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The drought-plagued desert environment in Dawa, eastern Ethiopia, demands that any sustainable agricultural project use irrigation systems. Without irrigation, agriculture is completely dependent on the whims of the climate. Credits: Kevin Kostic/CRS

The drought-plagued desert environment in Dawa, eastern Ethiopia, demands that any sustainable agricultural project use irrigation systems. Without irrigation, agriculture is completely dependent on the whims of the climate.
Credits: Kevin Kostic/CRS

Climate change has a major impact on the availability of food and water. It particularly effects communities in hot zones with limited agricultural land and restricted access to water. Ethiopia is one such country.

Landlocked in the Horn of Africa between Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan, Ethiopia is plagued by periodic drought.

In an attempt to raise public awareness of this urgent problem, the Ethiopian Catholic Church is in the process of organizing an international conference entitled “Catholic Church Approach to Climate Justice – commitment for integrity of creation”.

The conference, which takes place on June 2-4, 2010 in Addis Ababa, is intended to develop practical strategies for the local Church to actively participate in the issue of Climate Justice at national and global and levels.

Nearly half of Ethiopia is mountainous and the available soil for farming has been degraded due to a long history of overgrazing, deforestation and poor agricultural practices. As a result, a large percentage of the population is vulnerable to food insecurity and hunger. Climate change will only worsen this problem.

Ethiopia must quickly move towards the formation and implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures to combat the negative impacts of climate change.

The conference will bring together Diocesan Catholic Secretariats, Caritas member organizations, local international bilateral and multi-lateral organizations, faith based organizations and government offices to develop a framework and action plan for active participation and contribution to global campaign for real and effective change. Ethical, moral, and theological dimensions of the climate change crisis will be discussed.

This meeting marks a practical step in setting the global framework and action plan for active participation and contribution in Ethiopia to the global campaign for real and affective change.

Information for this article was provided by Daniel Keftassa (Dr.) Assistant Executive Director of the Social and Development Commission.