Towards global collaboration for integral ecology

Towards global collaboration for integral ecology

Mr Efa Ravelonantoandro, Program Manager of the Environment and Sustainable Development Program of Centre Arrupe Madagascar, a Jesuit social center in Antananarivo, Madagascar, shares his reflection of the Ecojesuit Meeting 2023. This article is originally written in French and published in the February 2024 edition of the APSE Newsletter of the social and ecological apostolate of the Jesuit Province of Madagascar. Currently, the Centre is engaging in national and international advocacies against the use of fossil fuel and single-use plastic bags.

Prior to the pandemic, Ecojesuit organized annual meetings around the world, in Bonn, Germany in 2017, in Leticia, Colombia in 2018, and in Mumbai, India in 2019. These meetings aimed to discern how the network could strengthen its collaboration in an ever-changing global context. The current context, marked by unprecedented social and ecological challenges, has made it imperative to reflect on ecological commitments at Conference, Province and local levels.

The Ecojesuit Meeting 2023 was held from 7 to 13 August 2023 and is a crucial time for Ecojesuit, the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN)-Ecology, with leadership transitions taking place. Representatives of the network gathered at Balay Laudato Si’ in Sitio Bendum in Bukidnon, in northern Mindanao in the Philippines. The meeting theme, Commitment, Communication, and Collaboration, set the stage for in-depth discussions on how local, regional and global collaboration can be strengthened to meet today’s social and ecological challenges.

The Ecojesuit Meeting 2023 has three objectives: 1) Engagement, which is about listening to the contexts and challenges of ecological commitments at Conference, Province, and local levels to strengthen Ecojesuit actions and connectivity; 2) Collaboration, to identify links between Conferences where broader partnership is possible; and 3) Communication, to strengthen network communication strategies and processes for effective advocacy.

Efa sharing the ecology activities of the Centre Arrupe Madagascar during the Ecojesuit Meeting 2023

Five sessions were undertaken during the three-day meeting. The first was dedicated to sharing local and regional experiences on climate, agroecology, youth engagement, church networking, politics, and energy (just transition). The second session was on revising the five shared areas framework for global collaboration and mobilizing Indigenous Peoples and youth. The third was on community research for food and water justice while the fourth session tackled the identification of broader linkages and partnerships. For the fifth session, three topics were discussed: communications and networking for advocacy and climate action, networking and communications challenges, and reviewing and strengthening Ecojesuit channels, platforms and online materials.

There was a final session that focused on action plans for COP28 and the Ecojesuit program for 2024. Field trips to the forest areas in Bendum also took place that offered practical perspectives on how the indigenous youth are managing the forest and water resources and biodiversity in their ancestral domain.

Efa (middle) in Bendum, with Brother Ngonidzashe Edward SJ, Executive Director of the Jesuit Ecology and Development Center in Malawi and Father Pedro Walpole SJ, Ecojesuit Global Coordinator

The three-day meeting enabled in-depth sharing, identifying the contexts and challenges of ecological commitments at Conference, Province and local levels. Links were established between conferences, paving the way for broader partnerships.

This article is also available in French.

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