UISG Sisters at COP28 to bring marginalized voices into the centre of the global dialogue

UISG Sisters at COP28 to bring marginalized voices into the centre of the global dialogue


Press release


Rome, 7th December 2023 - Integrate climate action with a holistic approach to tackling biodiversity loss, pollution and other environmental challenges; integrate care for people and our planet, rejecting the anthropocentric vision that underpins habits of destructive consumption; integrate vulnerability from the margins in leadership and decision-making, ensuring the voices of those most affected by environmental breakdown are at the centre of conversations on resilience and recovery. These are the key points that the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) – numbering 1,903 members from 97 countries, who represent over 600,000 Catholic Sisters worldwide – brings to COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference underway in Dubai until the 12th of December.


Catholic Sisters on every continent are engaged in environmental action and advocacy, on the frontlines of a movement to shape global development conversations around the needs of local communities. In November 2022, supported by the Global Solidarity Fund, UISG launched Sisters for the Environment: Integrating Voices from the Margins, a statement expressing the Sisters’ deep-rooted, faith-driven vision for ecological conversion. This statement outlined the priorities that have guided UISG’s environmental advocacy in 2023, including its Sister-led dialogue on the environment, roundtable discussions with the Holy See diplomatic corps, and engagement with new partners, culminating in its first-ever representation at a COP summit.


“UISG is at COP28 to explore how we can contribute to a fruitful exchange of perspectives, ideas and opportunities for collaboration between local communities and global decision-makers,” explains Sister Maamalifar Poreku, Coordinator of UISG campaign Sowing Hope for the Planet. "As Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si', ‘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’. This is why, at UISG, we believe in a human-centred approach to tackling the climate crisis: we want to see the people most affected by climate change directly influencing decisions regarding resource allocation, and particularly financing. UISG is committed to drawing on the deep-rooted engagement of Catholic Sisters with vulnerable communities, to help bring marginalised voices into decision-making fora. Conversely, we believe the capillarity of our Sisters’ presence on the ground can also help to ensure that global policies are implemented locally, fostering transparency and accountability.” 


In 2024, UISG will focus on three major challenges: mitigating the risk of replicating neo-colonial paradigms in “clean energy” solutions, and promoting transparency in so-called “green” initiatives; limiting the expansion of new mining projects to protect the environment, and reducing the impact of existing extractive industries on the livelihood and health of vulnerable people; promoting just, transparent finance for a regenerative economy, and supporting Catholic communities to engage with faith-based investing.


“To address the root causes of this epoch-defining crisis, we must encourage our leaders to seek radical solutions to radical challenges. At UISG, we are committed to walking side-by-side with communities on the global margins, journeying together towards a safe, just and peaceful future for all people and for our sacred planet,” concludes Sister Maamalifar.

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