West African Church Leaders engages to a healthy and sustainable environment and food justice

From 13th to 16th July 2017, the leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA) from member countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone, met at the "Maison de l'Esperance" hotel in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. This meeting, which is part of the Conference of West African Church Leaders on Environment and Food Justice, was officially opened by Mrs. Carole Methivier TOUTOUKPO, Technical Advisor, representing the Minister of Health, Environment and Sustainable Development. It was attended by church leaders, technicians from the Ministry of Health, Environment and Sustainable development of Cote d'Ivoire, and experts from the civil society.

During the presentations and exchanges, the participants reflected and deliberated on the objective of the conference: to empower churches to promote sustainable food systems and climate resilience in West Africa by equipping them to fight against poverty through sustainable food systems and environmental promotion, and fostering a continuous engagement for social and environmental justice.

According to the representatives of the Ministry of Solidarity, Environment and Sustainable Development, the ultimate solutions for the fight against environmental degradation and the promotion of food security turns out to be the Church. The latter will have to concretely engage and maintain the faithful on the importance of environmental and food justice. Thus, in the face of the environmental crisis that affects the world, where Christianity is accused of having encouraged anthropocentrism, legitimized environmental degradation on the basis of Genesis 1:28, the Church must advocate to restore the biblical and theological truth about the safeguarding and protection of the environment from which we have food and health.

The importance of an action plan for the development of shared global prosperity and well-being was clearly articulated when world leaders pledged to ensure that no one is left behind in the ‘‘2030 Agenda’’. World leaders are also committed to prioritize the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Inclusion is also at the heart of Africa's growth and vision transformation, as in the encapsulated “2063 Agenda”, which affirms the region's ambition for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Given that sustainable development means taking care of the present without compromising future needs, Africa's natural resources should be exploited in a supportive and sustainable environment based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and the need of international assistance for African countries to help them move on to sustainable paths.

Church leaders have come to realize that solving environmental and food problems for the promotion of peoples on health and happy life are not just the prerogative of governments, and the promotion of environmental and food justice is part of the integral mission of the Church. For this reason, they concluded the conference on a note of commitment, as a sign of the coming Kingdom of God, to integrate into their behaviours and proclamations the change that God calls them to incarnate.

 

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