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SIDE EVENT AT UN GENEVA — APRIL 23 2024 — Laudate Deum: Apostolic Exhortation to all people of good will on the climate crisis: H.E. ARCHBISHOP ETTORE BALESTRERO’s Intervention

SIDE EVENT AT UN GENEVA — APRIL 23 2024 — Laudate Deum: Apostolic Exhortation to all people of good will on the climate crisis: H.E. ARCHBISHOP ETTORE BALESTRERO’s Intervention

H.E. ARCHBISHOP ETTORE BALESTRERO

PROFESSOR JAIME TATAY (COMILLAS PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY OF MADRID)

Vidéo sous-titrée en français

Vidéo sous-titrée en français

 

Colloquium, entitled “Laudate Deum: Apostolic Exhortation to all people of goodwill on the climate crisis and the outcomes of COP28

 

Below is the inter­ven­tion of Pro­fes­sor Tatay:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we came here to dis­cuss a press­ing issue that affects us all, espe­cial­ly the poor­est among the poor: food security. 

Almost 10 years ago, Pope Fran­cis’s encycli­cal, “Lauda­to Si’,” empha­sized the impor­tance of car­ing for our com­mon home and rec­og­niz­ing the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of all liv­ing beings.

In address­ing the cli­mate, bio­di­ver­si­ty, and pol­lu­tion crises, we must keep in mind the needs of the most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties and work towards envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty, social jus­tice, and human well-being.

The impacts of cli­mate change on our food sys­tems are becom­ing increas­ing­ly obvi­ous, and it is cru­cial that we take imme­di­ate action to mit­i­gate these effects.

As Pope Fran­cis affirmed in his recent Apos­tolic Exhor­ta­tion, “Lau­date Deum” (an update of his envi­ron­men­tal encycli­cal Lauda­to si), there is an urgent need to rec­og­nize the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of all liv­ing beings. We are all respon­si­ble for the well-being of our plan­et, and we must act with urgency to pro­tect it.

The glob­al food sys­tem is respon­si­ble for about a third of green­house gas emis­sions, mak­ing it the sec­ond-largest con­trib­u­tor to cli­mate change after the ener­gy sector.

At the same time, cli­mate change is caus­ing food inse­cu­ri­ty to rise, with an esti­mat­ed 345 mil­lion peo­ple affect­ed in 82 coun­tries in 2022. 

This is a cri­sis that affects us all, but dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impacts those in Sub-Saha­ran Africa, South and South­east Asia, and Latin Amer­i­ca where farm­ing fam­i­lies are often poor and vulnerable.

To address this cri­sis, we must take a coor­di­nat­ed approach to joint­ly address issues of food secu­ri­ty and ener­gy secu­ri­ty. We must devel­op strate­gies for food pro­duc­tion and access that include invest­ment in agri­cul­tur­al infra­struc­ture, diver­si­fi­ca­tion of crops and food sources, food stor­age sys­tems designed for long-term preser­va­tion, and train­ing for local farm­ers on sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture techniques.

We must also sup­port small­hold­er farm­ers with access to cred­it and oth­er ser­vices to pro­mote eco­nom­ic empow­er­ment. By increas­ing organ­ic car­bon in soil, we can increase water reten­tion in soil, increas­ing resilience to drought. We must pro­mote edu­ca­tion on food preser­va­tion tech­niques such as refrig­er­a­tion, dehy­dra­tion, and oth­er meth­ods to reduce food loss and waste.

At an indi­vid­ual lev­el, as all world reli­gions encour­age, we need to become con­scious con­sumers and under­stand the impact our pur­chas­es have, direct­ly or indi­rect­ly, on our society. 

The COP28 Dec­la­ra­tion on Food and Agri­cul­ture rec­og­nizes the impor­tance of inte­grat­ing agri­cul­ture and food sys­tems into cli­mate action and main­stream­ing cli­mate action across pol­i­cy agen­das and actions relat­ed to agri­cul­ture and food systems.

We must scale-up adap­ta­tion and resilience activ­i­ties and respons­es in order to reduce the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of all farm­ers, fish­er­men, and oth­er food pro­duc­ers to the impacts of cli­mate change.

We must also pro­mote food secu­ri­ty and nutri­tion by increas­ing efforts to sup­port vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple through approach­es such as social pro­tec­tion sys­tems and safe­ty nets, school feed­ing and pub­lic pro­cure­ment pro­grams, tar­get­ed research and inno­va­tion, and focus­ing on the spe­cif­ic needs of women, chil­dren and youth, Indige­nous Peo­ples, small­hold­ers, fam­i­ly farm­ers, local com­mu­ni­ties and per­sons with disabilities.

We have recent­ly wit­nessed across Europe the prob­lems fac­ing those who want to make a decent liv­ing as food pro­duc­ers. We can­not for­get to sup­port work­ers in agri­cul­ture and food sys­tems, whose liveli­hoods are threat­ened by cli­mate change, to main­tain inclu­sive, decent work, through inno­v­a­tive approach­es which include increas­ing, adapt­ing and diver­si­fy­ing incomes.

In con­clu­sion, the impacts of cli­mate change on our food sys­tems are becom­ing increas­ing­ly appar­ent, and it is cru­cial that we take imme­di­ate action to mit­i­gate these effects. 

By work­ing togeth­er, inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ment, CSOs, and FBOs, we can ensure a future where food avail­abil­i­ty is not threat­ened by a chang­ing cli­mate. Reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties can play a role in pro­mot­ing dia­logue and using their influ­ence at all lev­els to pro­mote jus­tice and reconciliation.

Let us all do our part to pro­tect our plan­et and ensure food secu­ri­ty for all.

Thank you

Jaime Tatay, SJ, PhD

Comil­las Pon­tif­i­cal University

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