Based on their lived experience of the ravages of climate change and biodiversity loss on the lives of the world’s poorest - Photo:canva.com
Columban missionaries have been part of the long lead up to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity meeting of COP 15 taking place in Montreal, Canada.
The fifteenth meeting of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is taking place in Montreal, Canada 7-19th December. The goal of the Montreal meeting, known as COP 15, is to settle on a new agreement for the world to halt the destruction of species and turn course towards restoration of planet Earth. The new agreement will be known as the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Columban missionaries have been part of the long lead up to COP 15 by participating in processes that have fleshed out the goals of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Columban missionaries are motivated to be a voice for values-based commitments towards transformational change, based on their lived experience of the ravages of climate change and biodiversity loss on the lives of the world’s poorest, who often live in the most vulnerable places.
More than setting minimum standards, Columban missionaries feel that an ambitious and actionable Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework could lead to healing and renewal of relationships, systems and structures between and among humans and all of Creation, while taking care to integrate the rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women, youth and the rights of nature. In this spirit, Columban missionaries delivered a statement and policy recommendation to negotiators of COP 15 working groups, and are committed to working collaboratively on the agenda of COP 15 in that it relates integrally to mission.
Amy Echeverria, the International Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Ecology for the Missionary Society of St Columban says one of her favourite quotes from the Encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care of our Common Home, is when Pope Francis speaks about how “each living creature has been gifted with a particular purpose and something to communicate of the Divine.” Amy says “I love that, how all of creation has a vocation, not just humans!” Amy says humans have no right to infringe upon the right of creation to communicate its special message and is motivated by her faith and love for creation in her commitments to protect it. Along the way, Columban missionaries have joined other faith-based groups who are also moved by their traditions and sacred texts to respect and defend life.
Columban missionaries are members of The Faith and Biodiversity United Nations Coordination Group that was set up in 2020 in recognition of the transformative power of faith to impart hope and summon courageous action in response to the increasing disruption of Earth’s ecosystems. Columban missionaries are part of Faiths at COP 15 in Montreal, Canada and have a meaningful role in the first ever Faith-based Pavilion at a United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity conference. There are signs of hope as groups are coming together in a unified way. It is evident that people everywhere are committed to grow in awareness about the inter-related dimensions of life, and the urgent need to protect biodiversity for the peace, harmony and flourishing of all. It is so inspiring that people of faith are supporting one another to develop their responsiveness and feel they have a vital role to play.
Wesley Cocozelo Communications & Programs Manager for the St. Columban Mission for Justice, Peace, and Ecology Office in the United States, is leading the Faith-based Pavilion communication efforts at COP 15.
Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM
Peace, Ecology and Justice Office
Columban Mission Centre, Essendon
- Read: Columban Missionaries Message on COP 27 and COP15
- Read: Faiths at COP 15: www.biodiversity.faith
- Watch: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuOo8S4sKUJ5FRGAg50Vl0w