Kathryn Keigher ibvm, the UN Province Representative for UK, attended this year’s Ocean Conference held from 27 June – 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal as our NGO delegate. This year’s conference was hosted by Portugal and Kenya. Kathryn joined a large contingent of faith based NGOs advocating for a ban on deep seabed mining and the protection of small island nations.
She attended the Opening Ceremony and meetings each day from 10 to 3pm. Kathryn met a number of people who seem to have a connection with the IBVM (Loreto Sisters). But it was the meetings and events organised by the faith based NGOs that made an impact on her. The panel consisted of Indigenous and people working with the people most affected by Climate Change.
Kathryn writes: The meeting was in stark contrast to the other meetings where the policy makers make declarations and promises. These people spoke from their hearts as they described the ocean as their life blood. Each one told his or her own story about tragedy of polluting the oceans and the repercussions. Each story was different but what they had in common was the emotion, and even tears, which came as each one spoke. They were particularly protective of their own small islands. We were reminded that deep sea mining is destroying the livelihood of so many vulnerable people.
There was a prayer at the beginning. It was the first time there had been any kind of spiritual input. When the Archbishop spoke he, too, was very emotional but he spoke firmly about the need for a Language of Spirituality as well as a Language of Science. Deep sea mining is destroying our Earth. The Archbishop emphasised spiritual language and the language of indigenous nations.
Other key issues which were highlighted throughout the week included: pollution of the oceans, persistent use of fossil fuels and misuse of plastic. Solutions being suggested included ’Ocean Literacy’, need for greater awareness in schools of the problem of care of the Oceans. Better research and correct information and data so that scientists and others may identify the problems and especially illegal activity. Most important there was a call for Civil Society (NGOs) to respond with robust determination.
Read her complete Reflection HERE.
For more information about the Ocean Conference 2022, click HERE.
Author: Kathryn Keigher ibvm