Franciscan Presence at COP22

COP22 (Conference of the Parties), organized by UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), took place in Marrakesh, Morocco on 8-18 November 2016.

Last year, COP 21 in Paris was attended by 20 Franciscan delegations, including Roman 6, to testify that the Franciscans are united with civil society on climate justice. At COP22, 4 Franciscan friars (Br. Rodrigo Peret from Brazil, Br. Aloysio Kim from South Korea, Br. Natale Fiumanò from the Moroccan Custody, and Br. Rufino Lim from the JPIC Office in Rome) participated in various ways. Br. Rodrigo, with other SFO’s from Brazil, was involved on the issue of extra activism at the Cady Ayyad University Campus in Marrakech, where the Civil Society Conference was held in partnership with the Catholic organization CIDSE. Br. Natale joined the nuncio of the Moroccan Church for the official negotiation of the Parties as the Vatican delegations’ official observer. Br. Aloysio and Br. Rufino, as members of the Korean civil society attended various events and workshops on the reality of climate change and the alternatives of governments and civil society.

The brothers attended the meetings in their habits in remembrance of the Franciscan Martyrs in Marrakech. This led to many occasions of dialogue with the locals and participants of the Conference.

On 8 November, an interfaith prayer service for climate justice was held in the Franciscan Church in Marrakech. The friars also joined the daily interfaith prayer in Green Zone (the conference hall for civil society) where Christians, including Protestants and Orthodox Christians, held prayer meetings with Muslims. On 13 November, the friars also participated in the Climate March.

The main goal of COP22 is to build a concrete legal structure to implement the “Paris Agreement” which was ratified by 112 countries on 5 November in Marrakech. However, there was a deep concern for the future of the Agreement due to the result of the recent presidential election in America.

It was strongly felt that the religious communities should take on the role of prophets, united with each other for the cause of justice, and begin to change within themselves while walking along with civil society. It is hoped that the Franciscan Family could bring out more concrete actions into their own lives.