On World Humanitarian Day, Caritas Internationalis urges decision makers to take courageous steps to address the issues related to climate change, the pandemic and its consequences, and the political turmoil in Afghanistan and Lebanon. The natural disasters that adversely affect the most impoverished nations are also a call for determined and concerted political action to protect, defend and save lives.
The recent earthquake in Haiti amidst the raging political and economic chaos in the country represents a major humanitarian challenge. Finally, drought, environmental degradation, the rise in sea-level, typhoons, floods and forest fire – for which 2021 is recording one of the worst seasons in decades globally – are all created by lack of care for the environment, leading to climate change and ecological crisis. Without determined political will, human life is in danger, and where one part of humanity suffers, the whole human family suffers as well.
The confederation calls on the political leaders and decisions makers to:
– Ensure the safety of the Afghan population and the provision of basic needs for the Lebanese people.
– Allocate sufficient funds for local communities to engage in community-based development activities, both agricultural and non-agricultural, to ensure their means of livelihood and food security.
– Involve participation of local communities in humanitarian action and give priority to disaster management in local communities, especially through risk reduction formation and activities, to ensure the safety of the people through early warning systems.
– Encourage local governments to enter into close cooperation with local civil society organisations and faith-based groups, strengthen their response mechanism with a particular emphasis on humanitarian action to address the consequences of climate change.
– Ensure access to basic integral health care for the most vulnerable, including vaccines against deadly diseases.
– Commit to immediate economic and industrial global policies in order to minimise the impact on global warming and degradation of ecosystems.
Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 members working with the grassroots communities in 200 countries and territories, is a witness to the untold sufferings caused by these man-made and natural crises. In line with the teaching of Pope Francis, on this World Humanitarian Day, Caritas recalls that the only appropriate response is Integral Ecology, putting the interest and dignity of the human person at the centre of all activities and decisions. Without determined political will on the part of the decision makers and political leaders, there will be no change, and the wellbeing of the poorest cannot be ensured.
COP26 must address this as an urgent priority, put forward tangible and adequate solutions and allocate sufficient resources or means to realise them.