Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum has joined ecumenical partners in urging G20 leaders to take action towards “an economy of life for the benefit of planet earth and all humankind” in a joint letter ahead of the G20 Summit on 15 November.
“Through the NIFEA* process, we seek an economic system that looks after the well-being of the most vulnerable, while bringing us back within planetary boundaries, protecting the diversity of life, and safeguarding the future of coming generations,” stated the leaders of Council for World Mission (CWM), World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and the World Methodist Council (WMC), which represent more than half a billion Christians across the world.
They had discerned three interconnected world catastrophes – a major social crisis stemming from rising inequalities due to racial and religious disparities; a climate emergency with rising sea levels and biodiversity loss that impacts vulnerable communities heavily; and a broader economic crisis that plunges low-income countries into further debt distress – during a meeting in Bali on 11-13 October. Additionally, an alarming food crisis with rising food prices led to increasing malnutrition and starvation.
CWM Mission Secretary – Ecology & Economy, Rev. Damon Mkandawire said, “Environmentally unsustainable economic expansion is depleting the natural resources upon which poor people depend most for their livelihoods. Inequality will render the benefits of growth inaccessible to the poor, even as they bear the costs of this expansion through the impacts of a changing climate and environmental degradation. It’s time for the G20 to act and listen to their voices.”
To “recover together” and “recover stronger” from these intertwined crises as a global community, the joint letter offered a slew of measures such as stronger curbs on financial speculation on vital commodities, and adequate social protection for the socio-economically vulnerable and support to small farmers”.
They also proposed fast-tracked investments in sustainable, community-based agricultural and renewable energy systems; moratorium on debt payment for low-income countries in debt distress; and a stronger global effort for systems of just taxation to fund social protection systems and the public investments needed to address the climate emergency.
*NIFEA, or New International Financial and Economic Architecture is a collaborative ecumenical effort that brings together Council for World Mission (CWM), World Council of Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Methodist Council.
Dated 8 November 2022