31 May 2024

Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Symposium

As a response to the growing impacts of climate change across our world, The Salvation Army’s International Development Services – a section of the Programme Resources Department at International Headquarters – hosted a three-day online symposium, Climate Change for Adaptation and Resilience in the Global South, on 21-23 May. 

General Lyndon Buckingham, along with Treasure Umoh (Nigeria Territory) and Blessed Kachepa (Zambia Territory) gave a sage reminder that we are not just responsible for God’s creation but that we, his children, are part of that creation. We are called to see our care for the environment and our response to the impacts of the climate crisis as part of our care for one another and ourselves. One God, one creation.

The direct impact of climate change

More than 300 participants from over 50 countries, representing many of the territories comprising the Salvation Army world, learned from and shared topics which ranged from ‘The biblical basis for climate care’ to ‘The global picture and what other organisations are doing’. Sector-specific case studies focused on community health; human trafficking; gender inequity; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and agriculture. 

Presenters and delegates shared their lived experience of the direct impact of climate change personally and for their local communities. Diverse and innovative Salvation Army ministries around the world to mitigate against these effects were showcased.

Specialists from every continent

The symposium, supported with simultaneous translation into several languages, was truly an expression of the global Salvation Army, with presentations from specialists and practitioners from every continent and zone.

‘We need to devise sustainable strategies for the future,’ said Colonel Diana MacDonald, Territorial Commander, Pakistan Territory. ‘All sessions at the symposium have reconfirmed our commitment to contribute to creating a better world around us.’

Lauren Westwood, Communications Specialist for International Women’s Ministries said, ‘Several times, we have been reminded of the unjust reality that those who are most impacted are often the least empowered to speak out and inform decisions. Despite the heaviness of the topic, conversations around the intersection of gender inequity with climate change were encouraging and hopeful, venturing beyond tokenistic contribution and abstract concepts of gendered impact. As Amanda Lennestaal astutely put it: “A commitment to gender equity will not solve climate change, but when women are involved, we are not forgotten. When women’s stories, insight and leadership are offered, it is to the betterment of all society.”’

‘Climate change is real,’ proclaimed George Obondo, a project manager from Kenya East Territory, in his powerful and inspiring presentation, ‘and it is our responsibility, as we respond, to not leave anyone behind.’

A report of the symposium outcomes, along with recordings of the sessions, will be available in the coming weeks.

IHQ Communications based on a report prepared by IHQ International Development Services

Tags: Events, Environment, International development, News