Action at the regional, national and local levels
“Seeing the suffering of our brothers and sisters […] we are moved to respond to the poverty and inequality caused by a development based on environmentally unsustainable economic activities, the improper use of natural resources and increasing unplanned urbanisation that endanger the people who suffer from disasters, all of which is aggravated by the effect of global warming.”
– Declaration by Caritas members in Latin America and the Caribbean, Third RegionalWorkshop on Environment, Risk Management and Emergencies (Lima, October 2008).
In order to respond to these disturbing trends, Caritas agencies are building their understanding of climate change and its impacts through various initiatives. Caritas India organised a climate change conference in September 2008 and has embarked on a capacity building initiative at the local level to better integrate climate change considerations in its planning.
The Siyabhabha Trust (Caritas South Africa) is looking at how existing local coping strategies can inform climate resilience strategies. Caritas members from Latin America and the Caribbean held a workshop in October 2008 on environment, risk management and emergencies and developed recommendations for the climate justice campaign. Caritas organisations are working to ensure that the priorities of the poor are included in plans for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Caritas members are engaged in educational and capacity-building efforts to become more effective advocates, at the local and regional levels, to address the impact of climate change in their respective communities. For example, during 2008, Caritas Peru organised workshops with the participation of Caritas staff, in order to prioritise problems, formulate strategic objectives and recommend appropriate measures against the negative effects of climate change.
Catholic Relief Services works with other Catholic organisations to challenge Catholics in the USA to live their faith by recognising the links between their actions and their impact on others around the globe. The CRS campaign promotes the following messages:
Many Caritas agencies are interacting with other networks to promote awareness of climate change and build advocacy strategies to combat climate change. A number of Caritas members (including Caritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales), Caritas Bangladesh and Caritas Kenya) are members of national and regional Climate Action Networks that are active in mobilising civil society in demanding stronger commitments from governments in the UNFCCC process to forge a strong agreement in combating climate change. Caritas Kenya is a member of the Kenya Climate Change Working Group that is composed of all civil society organisations working in the area of climate change in Kenya. The coalition aims to research, create awareness and contribute towards national legislation on climate change.
RESOURCESAnnual reportHow Caritas works: Climate Change Guide on Environmental JusticeClimate change on Caritas BlogClimate justice newsletter vol. 6