The postponement of COP 26 has been of great interest to the Jesuits conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), and the Xavier network, two Jesuit institutions which were looking forward, anxiously and with great enthusiasm, to this monumental gathering which had as primary concern, profound reflection on the ecological situation of our ‘common home’. It is due to the coronavirus pandemic that the organisers of the COP 26, which was supposed to hold in Glasgow from 9 – 19 November this year, deemed it necessary to postpone this decision-making meeting to November 2021.
To JCAM and Xavier network, who are deeply committed to following Pope Francis’s teaching as set out in Laudato Si (May 2015) and to promoting an “ecological conversion”, such a move could betray a certain neglect of the ecological crisis, which for them should not be left behind. Instead, these two crisis, merit equal considerations. To reiterate this point, these noble Jesuit institutions, sent on the 9th of November, letters expressing their concern to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, the host of this conference, and to the AU – EU leaders.
Concerned that the absence of this conference in 2020 will lure governments into diverting attention and resources away from climate change and towards the immediate needs of addressing the on-going pandemic, these Jesuit institutions, have proposed to Boris Johnson some immediate steps which could be taken to ensure that climate change remains on the global agenda in the coming year. For them, the host of cop 26, during this period of wait, should:
1. Set an ambitious global agenda for next year’s conference and push national governments to be equally bold in their climate change policies.
2. Assure, a recommitment to a national climate ambition by governments and international organisations.
3. Press for the inclusion of action on climate change into COVID-19 relief packages and social protection programmes.
4. Emphasise the nexus between human rights and climate change.
5. Remind the leaders and peoples of the Global North that the burdens of climate change fall disproportionately on the shoulders of the world’s poor and marginalised.
6. Lead by example: the UK can be a trendsetter.
And to the AU and EU leaders, these noble Jesuit institutions, conscious of the connectedness of everybody and the shared history of Africa and Europe, reiterated that they continue to make action on climate change a priority for Africa and Europe on both a national and international level, and to take tangible steps in the coming year to deepen their common commitment to combating climate change. paying attention to the two different angles from which the reality of climate change can be understood ; Europe as the beneficiary of centuries of carbon emissions and pollution, resulting in an advanced state of industrialization and economic development, and Africa being asked to bear the burden of a climate crisis it played little part in creating, at the same time that it is struggling to eradicate poverty and strengthen civil society, the JCAM and Xavier network, suggested a framework for them.
This framework takes into account:
1. The Global Justice Concerns – The Need for a Global Governance Approach
2. The African Debt Crisis – Everything is Interconnected
3. The EU’s Green Deal – An Avenue for African-European Collaboration
4. Regional Collaboration on Nationally Determined Contributions
5. Financing the Necessary Programs – A Call for European Boldness
Through these, the Jesuits are convinced that, in a world plagued with at this moment with a double crisis, none will be left behind. Covid-19 and climate change would have merited equal engagements. Hence, the postponement of cop 26 to November 2021 would have been used as a great opportunity to better prepare this grand conference. The entirety of these letters are found in the attachment below. Please click here AU-EU open letter – click here back up note – click here Johnson Open Letter