I understand you have learnt that today more than 2 billion people do not have access to safely-managed drinking water and over 4.5 billion people do not have safely-managed sanitation. 1795 million people – or one in nine people – go to bed on an empty stomach and nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation -related diarrheal diseases every day. Climate change aggravates water and food insecurity. In the current scenario, two-thirds of the world's population could be living in areas of high water stress by 2030 and global agricultural production could decline by as much as 25% by 2050. That Global average temperature have risen 1.1 degrees compared to the pre-industrial baseline.
You have explored how the nexus between water, food and climate change runs deep, and directly impacts the sustenance and survival of communities, especially the socio-economically vulnerable. You have learnt how climate change affects the availability of water and food security and on the other hand, Industrial farming and factory animal farms, commercial fishing, deforestation, destructive land and sea mining - all contribute to climate change. , And how at the core of these environmental challenges the health and wellbeing of people, especially who are most vulnerable gets affected. And thus, issues of water, food and climate change and health have to be addressed in a holistic manner and within a framework of justice. And how the indigenous community are at the brunt of facing the impact of climate change, despite the fact that the indigenous community manage over 25 percent of the world's land surface and support about 80 percent of the global biodiversity.
Even before attending the eco school, you are no stranger to the impact of climate change. Increased frequency of extreme weather events, massive storms, continue sea level rise resulting in submergence of islands and costal villages, forest fires, water scarcity, etc are clear impacts of climate change making the Pacific region especially vulnerable. While the region is facing up to these challenges, it is more than ever important to build the resilience of the communities through a multi stakeholder approach to capacity building and empowerment.
It is with these ideas the Eco School was conceived and despite the challenges posed by the Pandemic, we were able to conduct an abridged and hybrid version of the same for the Pacific region. Even though this training was inadequate, given its limitation of duration and lack of physical presence, thanks to the technological advancement, we were able to impart our first ever hybrid model of Eco School.
Now that the training is over, you will go back to your church and community with your very own plan of action do something about these challenges. We are committed to support your initiatives to be best of our abilities.
Finally, I wish to I wish to thank our many Ecumenical partners, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and InFaith community Foundation for their continued support to the Eco School. I want to thank my colleagues at WCC for their hard work, dedication to carry out this training at very odd hours. I also thank the Pacific Conference of Churches, the host of the Eco School for mobilizing young people to attend this training despite challenges of technology and the fatigue of online events.
Most importantly, I want to thank you all the participants of the Eco School from Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands for showing your interest and commitment to undergo this important training for the past 5 days.
From today you all have become our Eco Ambassadors. Along with the Eco School alumni from Africa, Latin America and Asia you will continue to strive for Eco Justice through your church, your community, your government and other stakeholders.
The World Council of Churches is committed to Eco justice and to promote water justice, food justice, climate justice , health and wellbeing and promoting indigenous spirituality. My colleagues will try their best to support you in your future endeavors.
May God bless us all to make this planet a better place to live for all in peace and justice.
I thank you all for your kind attention.