The Pope’s representative also recommended that GCBC members develop an “integrated reporting framework” for the newly-launched initiative.
Speaking during the November 24 event, the Secretary General of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) described the GCBC initiative as “a struggle for life and justice, a struggle embodying the struggles of the Church for social and ecological justice.”
“In Ghana there is currently a lawsuit against the State with the purpose of inviting the government to protect the seed from corporate capture and to ensure the people’s rights to food and nutrition,” Fr. Joseph Aka said.
The legal suit, Fr. Aka added, “is a call to the government to repeal a patent protection law in Ghana that peasants fear will criminalize them for saving, using, exchanging, selling modified and their own seeds and lead to the extension of corporate control over Ghanaian agriculture and food system.”
“The GCBC LSAP is an example that Bishops Conferences in the region must imitate and emulate,” the Secretary General of RECOWA said.
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On his part, the Secretary General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) described the LSAP of the GCBC members as a “laudable initiative” and invited Catholic Bishops across the continent to replicate it in their respective national and regional conferences.
Fr. Terwase Henry Akaabiam who recognized the Holy Father's messages and actions that promote the care for “our common home” and human dignity also called on the people of God in Africa to heed Pope Francis' appeals and “take action” to conserve the environment.
“We cannot just listen to the Holy Father and fold our hands. We should listen and take action. It is about action, not talk,” Fr. Akaabiam said.
The Nigerian-born Priest went on to highlight some of the actions that the people of God in Africa can engage in to promote human dignity and care for the earth.
“We must be willing to help others who are in need, not just talking when there are needy people all across the continent. We must take cognizance of their cry,” the Secretary General of SECAM said, and added that Christians should also participate in environmental cleaning projects.
Citing the Kampala Document (KD) in which the Catholic Bishops in Africa advocate for the reduction of sound pollution, Fr. Akaabiam said, “There is too much noise and when we make too much noise, it is difficult for others to sleep well, hence we can't live well. Let us be willing to address this issue.”
“Pope Francis describes the earth as mother. Nobody disrespects a mother because doing so creates a cultural danger. Similarly let us respect and treat mother earth with dignity,” the Secretary General of SECAM said during the November 24 event.