Mercy Heading to COP26 in Glasgow this week!
Advocacy Showcase for COP26 – How Mercy will be Heard
A Mercy delegation is heading to COP 26 in Glasgow this week consisting of Mercy International Association staff, Mercy Global Action staff, and members of the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water. Delegates include: Cecilie Kern (MIA MGA), Leah Schiffman (MIA MGA) and Siobhan Golden (MIA).
The conference will be of crucial importance as it is expected to finalise the Paris Agreement. Beyond the negotiations, the 26th Conference of Parties provides the opportunity for civil society, including faith based organizations, to bring the voices of the most affected communities of climate change into the global debate on climate justice.
During the conference, the Mercy Delegation has a four-tiered approach for advocacy including:
- In-person networking
- Distributing the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water COP 26 Position Statement
- Sharing of Mercy Experiences through our Spotlight Flyers
- Social Media Campaign on Twitter
COP 26 Position Statement
In our reflection on the issues of climate and water, it is evident that we are extracting and using Earth and its common goods as if they are infinite. Pope Francis states in Laudato Si’ that we are "faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (#139) Addressing climate change is the greatest moral imperative of our time. Climate justice and social justice must be realized.
To halt extreme weather and mitigate the negative impact of climate change on the future sustainability of this planet and on the entire community of life, governments must acknowledge and address the root causes and systems underpinning climate change. Market-based remedies that promote false solutions to climate change, including the commodification of nature, must give way to sustainable and just solutions for both peoples and Earth. Overconsumption and production and the extractivist economy must cease.
We oppose: neoliberal capitalism, patriarchal structures that oppress women, racism, colonialism, unlimited extractivism in the service of an unsustainable form of production and consumption, anthropocentrism, increasing industrialization, and unsustainable development and agricultural methods.
These systemic failings and injustices have directly caused:
- An increase in market based consumption and production focused on the market instead of life: for example plastics
- The commercialization and privatization of water, poor water governance, water pollution and shut-offs which hinders access to fresh water
- Marginalized racial, indigenous and ethnic groups to be disproportionately impacted by toxic dumping, deforestation, landfills and polluting industries
- Extraction of common goods, such as oil and gas drilling, hydroelectric dams, transnational corporate agriculture, mineral and coal mining
- Poor health and failed livelihoods
- Drought and desertification
- Food deprivation and shortages
- Gender inequality
- Loss of, and damage to biodiversity
- Rising sea levels that are forcing communities in coastal areas and small island nations to plan for relocation
- An increase in carbon dioxide causing more extreme weather events, leaving wildlife, agriculture, water supplies, forests and ecosystems vulnerable
These grim realities violate the most basic human rights and dignity of the marginalized and land rights. They strip vulnerable communities of development opportunities for good living and escalate desertification, fresh water depletion, biodiversity loss, and extreme weather.
Members and partners of the Mercy World live and minister in forty countries working closely with those who are excluded and or rendered poor. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the deep level of systemic change needed to bring forth transformation in our communities. We urge world leaders and governments to place at the center and core of the climate negotiations the necessary and urgent global transformation that can safeguard the wellbeing and sustainability of the community of life.
The Mercy Global Action Task Force on Climate and Water stands for :
- The Rights of Earth and People
- The Protection of Earth for the sustenance of spiritual and cultural wellbeing of the communities
- An Economics centered on well-being and good-living
- Flourishing for all life
- Anti-Racism and non-violence
- Integral ecology recognizing that “Everything is interconnected” (LS #240)
- Community involvement and participation in decision-making processes
- The Rights of women and girls who have a strong and distinct physical and spiritual relationship with the environment and have traditionally been tasked with caring for it
- Opposition to the extraction and commodification of common goods.
- A paradigm shift. Affirming CIDSE in its call for “a different system as a whole. This requires new narratives, a different cultural approach – putting sufficiency at its heart – and of course, transforming our political and economic systems – away from the destructive growth imperative that lies at the heart of the current system.”
*Read the Newly Released MGA Task Force Position Statement ahead of COP 26 in full here* (en español aquí)
Mercy Experience Spotlight Flyers
Key to our COP 26 advocacy is the sharing of experiences and expertise that have been collected throughout the Mercy World on issues of climate change and water. Our Mercy Experience spotlight flyers contain grassroot experiences, theological reflection, advocacy recommendations and further resources. We hope these flyers will provide inspiration and hope to the Mercy World and beyond. These flyers offer opportunities to engage in the experiences and be used as a tool for further reflection and advocacy. We invite you to be guided by our reflection process to bring the flyers to life, and to contribute to the ongoing dialogue and response to issues of water and climate change through webinars, workshops, reading groups and other forums.
Excerpt from a Mercy Sister in Argentina on the issue of extractivism:
“The deep economic crisis with huge foreign debt makes the IMF impose adjustment policies and causes more extractivism in Argentina. The government wants more agro-industrial monocultures, mega-mining and fracking using water basins for these extractive activities, leaving the populations with much less access to water in quantity and quality. There is a lot of resistance from the communities, but those who defend their territory and water are being prosecuted... I am participating in my region in the resistance against mega-mining and fracking, which are advancing without social consensus, and I educate about ecology and extractivism in a radio program. We also want to present an anti-megmining bill in this province of Río Negro."
Twitter Social Media Campaign
Each day during COP 26, the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water has prepared Twitter posts to inform the Mercy World of specific themes and events during the conference whilst connecting individuals to the experiences of those in our Mercy communities across the world.
Join us @MIAGlobalAction beginning on 31 October until 12 November!
Our call for the Mercy World during COP 26
Mercy Global Action calls on Mercy Sisters, Associates and Partners to continue to persist and organize to act on issues of climate change and water in your communities. We must actively pursue opportunities to offer solutions based on existing good practices that highlight the power and expertise of those in our grassroots ministries. We must continue to share models and strategies that support capacity building and resilience on climate change and water.
In the Mercy World, we must build the necessary political alliances and unite with other actors to design and implement a new, transformative social contract that places people and planet at the center and lays the foundation for just and sustainable societies. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the COP 26 grants us a moment to take action to shift power, improve accountability, build social connections and strengthen trust with an aim to be more responsive to the needs of the people we serve. We will need improved cooperation, collaboration and adaptability in order to emerge from the pandemic and the COP 26, more resilient, more innovative and more impactful.
Further ways to get involved:
- Join our COP 26 Twitter campaign @MIAGlobalAction
- Distribute the Mercy Experience Spotlight flyers highlighting resources, prayers and more!
- Ask your governments what they are doing at COP 26. What are their commitments? Or not committing to?
- Educate people about the issues of climate and water in your community
- Celebrate and support local good practices that uphold the human right to water and sanitation and mitigate the effects of climate change
- Volunteer and provide hands-on help
- Offer prayers and intercessions before, during and after the COP 26, see CAFOD’s resources here