World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Pacific church leaders' statement

The challenge of resettlement because of Climate Change was the focus of the Oikoumene Pasifika 2009, which took place in Nadi, Fiji in April 2009. Oikoumene Pasifika bring church leaders from the Pacific Conference of Churches to reflect together on crucial topics affecting the region. WCC staff contributed to this meeting with presentations on Ecumenism and climate change. Church leaders adopted the Moana declaration on "Our Oikos - a new consciousness on climate change and our call to action".

24 April 2009

Our Oikos – a new consciousness on climate change and our call to action

 

"Moana Declaration"

 

Nadi, Fiji, 24 April 2009

On the occasion of the Church Leaders Meeting on Resettlement as a direct consequence of climate induced calamities, Pacific Church Leaders issue the following statement on climate change and the imminent threat of forced relocation and displacement faced by Pacific peoples.

Mindful of the impacts on food and water security; our way of life; our culture; our community; our overall health and well being; the ecological systems on which we depend; other creatures with whom we share Gods creation;

Led by our faith traditions and the life of Jesus Christ, we stand on behalf of the poor, those who have little power and with those throughout history who have acted for justice;

We the Church Leaders from Pacific Island Countries (PICs) present at this meeting call upon the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), affected states and the international community of states to:

 

  1. Ensure that all persons and communities affected by climate induced catastrophes in the Pacific as well as other affected world regions, in particular those who are forced to flee their homes and lands, are afforded the respect and protection of the full spectrum of rights enshrined within the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties;

  2. Develop local, national, sub-regional, regional and international plans to ensure respect for and protection of the rights of forced climate migrants;

  3. Develop the framework for a new Convention or Protocol on Resettlement to cater for the specific and unique situation of persons, communities and states affected by climatic induced catastrophes.

  4. Undertake immediate measures to identify available land and other appropriate resources for the purposes of relocating and resettling all forced climate migrants, both those displaced internally as well as those likely to seek resettlement in other countries;

  5. Carry out intensive public consultations with Pacific communities affected and will be affected by rising sea levels or other consequences of climate change, with a view to developing viable and practical plans to protect the rights of forced climate migrants, in particular their housing, land and property and related rights;

  6. Develop in a proactive way, in full partnership, cooperation and consultation with vulnerable people and communities affected by climate, policies, strategies and practical programmes that mitigate the worst effects and consequences of climate change on affected populations, and enable and empower such populations to adapt to changing environmental factors;

  7. Devote, where mitigation and adaptation responses are likely to be insufficient per se, adequate resources, in particular financial resources, to practical measures designed to assist forced climate migrants to relocate and resettle in a manner consistent with their rights and in ways that secure for them an adequate standard of living and sustainable livelihoods;

  8. Explore creative and innovative methods of identifying long-term relocation and resettlement options for forced climate migrants, consistent with their housing, land, property and related rights, whilst preserving their dignity as human beings;

  9. Develop and support projects that demonstrate an alternative economic model reflecting faith based values of: justice, equity, and sustainability – in challenge to the values inherent in the neo-liberal economic model dominant in the world today;

  10. Ensure the rights of other populations affected by the forced displacement of climate change migrants, such as host or receiving communities in areas where climate change migrants are settled, are fully and adequately protected;

  11. Call on the peoples of the Pacific and the international community of states, to act toward exhausting all avenues available toward the realization of the critical issues in this Moana Declaration;

  12. Reaffirm the prophetic role of the church and its responsibility to recognize and speak out against the injustices wrought on by climate change and call on all persons, communities and states to act now.