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Caritas Internationalis Wants African Nations Supported amid Challenging Climate Condition

The Official Logo Caritas Internationalis. Credit: Caritas Internationalis

The leadership of the global confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis (CI), is appealing to developed countries to support “developing countries” including those in Africa in their respective fight against “challenging climate conditions.”

In a report published Friday, August 13, CI Officials say, “There is a pressing demand for international support to help developing countries not only reduce their own emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, but to also allow them to adapt to these challenging climate conditions.”

“A rapid and radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is essential to achieving global climate targets,” they say, and add, “Much of the climate damage induced by human activity is irreversible and global warming of between 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during this century unless significant reductions in emissions are imminent.”

Officials of the global Catholic entity further highlight the need for the provision of adequate finance “to those countries on the frontline of the climate crisis and already experiencing the worst effects of a changing climate.”

“In Malawi, a small country in Southern Africa, already, temperatures are increasing and changing rain patterns are damaging growth in agriculture, in turn directly impacting food supply,” CI officials say.

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They continue in reference to Malawi, “Women and girls, the majority of whom work on smallholder farms, are even more affected. As only 2% of the largely rural population have access to the electricity grid and households don’t have other means of energy, deforestation to produce charcoal (for cooking) is very high.”

The highlighted challenges, CI officials further say, are “coupled with widespread soil erosion, floods and droughts year on year, which makes Malawi particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.”

They note that an increase in “annual climate finance is needed to deliver on Paris Agreement commitments, particularly targeted at interventions dedicated to impacts for women, including funding for grassroots and women’s organizations to empower local civil society.” 

“In Southern Africa alone last year, 45 million people were unable to feed their families as a result of climate change, the cumulative effects of recurrent widespread drought,” CI officials say in the August 13 report.

Making reference to Trócaire’s Malawi Country Director, Jeannette Wijnants, the officials of the global Catholic entity say “vulnerable African countries who are the least to blame for climate change are the ones who are suffering most because of it.”

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“African countries account only for about 2-3% of global carbon emissions. In Malawi this is even less than 1% yet the impact of climate change is felt here every day and it is getting worse. We have an urgency to act. Clearly climate injustice is at play here. Those least responsible for the causes of climate change are most impacted by its effects,” Ms. Wijnants has been quoted as saying. 

She adds, “Recurring cycles of droughts and floods caused by shifts in weather are causing soil erosion, food insecurity, hunger, loss of livelihoods and displacement.”

“The impact of these changes is felt particularly by women and children,” she says, explaining that women and children have “to walk longer and longer distances to find water, to fetch firewood and to save crops damaged by erratic rainfall.”

She further says, “Trócaire Malawi works with local government stakeholders, partner NGOs, civil society networks and groups of young people to raise awareness on climate justice. We do this by including the voices of local people in climate debates and by influencing relevant policies and legislation.”

“In partnership, we implement innovative programs to make farming households more resilient using agroecology and natural resource management,” the Trócaire official in Malawi goes on to say.

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She adds in reference to Malawi, “People in rural communities are involved in reforestation through tree planting and using alternative energy sources such as solar power and energy saving cookstoves to reduce the use of charcoal. All of these small steps contribute to building climate resilient communities.”

Ultimately, Ms. Wijnants has been quoted as saying in the August 13 report, “we need to hold those responsible for the real causes of climate change to account.”