Sweden Meeting on Ecology Should Achieve “more serious collective action”: African Priest

Fr. Charles Chilufya , Director of the Jesuits Justice Ecology Network Africa (JENA).

The June 2-3 international meeting on ecology in the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm, dubbed “Stockholm+50” needs to facilitate the achievement of “more serious collective action” on environmental matters including “lifestyle changes”, an African Catholic Priest overseeing the Jesuits Justice Ecology Network Africa (JENA) has said. 

In a Tuesday, June 1 report, Fr. Charles Chilufya explains what Stockholm+50 needs to focus on and says although several efforts have been made to discuss environmental issues, there is still "a long way to go".

“What is needed and what Stockholm+50 should usher in is more serious collective action supported by greater commitment to multilateralism that takes seriously the inclusion of voices that need to be included especially those of the youth, women and indigenous voices,” Fr. Chilufya says.

Stockholm+50 has been described as the commemoration of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and celebrates five decades of global environmental action.  The 1972 meeting was the first convention to address environmental issues.

Convened in Sweden’s capital city under the theme, “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, the international meeting reportedly provided global leaders “with an opportunity to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the bold and urgent action needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet.”


In the June 1 report, the Director of JENA, a department of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), emphasizes the need to include various stakeholders in facilitating the achievement of action on matters of the environment. 

He says, "There is need to centre action on reaching the farthest and leaving no one behind. As earlier noted, the need to rebuild trust across the spectrum, to create system-wide changes, to make lifestyle changes and to enhance innovativeness cannot be overemphasized.”

“Good governance is crucial here. We need change in governance systems, ensure policy coherence and transparency. But what will deliver best are systemic localized solutions,” Fr. Chilufya adds. 

In the report, the Zambian-born member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) calls for swift action saying, “So much has been heard for the last fifty years but what is different this time is the urgency that the needed changes demand.”

The Nairobi-based Jesuit says that the June 2-3 environmental conference hosted by Sweden with support from the Government of Kenya “offers opportunities to cooperate, to make peace with nature, rebuild trust, a chance to push the boundaries to achieve justice and to change our energy and financial systems so that we do not compromise the capacity of future generations to imagine and direct their own development.”

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“What we need is to usher in true transformation, responsibility, stewardship and care,” says the Director of JENA, a diverse community of faith-inspired Jesuit entities, individual Jesuit peace and development activists, as well as “scholars driven by a vision of a just, poverty-free, peaceful and ecologically regenerative Africa.”

He adds, “To heal and protect life and our planet are good hearts full of care, concern and compassion for the earth and for future generations.”

“We need humanity, ubuntu!” Fr. Chilufya says, adding that the values, which are grown and natured in human hearts “must find their way into policy making and implementation, investment decisions and in the building of economies, economies with a soul.”

In the June 1 report, the Jesuit Priest says the Stockholm meeting needs to look into the injustices that continue to abound in the world after five decades since the last UN conference on the environment. 

He says, “In the last 50 years since the first UN Conference on the Environment in 1972, some have become wealthier and more prosperous but with serious consequences for vulnerable groups and communities.”


“The world is still home to serious environmental injustices, both current and future. In our world, our Common Home, while others are well sheltered from harsh impacts of weather events, others are vulnerable to them and on account of them lose lives, livelihoods and a future,” Fr. Chilufya adds.

“This ugly reality must be very central to the Stockholm Conference this year,” he says.

The Director of JENA continues, “At Stockholm+50 nations must work to install justice, to promote reconciliation and restore trust between developed and developing nations, between state and non-state actors, across generations and between the powerful and marginalized groups such as indigenous people and women and local communities.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.