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International conference on integral ecology: Exploring options for territorial communion with the Amazon and other critical global biomes

15 March 2019

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As part of the process leading to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region in October 2019 at the Vatican, the International Conference on Integral Ecology: A synodal response from the Amazon and other essential biomes/territories for the care of our common home will take place on 19 to 21 March 2019 at Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA.

This international conference is part of the diverse actions and international advocacy that Red Eclesial Panamazónica (REPAM), a Latin American Catholic Church network created to respond to the challenges facing the people of the Amazon and their natural environment, is developing in communion with Laudato Si’.  The establishment of REPAM is an initiative that springs from the action of the Holy Spirit that guides the Church in embodying the call to care for the Common Home and towards a socio-environmental and pastoral conversion.

The three-day conference will work from the methodology of see-judge-act, developed from the approaches and essential axes of integral ecology in Laudato Si’.  The event intends to search for answers for the world as a whole to respond to the urgency of our Common Home and discuss its importance for the Church as outlined in Laudato Si’ and offers an opportunity to share about the process towards the Synod of the Amazon in October. The conference also seeks to encourage an innovative pastoral perspective that allows a territorial communion in the biomes essential for the planet and thus continue to advance with the defense of our Common Home.

Participants are expected from biomes across the world such as the Amazon, the Congo Basin, the Mesoamerican biological corridor, and the tropical forests of the Asia Pacific region to discuss the importance that these regions have for the universal Church in Laudato Si’ and Evangelii Gaudium towards pastoral and socioecological conversions.

The Pan-Amazon region is historically conceived as a space that must be occupied, controlled, and integrated according to external interests since at first it was considered a wasteland. The Pan-Amazon region has a great socio-diversity as it shelters 2.8 million Indigenous Peoples belonging to 390 groups-nationalities and 137 isolated or uncontacted groups.  There are 240 spoken languages belonging to 49 linguistic families.

In this context, the Pan-Amazon is building bridges to collaborate with other biomes and territories essential for the future of the planet and other regions that followed the path of REPAM such as the Ecclesial Network of the Congo Basin (REBAC).  At the same time, processes of socio-pastoral and socio-environmental articulation are being explored in the Asia Pacific and Mesoamerica regions.

REPAM coordinates the event in collaboration with Georgetown University, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US, and with REPAM’s network of collaborators from various congregations and institutions in Washington and New York as co-sponsors and co-hosts. Support is also obtained from Vatican offices such as the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Caritas Internationalis, the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN and the Organization of American States, the participation of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, and others.

The conference contributes to the international reflections of REPAM and to the Synodal process in urgently bringing to life the calls of Laudato Si’ and Evangelii Gaudium in an international perspective with a socio-political advocacy approach. It is an effort to promote an ecclesial and civil international dynamism that reinforces territorial identities and the cries and hopes of its peoples.

For more information, please contact the Executive Secretariat of REPAM: Mauricio López Oropeza ([email protected]) with a copy to Ms Susana Espinosa ([email protected]).

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