Leaders from nearly 40 churches and organizations signed the commitment at the end of a two-day convocation in Nairobi on 21 October. The meeting—on climate change and hunger—was organized by the U.S.-based Bread for the World and hosted by the All Africa Conference of Churches.
“We share a fierce resolve to stand and work together to end the hunger made worse by climate instability, to renew God’s creation and to bring our planet into balance, forming a beloved community in which all of creation can thrive,” said the leaders. “Climate justice is our means of furthering this resolve.”
The 2022 COP27 meeting will be held in the Southern Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheik. Ahead of the conference, various faith groups have re-stressed climate change as a moral outrage, a tragedy, and a structural sin. The groups have in various ways demanded that the conference become an implementation meeting to aid climate change adaptation and mitigation.
“We hope the convocation and statement model how the western world can affirm the voices of Africans in tackling the issues of hunger and climate as a group of equals,” said Rev. Eugene Cho, Bread for the World president.
In Nairobi, church leaders lamented that—due to climate change shocks—many people experienced hunger, loss of shelter, and livelihood as well as poor health, environmental injustice, forced migration, fear, and distress. Nearly, 3.1 billion people—40 percent of the world’s population cannot afford healthy diets, the groups noted in a list of observations.
“We lament a planet that is wildly out of balance, with the number of weather and climate-related disasters increasing fivefold over the last 50 years,” they said while highlighting, among other examples, supercharged hurricanes, severe droughts, and prolonged and intensifying waves of heat.
While putting in focus the extreme patterns of living and livelihoods, the leaders stated that nearly 10 percent of the world’s wealthiest individuals [in the Global North], were responsible for nearly half of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The gases are also responsible for global warming.
At the same time, the people excessively affected by the injustices are women and children, and those living in the Global South.
“We confess that Christianity has too often been complicit in the exploitation of the earth and our fellow human beings and that we have repeatedly ignored the fact that biblical justice and righteousness are central to our identity as Christians,” said the leaders.
In a call to action, the African faith leaders invited their colleagues in Europe and North America to join in advancing policies that seek climate justice and ending hunger.
Among other key recommendations, the groups want the parties at the COP27 to end the politicization of climate change discourse and the governments to fulfill key commitments made by those responsible for polluting the planet.