By Lisa Zengarini
Current climate and biodiversity challenges can best be addressed by involving local governments closest to the communities most affected by the consequences of global warming and the destruction of biodiversity.
Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, reiterated this point today in a video message to participants at the Second International Latin American Congress on Climate Change and Biodiversity.
The International Latin American Congress on Climate Change and Biodiversity
The event is organized by the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) in Buenos Aires, ahead of the annual COP-27 Climate Change Summit and COP-15 Biodiversity Summit to be held, respectively, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, 2022, and in Montreal, Canada, from December 7 to 19, 2022.
Experts and political leaders from across Latin America will examine possible strategies for integrated climate action by local governments in the region; identify their strengths and weaknesses, risks and opportunities, and emphasize the importance of education to raise awareness and engage grassroots citizens on these critical issues.
The experience of local authorities
In his video message released at the opening of the gathering, Cardinal Czerny expressed his support for this approach, which is in line with the vision of Pope Francis summarized in his encyclical letter “Laudato sì” on the care of our common home.
“Talking about the role of local governments in climate action – he said – means focusing on the concrete experiences of approaching, accompanying and listening to the vulnerabilities of human beings and territories that suffer from climate change. ‘exclusion from the definition of public policies, regulatory frameworks and direct financial support’.
“At the same time – he added – paying particular attention to local governance interventions means giving importance to those who are often closest to the least in our societies who have endured tirelessly and in silence. consequences of biodiversity loss.
In this regard, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development recalled that in “Laudato sì”, Pope Francis highlighted the need to involve and value the experience of local communities, including indigenous peoples, to deal with the current global environmental crisis.
The role of education
Cardinal Czerny finally welcomed the emphasis placed by the Congress on education in this area, stressing the importance underlined by Pope Francis of “cultural biodiversity”.