacts are taking hold, causing deep and painful suffering for millions of people. It is a moral imperative that world leaders respond to this at COP27, and deliver a financial package for communities impacted by Loss and Damage.”
Bishop Charles Kasonde, Chairperson of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) said: “As children of God, we have a duty to care for all of His creation. We are also called to care for the poor in all that we do. It is vitally important that our response to the climate crisis is one that puts the needs of the poor first. At COP27, that means supporting finance for the issue of Loss and Damage.”
In the lead-up to COP27, Catholic actors in Africa are building significant momentum on key issues, and look set to be major moral influencers over proceedings in Egypt. Church actors hosted a series of high-profile forums called the African Climate Dialogues, an initiative to bring together Church and civil society actors and allies including communities and religious leaders from across the African continent and European organizations to share African realities, personal experiences, and perspectives on key topics related to the UN climate conference COP27.
This story is drawn from an article by Father Charles Chilufya SJ, Director of the Justice and Ecology Office at JCAM, and where the Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network in Africa (JENA) operates. JENA is currently running a climate justice advocacy campaign in preparation for COP27.