Vatican convenes ecological leadership summit

On July 5 and 6, the Vatican will host a major international conference on protection of the environment. The occasion of the conference is the third anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on care of the Earth, our common home.

The conference will discuss the moral imperative for protecting the environment and events this fall that may deliver progress in achieving it.  Participants will develop orientations on how to protect our planet including at forthcoming international events, such as the UN climate change conference COP24, and non-state events, such as the Global Climate Action Summit. Contributions by regions with heavily Catholic populations, such as Latin America, Australia, Poland, the Philippines, and the U.S. states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will be crucial to the success of these events.

Rebecca Moria is part of the livelihood program of Caritas Arua

Rebecca Moria is part of the livelihood program of Caritas Arua, Cordaid’s local partner organization. Her community has been given seeds and farming equipment to start growing crops. Photo by Petterik Wiggers/Hollandse Hoogte

This conference will provide a venue for Church leaders, political leaders, and grassroots organizers to more clearly formulate how to achieve that progress. Outcomes are expected to include a statement from Pope Francis and statements of support for increased global ambition on emissions, clean energy, and climate justice from unusually diverse perspectives.

A broad range of allies–including politicians, indigenous leaders, youth activists, and economists–are uniting under the Catholic Church’s vision of action to protect the Earth. From the Church itself, cardinals and other representatives from communities around the world, including educators, leaders of spiritual movements, and men and women religious will be present. Together, these allies share hope of justice for all who share our common home.

For outreach to journalists in regions and for focus outlets (e.g., conservative, business, youth) please choose one of the following:

  • European political perspectives from across the spectrum will be well represented at the conference. From the center right, Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben, MP UK, and Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz, Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, will present the conservative case for action on climate. MSP Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Parliament, will announce Scotland’s new three-year program of support for climate justice and adaptation in Malawi and Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, will share how climate is at the top of the agenda there.
  • Latin American issues will be well represented in the event. Delio Siticonatzi, a member of Pueblo Asháninka in Perú, will highlight his concerns as a young Amerindian. Cardinal Pedro Jimeno, Archbishop of Huancayo, Perú, will share how his community is already responding to the challenge of climate change. The upcoming Synod of the Amazon, to take place in Brazil, will be a special topic of discussion for all participants.
  • Pacific voices will be well represented at the event. Mr. Naderev Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, will describe how climate change is already devastating local communities. Ms Jade Hameister, a 16-year-old girl from Australia, will relate her story of trekking to both poles. Mr. Joseph Sapati Moeono-Kolio of the Pacific Climate Warriors, a group of New Zealander activists, will share the story of his radical commitment to climate advocacy. Ms Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a poet from the Marshall Islands, will read an original poem.
  • Conservative leaders will share their views. John Gummer, Lord Deben, British Conservative Party MP, will speak about his decades-long involvement in climate and clean energy. Polish Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz will describe how a conservative outlook aligns with her country’s role as the host of COP24.
  • The business community will provide important perspectives. Prof. Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics will issue an urgent call to act on economic grounds. The upcoming IMF and World Bank meetings and ethical investing will be special topics of discussion for all participants. On the heels of this event, the Vatican will host an “Impact Investing” summit on July 9 and 10.
  • Young people will have an unusually important role in this conference. The opening session of the event will be a panel discussion among young people from five continents, facilitated by CNN’s Delia Gallagher. Youth leaders will share their perspectives on the climate crisis they are inheriting in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Intergenerational justice will be a special topic of discussion for all participants the closing day of the event.

The conference program, including the full list of speakers, is available here.  Speakers include:

  • His Holiness Pope Francis
  • Leaders of international negotiations (Dr. Patricia Espinosa, Exec.. Sec., UNFCCC; Dr. Michał Kurtyka, Pres., COP24)
  • Politicians with a conservative perspective (Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben, Parliament of UK; Minster Jadwiga Emilewicz, Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology)
  • Economic thinkers (Prof. Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics; Mr. Pierre Larrouturou, Pacte Finance Climat pour l’Europe)
  • Youth organizers from the continents of Africa, South America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia
  • Representatives of grassroots movements (Mr. Bill McKibben, 350.org; Mr. Naderev Saño, Greenpeace Southeast Asia)
  • Catholic authorities from around the world (Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Sec. State; Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Cardinal Pedro Barreto, Archbishop of Huancayo, Perú; Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar; Fr. Robert Athickal, India; Fr. Rigobert Minani, Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Statements

A statement about the conference from the Vatican is available here.

Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, “As Pope Francis says in his encyclical, the climate crisis is not only an environmental issue, but also a human and ethical one. Environmental degradation is accompanied by poverty, loss of livelihoods and the perspective of a better future. We have a responsibility towards the next generations. It is urgent to change our over consumption and commit to the care of our common home.”

Josianne Gauthier, Secretary General of CIDSE, said, “CIDSE is honored to be a partner of this conference on such an important and timely issue. For three years, Laudato Si’ has been an incredible source of strength and inspiration in our work. What we want to see now is real political commitment to climate justice and an active response to Pope Francis’ call to respect our common home. CIDSE is working with people around the world, to fight for a safe climate in which they can live and thrive, and where global warming is limited to 1.5 °C. Guided by their courage, we’re asking world leaders to make serious commitments this year. Another, and a better world is possible, but only if we start putting  people and the planet first!”

Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said “Around the globe, people look to the Church for leadership. The Vatican, and actually Catholics from all around the world, are saying clearly: climate change is a faith issue. If we work together, we can protect the most vulnerable from climate change and provide a just transition to clean energy for hard-working miners and oil workers. There is not a moment to lose. The climate crisis is with us, and we must take up the solutions within our grasp–right now.”

Digital assets

  • The conference will be livestreamed at laudato-si-conference.com, which also has a full program and selected speakers’ bios.
  • Real-time updates of quotations and photos from the conference, suitable for social media, will be here.
  • Social media will be tracked with the hashtag #LaudatoSi18. Template social media posts are here.
  • A short video about the conference will be ready the week of July 9.

Interviews

Vatican: please contact Fr. Augusto Zampini-Davies, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, a.zampini@humandevelopment.va

COP24: Pres. Michał Kurtyka, please contact Pawel Leszczynski pawel.leszczynski@me.gov.pl

350.org: Bill McKibben, please contact Mark Raven, mark@350.org

Media contacts

Caritas Internationalis, Patrick Nicholson, nicholson@caritas.va
CIDSE, Valentina Pavarotti, pavarotti@cidse.org
Global Catholic Climate Movement, Rebecca Elliott, reba@catholicclimatemovement.global