UISG: 9 recommendations for environment sustainability
The International Union of Superior General (UISG) embarks on the journey of Laudato Si’ Week by calling for an alliance between religious sisters and civil society to protect the earth and support communities affected by the environmental crisis.
The Catholic Sisters of the International Union of Superior General (UISG) have launched a policy brief outlining 9 recommendations to address the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato si’.
According to the press release, the leaders of Catholic women’s congregations with its umbrella organization, UISG, has gathered 1,900 members who represent over 600,000 religious sisters worldwide.
The 9 sustainability recommendations emerged on 17 April in Rome during the “Dialogue on the Environment”, the first in a series of dialogues organized by the UISG Initiative Sisters Advocating Globally. The initiative is supported by the Global Solidarity Fund and representatives from various Vatican institutions, Embassies to the Holy See, UN bodies, international organizations, civil society, and academies.
The nine recommendations of UISG are:
1. Economic action: advocate for a new, values-driven impetus for collective action, in order to build the financial infrastructure that can enable an economy of sustainable development. 2. Educational action: support institutions and initiatives that transmit knowledge, raise public awareness, and involve local actors in a sustainable manner. 3. Legislative and legal action: encourage governments and international organisations to mandate issues related to environmental sustainability, and legislate concrete measures to guarantee inclusivity. 4. Environmental and social action: emphasise the interconnectedness of environmental and social action as the only path to achieving social justice. 5. Religious engagement: harness the rootedness and reach of religious engagement to ensure the success of environmental initiatives. 6. Partnerships, institutionalisation and accreditation: Institutionalise women-led and faith-led capacity-building, and expand secular-religious partnerships with accredited national and international bodies. 7. Integrative dialogue: foster dialogue as an inclusive mechanism that can amplify marginalised voices, and ensure a leading role in global decision-making for local communities facing environmental challenges. 8. Media and the arts: channel the role of media and the arts in educating the public, changing the narrative on environmental breakdown, and focusing global attention on local issues. 9. Scientific research: utilise the potential of research and education to help both leaders and local communities to make informed decisions and plans for action.
Sr. Maamalifar M. Poreku, Coordinator of UISG’s environmental campaign Sowing Hope for the Planet, calls people to “encourage the global leaders to think outside the box when it comes to financial commitments and lifestyle changes, and seek radical solutions to radical challenges.”
Recently, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned that global temperatures are likely to exceed the 1.5°C degree limit set out in the Paris Agreement.
Sr. Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary of UISG, expressed the need and significance of having “an alliance between peoples, governments and international organisations to protect our common home and bring excluded voices into the centre dialogue.”
The UISG Executive Secretary also urged religious women to participate in helping the environment.
“There are many areas of advocacy for systematic change in which Catholic Sisters can play an active and leading role, particularly in relation to the environment; the potential for religious involvement must be fully harnessed,” Sr. Murray said. “Time is running out, and humanity cannot afford to procrastinate any longer.”