WASHINGTON, DC - This year, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (or, CBD) will finalize its 2020-2030 strategic plan for how to conserve the earth’s biodiversity. This will happen at COP15 in Kunming, China, which will take place later this year.
From March 14-29, 2022, representatives to the CBD will gather in Geneva in order to lay the foundations for this historic plan. Alongside the global NGO community, the Missionary Society of St. Columban will be sending representatives to this meeting in order that the perspective of faith communities and the experience of marginalized communities will be heard during this process.
Amy Echeverria, International Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Ecology for the Missionary Society of St. Columban and Co-coordinator of the Vatican Covid Commission Ecology Taskforce, said:
“As a faith-based organization, we believe that the voices of those most impacted by policy, especially historically marginalized communities and the earth itself, offer critical perspectives for developing greater protection for the planet, its people, and future generations. Our experience accompanying these communities have taught us that an economic and social order that collaborates mutually with creation is necessary for the care and protection of all of life. One way we can protect and conserve all of creation is by returning to Indigenous Peoples, as original custodians, the land and sea on which they have traditionally lived . This also means redirecting the enormous wealth spent on corporate extractive projects and war-making back into local communities, who best know how to use those resources for the common good. Caring for all of life is a moral imperative, as much as it is an ethical responsibility, and a societal obligation.”
Cynthia Gonzalez, the US Advocacy Coordinator for the Missionary Society of St. Columban, said:
“A global crisis like biodiversity collapse requires a global solution, like the one being drafted in Geneva. Previous attempts to address biodiversity loss - like the Aichi Biodiversity Targets from the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan - did not succeed because member states did not demonstrate the political will to implement them. That’s why we believe it’s imperative for this new agreement to have strong and legally enforceable legislation in place to ensure progress in protecting the natural environment and addressing emerging threats. It’s also critical that local communities, especially those who are impoverished and marginalized, indigigenous groups, and environmental and human rights defenders are engaged at all levels of implementation.”
The Missionary Society of St. Columban is an international Catholic organization of priests and laypeople. For over one hundred years, we have worked alongside some of the world’s most vulnerable populations to climate change and biodiversity loss, including indigenous communities in Australia, Chile, Fiji, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines. We have lived in coastal communities suffering from sea-level rise, in deserts where communities live with water scarcity, and in communities suffering from massive logging and deforestation. We see how the communities who contribute least to these problems suffer the most, how their natural resources are exploited and destroyed for the benefit of a wealthy few.