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  • Sr Daisy Anne Lisania Augustine

Pacific Churches for Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice

The World Council of Churches Office in the Pacific hosted a Pacific Churches Consultation on Climate Change 20 years ago that brought together church and youth leaders of member churches, representatives from World Council of Churches, technical advisers from South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) including the local leaders, government representatives and teachers, congregational members of the Kiribati Uniting Church to discuss the devastating impacts of climate change and the call for collaborations to slow-down the climate change impacts. 


(Participants of the conference)


This significant occasion led to the Otin Taai Declaration that has shaped the prophetic position of the Pacific churches to navigate resources to support local communities and advocate at the national, regional and global platforms. (Otin Taai is the i-Kiribati word for "sunrise” - a symbol of hope, sunrise - bring day light.) 


Twenty years on, the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) commemorated this monumental journey of environmental leadership by Pacific Christian churches that enabled their recommitment to climate action through a regional and ecumenical reconvening of Pacific church leaders and partners from the 5th – 10th of May 2024 in Suva, Fiji. 


This convening allowed for churches to take stock of existing efforts, commitments and programmes on climate change. This was also an opportunity to remind our Pacific brothers and sisters how we are reflecting the values of God in our commitment to Climate Justice and Ecological Conversion.


Sessions on themes included; Unveiling the Legacy of Otin Taai - Looking Back to Look Forward, Multi Stakeholder Collaboration for Climate Justice, Faith, Climate Change and Indigenous Theology, Pastoral and Practical Climate Leadership, Prophetic Voice for Creation: Climate Advocacy for Pacific Churches.


Speakers for the first two days were from; Pacific Network on Globalisation + Pacific Island Climate Action Network + Pacific Women Mediators Network and Pacific Island Feminist Alliance for Climate Justice. 

 

 While Speakers for the last two days were from Transcend Oceania & Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding shared their work on building Pacific Island Leadership in response to climate change and Speakers on preceding days were from the Regional Ecumenical Youth Council, 350 Pacific and Greenpeace Pacific shared their advocacy 

recommendations for Pacific Churches.


The highlight of the conference was the Keynote Speaker of the week, Honourable Dr. Maina Talia, Tuvalu Minister of Home Affairs, Climate Change and Environment.


His keynote address on the “Good Samaritan” ”good tuakoi” (neighbour) gave the Conference a foundation to publish a concrete declaration “The Tuakoi Declaration”, Towards an Oceanian Tuakoi Lei- Neighbourly Love, Compassion and Hope in the Context of Climate Change.


The challenge is, “what will happen to my neighbour if I don’t do something to help with the climate crisis? 



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