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Caritas Internationalis: Integral Human Ecology only solution to the world’s major crises

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This year's World Humanitarian Day is marked by multiple major crises. Caritas Internationalis recalls that Integral Human Ecology is the only solution.

2021 has already had its fair share of crises, both man-made and natural disasters. In the last few days, we have witnessed the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, and the tragic earthquake in Haiti, which has so far claimed 1,500 victims.

Protracted crises

In addition, there are the economic collapse and socio-political instability in Lebanon, which is facing its worst time since the civil war, and the many protracted crises in countries such as Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria and others.

While on a global level, climate change continues to cause severe and irreparable damage, including millions of migrants, and the global pandemic of COVID-19 has paralysed the globalised world socially and economically.

Take action

In this dire moment, Caritas Internationalis recalls how wrong vested interest political decisions have led to untold sufferings for the poorest and urges decision-makers to take the right and necessary action.

Afghanistan is a vivid example, wherein the whole world is shamelessly and silently witnessing the plight and despair of the innocent Afghans who have been delivered into the hands of undemocratic and ruthless warlords after 20 years of political accompaniment.

Good intentions

Women's dignity, children's rights and the principle of protection of the most vulnerable are nothing but mere good intentions of well-wishers when in Afghanistan and elsewhere in a crisis situation, we see helpless citizens ignored and abandoned to their fate.

Similarly, the Lebanese crisis reveals how society in good health could be brought to rubbles by corrupt political leaders, who have amassed wealth and reduced four million people to impoverishment, even lacking basic staples such as bread.

The natural disasters that unleash on the most impoverished nations are also a call for more attention to protect, defend and save lives through determined political action.

The recent earthquake in Haiti amidst political and economic chaos in the country represents a major humanitarian challenge.

Finally, forest fires -- for which 2021 is recording one of the worst seasons in decades globally -, drought, environmental degradation, sea-level rise, floods and typhoons are all created by lack of care for the environment leading to climate change and ecological crisis.

Untold sufferings

Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 members working with the grassroots communities in 200 countries and territories, is witnessing the untold sufferings caused by these man-made and natural crises.

In line with the teaching of Pope Francis, on this World Humanitarian Day, Caritas recalls that the only solution is Integral Human Ecology, putting the interest and dignity of the human person at the centre of all activities and decisions. Without determined political will on the part of the decision-makers and political leaders, there will be no change, and the wellbeing of the poorest cannot be ensured.

COP26 must address this as an urgent priority and come out with tangible and adequate solutions with the allocation of appropriate means to realise them.

Courageous steps

On World Humanitarian Day, Caritas Internationalis urges decision-makers to take courageous steps to address the different issues particularly related to climate change, the pandemic's impact, and the political turmoil in Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Without determined political will, human life is in danger, and one part of humanity is bound to suffer and live in dire conditions of inhuman poverty.

The confederation calls on the political leaders and decision-makers to:

-- Ensuring the safety of the Afghan population and the provision of basic needs for the Lebanese people.

-- Allocating sufficient funds for local communities to engage in community-based development activities, both agricultural and non-agricultural, to ensure their means of livelihood and their food security.

-- Giving prime importance to disaster management in local communities, especially risk reduction activities, to ensure the safety of the people through early warning systems.

-- Encouraging local governments to enter into close cooperation with local civil society organisations and strengthen their response mechanism with a particular emphasis on humanitarian action to address the consequences of climate change.

-- Ensuring access to basic integral health care for the most vulnerable, including vaccines against deadly diseases.

-- Committing to an immediate economic and industrial set of global policies in order to minimise the impact on global warming and degradation of ecosystems.

Cordaid is a member organisation of Caritas Internationalis.