Hardly a month after the Tanzanian government moved into Ngorongoro in what it termed as measures to conserve the Unesco Heritage site and spare it environmental degradation from overpopulation that would affect tourism, Catholic bishops from the region have met in Dar es Salaam, vowing to join in the fight against climate change.
The 120 bishops, meeting this past week under the umbrella of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in East Africa (Amecea), discussed Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Letter, “Laudato Si” on the impacts and hazards of climate change.
Amecea Chairman Charles Kasonde of Solwezi in Zambia said the letter reminds people that everything on earth is part of God’s creation and must be valued. The meeting discussed the sustainable use and protection of wildlife, forests, water bodies, habitats, land and minerals.
“The Pope urges us to take care of Mother Nature. Environment stewardship requires collaboration between governments and other stakeholders,” the cleric observed.
Tanzania is currently reclaiming the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in a bid to protect it from environmental degradation but it has been criticised for abusing the rights of communities living there.
According to the president of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga, the 20th Amecea meeting attracted senior experts on the environment who pledged to work with governments in the region to boost climate change mitigation efforts to save the region from drought, hunger and human conflicts on land use.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu expressed her government’s commitment to protect and preserve the environment.
“Lack of peace and persistent conflicts undermine our efforts to protect the environment, because devastation and destruction of nature (affects) mostly forests and land, resulting (in) human calamities”, she told the bishops.
President Samia last year at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow challenged developed nations to unlock climate change financing for low-income countries, including Tanzania.