August 17, 2021

Advocacy Workshop in Climate Justice and Water 2021

On Tuesday August 3rd, the Mercy Global Action (MGA) team offered the second of three virtual advocacy workshops. Our second workshop was facilitated by Colleen Swain, MGA’s Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate, and focused on the topic of Climate Justice and Water, ahead of COP26.

The workshop aimed to:

  1. Build capacity and skills for critical thinking, analysis and advocacy. Equip participants with the tools and strategies to advocate in areas of climate change and water
  2. Learn about Mercy Global Action’s strategy for advocacy and how to participate in advocacy on our key justice priorities
  3. Introduce core documents in relation to climate justice and water in 2021
  4. Identify who their allies/network in relation to water and climate
  5. Create policy recommendations on water and climate
  6. Encourage participants to seek out ways to engage in advocacy in their region
  7. Instill curiosity and explore the theological dimension of climate change and water - How do we engage the theological dimension in our advocacy?


The interactive workshop took place in two sessions:

The first session began with Setting the Stage for Advocacy. Key to this session was a deeper understanding of the theological background of advocacy and an introduction to the Mercy Justice Advocacy Approach. “An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery of the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something only the faint- hearted cared about. Instead, our “dominion” over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship” (Laudato Si’, 116).  As Mercy advocates, we must ground ourselves in the experience of Earth and people, undertake self-reflection, understand our tools for advocacy, know our allies and who we are advocating for, and lastly, take courageous steps towards action leading to advocacy.


Participants delved into the Tools, Tactics and Resources used in advocacy. Attendees were introduced to the key strategies of engaging with and influencing target negotiators. In the MGA Advocacy Showcase, Cecilie Kern, Global Policy and Research Advocate, honed in on the process of international advocacy, specifically detailing the negotiation process of naming the human right water and sanitation in the Preamble of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Later on in the session, Colleen Swain elaborated on the upcoming process towards the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP26).  Mercy Global Action’s participation in these climate change negotiations integrates the Mercy Justice Advocacy Approach with the experiences of Mercy sisters, Associates, and partners across the globe in order to create strategic recommendations in the local, national and international arena.


In the second session, participants engaged in an activity to prepare a policy recommendation and advocacy campaign based on a Mercy case study. In breakout sessions, participants had time to develop their own recommendations and campaign on a particular issue surrounding climate justice and water and receive feedback. Advocacy campaigns included: anti-gold mining and fracking, access to clean drinking water and creating new alternatives to privatized water, ways to heal communities after bushfires, the banning of plastic water bottles, and more.


The workshop concluded with Future Plans for Mercy Global Action Advocacy on climate justice and water; particularly upcoming opportunities for advocacy at the UN. Join us in our efforts to continue to advocate with a strong Mercy Voice. Upcoming advocacy areas include:

  • MGA Task Force on Water and Climate - Mercy Global Action is launching a Climate Justice and Water Task Force made up of Mercy Global Action staff, Sisters, and Partners in ministry from Mercy Congregations and Institutes around the world this August. The Climate Justice and Water Task Force will aim to collect stories, research and good practices from around the Mercy World and conduct analysis on water and intersecting issues.
  • Looking towards COP 26 - COP 26 will commence in Glasgow on the 1st of November 2021. With less than 100 days to go, Mercy advocacy for the UNFCCC COP 26 will surround theological reflections on common home, and highlight mercy experiences, resilience and best practices on water, extractivism, plastics, loss and damage, climate migration and more. 
  • Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation - At the General Assembly meetings in September, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, will report to the General Assembly on the privatization of water. Afterwards, he will be collecting grassroots input and best practices for an upcoming report on indigenous water issues. Stay tuned.
  • Season of Creation - From 1st September through 4 October, Mercy Global Action will unite with Christians across the globe for a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, and discover radically new ways of living with creation.
  • MELF Research - A key component of the Mercy Global Action Emerging Leaders Fellowship (MELF) is research and the development of a research project on a pertinent justice issue related to the Degradation of Earth and /or the Displacement of Peoples. I would like to draw your attention to two Mercy Global Action Emerging Leaders Fellows (MELF) Research Projects on Water and the Environment:
    • Sr Theresia Tina’s research “Where have the Rivers and Forests Gone? Oamug: A Case Study" which describes the main sources of environmental degradation in Papua New Guinea including through deforestation and logging, extractivism, and agricultural expansion for commercial and everyday survival. Theresia’s research highlights possible strategies to help overcome this issue for the future generations. And
    • Ana Freeman’s research "Photosynthetic Visions”. A research project investigating the climate emergency, plant neurobiology and eco-art therapy techniques to encourage land and plant literacy among participants. A seven-day reflective process was created, using the premise of land as pedagogy and planthropocentric thinking. This process can be used and adapted by participants to deepen their relationship with their local ecosystem as an antidote to anthropocentric thinking and behaviour and proposes an alternative to technological solutions to climate change.

MGA will host one more advocacy workshop in 2021 on the topic of Domestic and Family Violence scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 23 November. Click here to RSVP.

Prayer for Earth:

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