The Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development sends a video message to participants in the Second International Latin American Congress on Climate Change and Biodiversity in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focusing on climate action by local governments in the region .

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 Holy Father tells us not to focus our attention exclusively on interstate negotiations, and to consider environmental and economic development issues holistically, with more emphasis on local policies, on actions closer to those who suffer the most. ”

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”.

“Education and respect for the peoples who live closer to the earth empower the most vulnerable and sensitize them in order to build a new citizenship that has at its heart the concern for the common home and for creation. This is in line with the idea of ​​an integral ecology aimed at the conservation of natural and social biodiversity, allowing small economic realities to continue to exist, preserving cultural “biodiversity”.


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