'A matter of justice' - Catholic development organisation backs Pope's call to global north to repay 'ecological debt' to south

“A matter of justice”: Catholic development organisation backs Pope’s call to global North to repay “ecological debt” to South

The Catholic aid, development and social justice organisation CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité) has backed Pope Francis’ call to the countries of the global North to repay the “ecological debt” they owe to the South after having “enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources” of those poorer southern nations.

This Season of Creation, let’s challenge ourselves and corporations

Full text of the CIDSE statement

(Source: CIDSE)

September 1, 2020

CIDSE joins the Season of Creation, a global yearly appointment of prayer, action, reflection and commitment for our planet. During this season (1st September- 4th October) Christians from all over the world will enter a “Jubilee for our Earth” and strive to find radically new ways of living towards just and sustainable societies to take better care of both people and planet.

To inaugurate this special period, Pope Francis invited people to “Remember, Return, Rest, Restore, and Rejoice” to strengthen an harmonious relationship between humanity and nature and he stressed the the inextricable link between caring for our home and the way our economy works.

He reminded us that “We must restore with justice in mind, ensuring that those who have lived on the land for generations regain control over its usage. Indigenous communities must be protected from companies, particularly multinational companies.”

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He added that: “This corporate misbehavior is a ‘new version of colonialism’ (Querida Amazonia, 14) that shamefully exploits poorer countries and communities desperate for income. We need to strengthen national and international legislation to regulate the activities of extractive companies and ensure access to justice for those affected.”

We join the strong call of Pope Francis to strengthen national and international legislation to regulate the activities of extractive companies and ensure access to justice for those affected.

In particular, we stand with communities who have faced the abusive behaviour of big business and robbed them of their right to live on their territories and benefit from the resources of their land.

As the Pope reminded us in his video clip rich countries have created an ecological debt by plundering natural resources of poorer countries, and “this is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries”.

Taking ownership of this debt is indeed a matter of justice.

The call to protect local communities and the environment from the negative impacts of transnational corporations is also supported widely by the Church.

Over 110 bishops from all around the world signed a joint statement for mandatory supply chain due diligence to stop corporate abuse and guarantee global solidarity.

Related:  Pope connects social injustice to neglect of creation: "There is no ecology without equality and no equality without ecology"

The statement, which was coordinated by CIDSE and published in July 2020, is still collecting signatures of support especially in view of the next round of negotiations of a Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights at the United Nations, scheduled for October.

“This year more than even, with the pandemic unveiling all the cracks of our system, the Pope’s call is urgent and it is clear that to care for our common home we should also look at our social systems and our economies.

“This is the starting point for a just transition that leaves no one behind.

“Joining Pope Francis we call today, at the beginning of the Season of Creation 2020, for a just and sustainable recovery that can truly heal our relationships among us and with nature.” said Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE Secretary General.

Throughout the Season, thousands of actions will take place digitally and locally to connect with mother earth and start new habits that respect the environment. Through the CIDSE initiative “Change for the Planet – Care for the People” we will collect a series of youth eco-practices that could inspire other young people all around the world in reducing their ecological footprint.

The actions will be shared through a virtual map on the Initiative’s social media (Twitter: @ChangeandCare, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/changeandcare).

Related:  Vatican official denounces companies, countries that plunder global South "like madmen, leaving behind a disaster"

In case you missed them… On Novena, Pope Francis’ messages for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and for the Season of Creation:

Francis reminds humanity on Day of Prayer for Creation: “We are part of this interconnected web of life, not its masters”

Pope decries multinationals’ “outrageous… plundering” of natural resources: “We have to take care of Creation responsibly. Today”

More stories on the Church and ecology:

Ecumenical Patriarch clamours for Day of Prayer for Creation: “Economic development cannot remain a nightmare for ecology”

Caritas stresses on Creation Day: “Our well-being is linked to the well-being of our Mother Earth”


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Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.