Statement by All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) on the Occasion of World Environment Day 2023
“The Welfare of the Earth is our Welfare (Jeremiah: 29:7)”
Today, the 5th of June 2023, the AACC joins the global community to commemorate World Environment Day under the theme #BeatPlasticPollution. Guided by the word of God, we remain alive to the fact that “The Welfare of the Earth is our Welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). We, therefore, take this moment to deeply reflect on the gift of the environment (ecosystem). We continue to challenge ourselves, the communities, the leaders of Africa, and the world as a whole, to do better in our utilization of the environment in order to guarantee the future of the generation to come. This important day comes against a backdrop of accelerating climate impacts among other environmental challenges.
On this day, we particularly remember our brothers and sisters who were hit hard by the storms leading to the most devastating tropical cyclone ever recorded in the region, Cyclone Freddy affecting countries around the southern Indian Ocean mainly Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zambia that occurred in February and March 2023. The recent floods which affected Rwanda, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi have also led to the loss of life, displacement of people, and loss of property. Furthermore, severe droughts currently being faced in some parts of Africa are a clear manifestation of the reality and impact of climate change.
In the context of commemorating this year’s World Environment Day, the AACC reiterates the message shared by its General Committee when it met in Nairobi, Kenya from 3– 4th May 2023:
1. We sympathize and stand in solidarity with all who have been and are still affected by the effects and impact of cyclones, floods, and droughts. We continue to pray for the communities affected.
2. We acknowledge the efforts of the local faith communities in various African countries and their regional and international partners.
3. We commend the assistance provided by regional governments and other humanitarian organizations in responding to environmental challenges. We appeal for continuous humanitarian support to the affected communities.
4. We call for the immediate implementation of the COP27 resolution on loss and damage to mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa and elsewhere.
5. In line with this year’s theme, we appeal to all our members and Africans, in general, to take responsibility with regard to the fight against plastic pollution.
6. As faith leaders, we remain committed to climate justice through our members and networks such as the Africa Faith Actors Network for Climate Justice (AFAN-CJ). On our part, as we commemorate this year’s World Environment Day, we look forward to our active participation in the Africa Climate Week that will be hosted by the Government of Kenya from 4 to 8 September 2023. Led by the AFAN-CJ, faith leaders will converge in Nairobi to reflect, discuss and reimagine a future where forces of environmental destruction are confronted for a better future for all.