To the Delegates of COP28,
We, the leaders of the Camillian Disaster Service International, a faith-based humanitarian organization of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm (Camillians), a Catholic religious Order, gathered in Bangkok for our annual leadership conference from November 13 to 18, 2023. Thirty- seven leaders and members representing seventeen developed and developing countries renewed their commitment to alleviating human suffering in the face of natural and human-made disasters. We extend our sincere greetings to the distinguished delegates gathered at COP28. As representatives of the vulnerable communities of our respective countries of operation, united by a shared commitment to justice, compassion, and stewardship of our planet, we implore you to heed our collective call for urgent and decisive climate action.
The impact of climate change is devastating communities worldwide, exacerbating poverty, hunger, and displacement. With a deep-rooted connection to vulnerable populations, our organization witnesses the toll of environmental degradation on human lives. We believe that addressing the climate crisis is an ethical imperative and a moral duty embedded in the core tenets of faith traditions.
The interconnectedness of Climate Change and Humanitarian Crises: Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si'” underscores the concept of integral ecology, emphasizing the interconnectedness of social, economic, and ecological systems. This interconnectedness highlights that climate change exacerbates humanitarian crises, worsening poverty and displacing vulnerable populations. Moreover, it implores us to care for our common home, the Earth. The increasing frequency of natural disasters due to climate change directly threatens human lives and well-being. Our moral obligation is to address the root causes of these crises.
Pope Francis consistently advocates for the most vulnerable members of society, highlighting that they often bear the brunt of environmental degradation. As a faith-based humanitarian organization aligning with this perspective, we commit our efforts to supporting those disproportionately affected by climate change, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are addressed.
Ethical Responsibility and Stewardship: The call for ecological conversion is rooted in the biblical concept of humans as stewards of creation. Acknowledging our moral responsibility as stewards, we must work individually and collectively to reduce our carbon footprint to ensure a transition towards sustainable practices. An integrated approach to sustainable development that respects the environment and human dignity is of paramount importance. Our advocacy at COP28 should echo this conviction, urging delegates to adopt policies that promote change towards sustainable development. We emphasize the moral imperative to transition from fossil fuels and invest in clean, renewable energy sources. This transition not only aligns with ecological principles but also contributes to the well-being of communities currently suffering from the impacts of climate change.
Moving onwards towards the fullness of life, achieving ecologically converted resilient communities, we appeal to every person of goodwill, especially to the delegates of COP28, to:
Recognize the role of faith-based organizations play in humanitarian efforts and environmental stewardship and appreciate the importance of spirituality, values and faith traditions as relevant voices in solving the climate crisis and in crafting policies and programs;
scale-up commitments of rich countries to completely phase out fossil fuel production, transition our economy to 100% renewable energy and provide sufficient and transparent climate finance to low-income countries for resilience-building and 3. to build more climate-resilient health systems and community systems for health to save foundations of social determinants of health.
As people of faith, we stand ready to collaborate with governments, NGOs, and all people of goodwill to address the urgent challenges posed by the climate crisis. Together, let us work towards a sustainable and just future for all.
May the decisions made at COP28 reflect the values of justice, compassion, and solidarity that our faith tradition espoused.