First Minister of Scotland meets WCC delegation at COP23

By agency reporter
November 17, 2017

An ecumenical delegation led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) met the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, in Bonn, Germany, to share concerns over rising sea levels and increasingly severe droughts and storms that are putting into question the very survival of people in the island of Tuvalu, an independent nation within the British Commonwealth,

Sturgeon met with Frances Namoumou from the Pacific Conference of Churches in Fiji, the Rev Tafue Lusama, General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church in Tuvalu, the Rev Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change, and the Rev. Adrian Shaw, climate change officer of the Church of Scotland.

The meeting was facilitated by the Church of Scotland at the UN's Climate Conference on 15 November 2017.

They shared stories of hope and pain from Pacific islanders who are more vulnerable to migration and displacement due to the impact of climate change.

Namoumou explained how the churches in the region were working with communities relocating from exposed coastal sites to safer locations inland, stressing that women and children are the ones who suffer most in the face of climate change and must be involved in the planning relocation.

“This is a matter of survival”, she said. “Losing our land to the sea means losing our identity as a people”, added Namoumou.

Adrian Shaw highlighted how the conversation between the First Minister and the delegation included the issue of just transition. “When people have to leave their land, this is not just. It challenges us to think about what it means and how we can work together”, he said.

The 23rd Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change closes on 17 November.

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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