It affects the whole of humanity, in particular the poorest and future generations, which represent the most vulnerable component of the worrying impact of climate change and calls for the grave ethical and moral responsibility to act without delay in the way that is most free from political and economic pressures, surmounting particularistic interests and behavior.’
What follows is a working translation of the message Pope Francis sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco and President of the 22nd Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention-Framework on Climate Change (COP22), taking place in Marrakesh from November 7-18:
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To His Excellency Mister Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco and President of the 22nd Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention-Framework on Climate Change (COP22) (Marrakesh, November 7-18, 2016).
Excellency, the present situation of environmental degradation, strongly connected with human, ethical and social degradation (Encyclical Laudato Si’, 48.56.122) which, unfortunately, we experience daily, questions all of us, each one with his own roles and competencies, and it leads us to be gathered here with a renewed sense of awareness and responsibility.
In fact, the Kingdom of Morocco hosts the COP22 a few days after the coming into force of the Paris Agreement, adopted less than a year ago. Its adoption represents a strong awareness that, in face of such a complex subject as climate change, individual and/or national action is not sufficient, but it is necessary to give a collective, responsible answer intended really to “collaborate to build our common home” (Ibid., 13). On the other hand, the speedy coming into force of the Agreement reinforces the conviction that we can and must direct our intelligence to address the technology as well as to cultivate and also limit our power (cf. Ibid., 78), and put them “at the service of another type of progress, healthier, more human, more social and more integral” (Ibid., 12), capable of putting the economy at the service of the human person, of building peace and justice
The Paris Agreement traced a clear path on which the entire International Community is called to commit itself; the COP22 represents a key stage in this course. It affects the whole of humanity, in particular the poorest and future generations, which represent the most vulnerable component of the worrying impact of climate change and calls for the grave ethical and moral responsibility to act without delay in the way that is most free from political and economic pressures, surmounting particularistic interests and behavior.
In this perspective, I transmit my greeting to you, Mister President, and to all the participants in this Conference, with my earnest encouragement that these days’ works be animated by the same collaborative and purposeful spirit, manifested during the COP21. Initiated after the implementation of the Paris Agreement, a delicate moment’s been confronted, one involving a more concrete entering into an elaboration of the rules, of the institutional mechanisms and of the necessary elements for its correct and effective implementation. They are complex aspects that cannot be delegated to technical interlocution alone, but need continuous support and political encouragement, based on the awareness that “we are only one human family. There are no borders and political or social barriers that permit us to be isolated, and because of this, neither is there room for the globalization of indifference” (Ibid., 52).
One of the principal contributions of this Agreement is that of stimulating the promotion of strategies of national and international development, based on an environmental quality that we can describe as solidaristic; it, in fact, encourages to solidarity in the relations of the most vulnerable populations and appeals to the strong existing ties between the struggle against climate change and against poverty. Although there are multiple elements of a technical character called into question in this ambit, we are also aware that the whole cannot be limited to the sole economic and technological dimension: the technical solutions are necessary but not sufficient. It is also essential and rightful to take into consideration attentively the ethical and social aspects of the new paradigm of development and progress.
Entered here are the fundamental fields of education and lifestyles geared to foster sustainable models of production and consumption (cf. Ibid., 180); and the need is recalled to have a responsible conscience grow towards our common home (cf. Ibid., 202.231). Called to this task to make their own contribution are all the States Parties as well as the non-Party stakeholders: the civil society, the private sector, the scientific world, the financial institutions, the sub-national Authorities, the local communities and the native populations.
In conclusion, Mister President and Gentlemen participants in the COP22, I express my best wishes so that the works of the Marrakech Conference are guided by that awareness of our responsibility that should spur each one of us to promote seriously a “culture of care that permeates the whole society” (Ibid., 231), care in relations with Creation, but also with one’s neighbor, close or distant, in space and in time. The style of life based on the disposable culture is unsustainable and must have no room in our models of development and of education. This is an educational and cultural challenge in which, for it to be really effective in attaining its demanding objectives, the process of implementation of the Paris Agreement also cannot be lacking in responding. While I pray for the profitable and fruitful work of the Conference, I invoke upon you and upon all the participants the Blessing of the Almighty, which I ask you to take to all the citizens of the countries you represent.
Receive, Mister President, my most heartfelt and cordial greeting.
From the Vatican, November 10, 2016-11-15
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]