High-profiled Conference on Mining and Agriculture includes Zambian agencies and faith orgs, Catholic universities, civil society, traditional leaders, with a key speech by Cardinal Turkson

April 23, 2016

The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) is hosting a high profiled Conference on Mining and Agriculture in Lusaka from 25th to 26th April, 2016. The President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, H.E. Peter Cardinal Turkson is expected to be the key speaker at the Conference, while AMECEA Secretariat will be represented by Mr. Antony Mbandi, the Coordinator of AMECEA Justice and Peace.

Announcing the development, ZEC secretary General Fr. Cleophas Lungu said the Conference will highlight the impact of mining and agriculture on the environment on care of our common home in the context of large scale investments.

Fr. Lungu added that the Conference will also help to popularize “Laudato Si”, the Encyclical of Pope Francis on Care for Our Common Home. In the Encyclical, Pope Francis critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take swift and unified global action towards human behaviour that cause climate change.

“We are excited as a Church to host this Conference. As you know Zambia’s economy is driven largely by the mining sector and so we want to make awareness of its impact on the environment,” he said.  The ZEC Secretary General further said that Zambia has been feeling the effects of Climate Change as can be seen from reduced rainfall and unpredictable weather patterns which has resulted to among other problems, crop failure, water shortages and load shedding of power, thereby affecting production in the country. He added that the Conference will also look at the impact of large scale tree clearance for agriculture and how the country should respond and adapt to the effect of climate change.

Zambia long

Zambia has rich arable land which is very conducive for agriculture. We have seen people cutting a lot of trees for large scare farming which has had an effect on environment. This must be addressed and help bring change” Fr. Lungu pointed out.  “ZEC is excited at hosting this Conference, for we have a mandate to preach good news to all creation not only human beings. From the time missionaries came to the continent the Church has been educating people on the importance of and often how to care for the environment. So we shall collaborate with others during the conference on what we should do together to care for the environment.” He said.

Fr. Lungu has also expressed gladness that the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, Cardinal Turkson will be the key speaker at the Conference. The Conference outcomes, recommendations and resolutions will be used by the Catholic Church in Zambia to design further Pastoral reflections to be used by Small Christian Communities throughout the country to effectively respond to the needs of the environment, by transforming human behaviours and activities that influence climate change in Zambia and in the world. At the same time it is hoped that the Conference will influence policy makers to formulate policies that are responsive to the biodiversity of the environment.

The Conference, which will be attended by ordinary people and experts from various sectors of life, will provide a forum for sharing ideas and experiences in areas of mining, agriculture, environment and climate change, in the light of the Papal encyclical, “Laudato Si”.

The Conference has attracted participants from

  • Association of member Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa (AMECEA)
  • SECAM, Zimbabwe, Malawi,
  • Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA)
  • Ministry of Lands, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU)
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Mines
  • University of Zambia
  • Copperbelt University and Catholic University
  • St. Dominic Major Seminary and St. Augustine Major Seminary
  • Civil Society Organizations and Partners, Islamic Council of Zambia, Evangelical fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Economic Association of Zambia and Chamber of Mines
  • Traditional leaders
  • Others

By Mwenya Mukuka