|Joint Statement On The Occasion Of Rome’s Conference on People and Planet First - The Imperative To Change Course|
The movements’ response on the “Laudato Si” of Pope Francis
We, the International Young Christian Workers (IYCW), the International Movement for Catholic and Agricultural Rural Youth (MIJARC), the International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (CIJOC), the International Federation of Adult Rural Catholic Movements (FIMARC), and the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-PAX ROMANA) laud Pope Francis’s initiative and commitment to voice out the reality and sufferings of millions of people around the world linked to the imbalance and unfair distribution of wealth and misuse/overuse of the earth’s resources. It reflects that the current economic crisis is intertwined with the environmental crisis.
As we continue destroying our nature for financial gains, the poor become poorer and the rich become richer. The report of OXFAM notes that following the current trends and if we remain passive, by next year, 1% of the world’s population will control more than 50% of the world’s wealth.
There are many scenarios at national and local level where the majority of the poor have no access to the natural resources to support the needs of their family. In many developing countries in the south, the majority of the farmers do not own and control the land they cultivate.
It is unbearable too to see the displacement and expulsion of many indigenous tribes and local communities from their homelands in order to give way to the so called “development” in mining and energy, just to serve the unending wants of people from the cities.
If we advocate to protect the environment, we are being branded to be against development. We want to make it clear that we support any development that includes just work, quality of jobs, social protection for all, quality education and gender equality, more particularly for the less privileged and the excluded in the society.
We affirm the Integrity of Creation, that man to be a good steward on earth’s abundance should not exploit its limit, that all things created by God are connected, and that if one destroys another, there will be chaos and imbalance in the system.
We want to emphasize the Human Dignity of a person, that any development should not exploit the marginalized and vulnerable people. Because if we allow the interest of the businesses to prevail over people’s rights, it is clearly a violation of peoples’ dignity.
Together in action
Together with the International Catholic and action-inspired organizations, we are endeavoring to end this trend and degradation of our Mother Earth.
We will continue our SEE-JUDGE-ACT process, starting from the grassroots level up to the international level, to analyze the contradiction in our society between our dreams and the reality, and between the common good and capitalistic interests.
We, as actors of change, commit ourselves to continue transforming our society and likewise guarantee that the voices of the marginalized and the poor be heard in many social dialogues and statements in different platforms in any policy-making body at local, national and international level. We will ensure that our presence is felt in the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization, and as well as within the Church.
We encourage and motivate the Catholic leadership as well as religious congregations and institutions to empower the Catholic movements and lay faithful to stimulate greater role in the stewardship of the earth, promoting social justice.
We call all our governments to create national policy declaring the preservation of natural resources and to stop the conversion of agricultural land into industrial and luxury villages. We call for a fair distribution of wealth through decent living wages for all workers, and social protection as a safety net for the poor and less privileged.
Lastly we call all actors of society to work together to combat climate change and to end vicious activities that destroy the environment and whatever this capitalistic system has brought us. Though the poor are the frontline victims and the most vulnerable to the environmental problems and climate change, this is not a question of race, color, gender, nationality, religion or political affiliation. It is everyone’s concern.
International Young Christian Workers (IYCW-JOCI)
International Movement for Catholic and Agricultural Rural Youth (MIJARC)
International Coordination of Young Christian Workers (CIJOC)
International Federation of Adult Rural Catholic Movements (FIMARC)
International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-PAX ROMANA)
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