Today, senior figures from the Catholic Church in Africa have called for world leaders to finally agree to providing finance for Loss and Damage to help countries in the continent facing the devastating impacts of climate change at the annual climate conference (COP27), taking place in Egypt later this year.
Marking the publication of a new paper entitled 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.
In the lead up to COP27, Catholic actors in Africa have been building significant momentum on key issues, and look set to be major moral influencers over proceedings in Egypt. Church actors are currently in the middle of hosting a series of high-profile forums called the African Climate Dialogues which will inform their positions on key climate-related issues ahead of the conference. The session on Loss and Damage takes place at 1200 GMT on Thursday 8th September, and will hear from global experts on the issue alongside church leaders, aiming to inform a strong position on the topic heading into the conference.
Fr Leonard Chiti (SJ), Provincial for Southern Africa, 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 for the Association of Episcopal Conferences of 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.”
French and Spanish versions of the paper will also be available soon.