Addis Ababa-May 20, 2021
African Faith Leaders Fully Committed To Battling Climate Change
By Gorden Simango
African faith leaders are determined and committed to the ongoing battle against climate change in the continent.
“Faith leaders are witnessing the effects of rising temperatures, excessive droughts, changing weather patterns leading to cyclones and excessive flooding, and conflicts arising from competition for resources such as depleting grazing lands due to droughts,” according to RevDr. Fidon Mwombeki, the General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).
“We are determined to represent our continent, raise our voices, and speak out with one voice as faith actors, so as to make a positive impact at the upcoming COP26 meeting,” he added.
Faith leaders from across Africa are meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to deliberate on the impact of climate change in Africa, and the need for the voices of the ecumenical community to be heard.
The two-day Roundtable, which ends today, has been organized by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), and aims to have the voice of church leaders heard on this issue, and craft a position for churches during the forthcoming 26th Climate Change Conference of Partners (COP 26) in Glasgow in November 2021.
In his message to the Roundtable, the COP 26 President-Designate of COP 26, Alok Sharma, said the call to action from faith groups was vital in ensuring the world truly rose to the challenge of climate change, protected the most vulnerable, and unleashed the full potential of the Paris Agreement.
“I wish to express my personal gratitude for your ongoing work with communities across the African continent. Your work is crucial to lay the best possible conditions for a successful, ambitious and inclusive COP26 summit,” he said.
In his address to the faith leaders,Archbishop Dr. Abba Aregawi, stated that his church’s beliefs were that it was a spiritual and religious commitment to safeguard nature as it was God-given.
“For this reason, the issue of climate change is treated not as a simple temporal politician’s project, or just an ecological or financial issue, it is a spiritual, social and moral manifestation of our religious devotion,” said Archbishop Aregawi, who is the Archbishop of Diredawa and Djibouti Diocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The facilitator of the Roundtable, Dr Albert Butare, noted that despite the continent having set itself development goals as enshrined in the Africa Agenda 2063, attaining these aspirations had become increasingly difficult due to the impacts of climate change.
Dr Butare, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Energy Service Group, noted that the Paris Agreement had designated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDAs) as the platforms that would enable countries to access additional resources to finance ambitious climate actions”.
“Consequently, African NDCs are among the most ambitious ones, and tend to be unrealistic given the continent’s limited means of implementation.” he noted.
In his presentation, Dr Augustine Njamnshi, the chairman of the Political Committee of the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said that Africa was looking towards COP26 for a global climate policy and action framework that “responds to their unique circumstances created by the injustices of disproportionate vulnerability, exposures to risks, and incapacity to protect itself without help- despite its insignificant contribution to climate change.”